In Minnesota, there are currently 293 district court judges who preside over matters in ten judicial districts. While the Minnesota Rules of Court provide attorneys with significant information applicable to court proceedings, each judge may have his or her individual preferences with respect to motion practice and courtroom conduct.

In an effort to assist attorneys who may be appearing before a judge for the first time, the MSBA Civil Litigation Section Governing Council provided all district court judges with a brief questionnaire. The responses that we received are organized here by judicial district and the judge’s name. We hope you find these responses to be helpful in your preparation for district court appearances.

For information about this project or to report an error in any judicial directory listing, contact Kara Haro, MSBA staff liaison to the Civil Litigation Section.

Want to download a PDF for your district?  
MSBA Members: visit practicelaw
Non-Member: subscribe to practicelaw

Want a print copy? Order on Amazon here and here.
Get the tenth district guide for Amazon Kindle here.

Tenth Judicial District Judges

Hoffman, John C.

District Court Judge

Counties: Washington County

State Court Bio: View Bio

Contact with chambers:

  • Set forth your preferred method to contact chambers (telephone, e-mail, etc.). Telephone call or email to my law clerk Lora Kasper 651-430-6343
  • To whom may attorneys direct scheduling/logistical questions? My Scheduling Judicial Aide Tina 651-430-6318
  • To whom may attorneys direct substantive questions?  My Law Clerk Lora Kasper

Motion practice:

  • Set forth your practices and procedures for scheduling motion hearings. Securing an agreed upon date with opposing counsel with my Judicial Aide Tina 651-430-6318
  • Identify any type of motion for which you do not require a hearing. Discussion of a Scheduling Issue or Discovery Issue which may however lead to the need for a motion
  • Do you accept telephone calls from attorneys to rule on discovery disputes that occur during depositions? yes
  • How much time do you allot for motion hearings? As much time that is needed consistent with the demands of my civil special term calendar on that day
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attending a hearing by telephone or video conference. Contact my Judicial Aide Tina 651-430-6318
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to discovery motions. Make your argument in a succinct manner and assume I have read your pleadings unless I indicate to the contrary
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to stipulations of the parties, including stipulations for protective orders. I do not have a specific practices regarding protective orders. If the attorneys have anything that is unusual they should bring it to my attention
  • Do you have particular requirements or procedures relating to requests to amend the scheduling order? Attorneys should be aware that if it is the intent to move a trial date you probably should have a good reason to do so. If that is disputed with opposing counsel it may be difficult to convince me to move an established trial date
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to default proceedings. If in the civil arena it is something other than the collection matter testimony will be required. In family testimony is always required
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to handling emergency motions. If it is a true emergency you should first contact my Law Clerk Lora to describe the emergency.

Written submissions:

  • Do you want to receive paper courtesy copies of the parties' written submissions? If you do, set forth the number and preferred format of courtesy copies and identify any document type you do not want to receive. I do not need a paper copy of motions. On occasion I may ask for a word document to be provided to my Law Clerk concerning any proposed order.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures for requests to deviate from the requirements of the General Rules of Practice for the District Courts. It would be best to alert both the opposing party and my Law Clerk in advance. This is a very broad question to answer with any precision.

In-court proceedings:

  • Identify what technology you use in the courtroom and state whether you prefer a particular electronic format. You will have to contact my Judicial Aide Tina about the current courtroom technology and also my Official Reporter Leah about what you want to accomplish.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attorney's use of technology in the courtroom and during trial. I do not have specific rules about that other than both the jury and the judge have to be able to see what you intend to convey
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to the submissions of additional legal authority or other materials at or after oral argument. That will be clear at the end of any hearing.
  • Do you permit parties to bifurcate oral argument so different attorneys address different legal issues? Sure why not.
  • Describe your preferred procedures for pretrial settlement conferences, including the timing of such conferences, persons who must attend, whether persons may attend by telephone or video conference, and how you participate in settlement discussions. I issue Scheduling Orders in all of my assigned civil and family cases. The pre-trial is set approximately 2 weeks before the setting of trial. Whoever is there should have authority to settle the case. I prefer all essential parties to be present in person. I will participate to the extent that the attorneys wish me to participate.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures for handling motions in limine. Specific motions must be filed before the pre-trial so that I am alerted to any unique evidentiary issues. I may or may not decide the issue during the pre-trial. Many times I may have to hear parts or most of the trial to decide some limine issues.
  • What is your schedule for a typical trial day? 9:00 am to noon; Lunch break noon to 1:00 PM; midmorning and mid-afteroon breaks; end the trial date at 4:30 unless a specific witness can be concluded with the jury's permission. Lawyers should be present by 8:00 AM to handle any unexpected issues.
  • Set forth your voir dire procedures. I do a fair amount of voir dire and allow the attorneys to do the rest.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to courtroom decorum, including movement in the courtroom, use of a podium, whether attorneys should sit or stand, and how to address witnesses. Governed by the Rules of Decorum. Attorneys should address any witness but their full name. Attorneys may approach a witness about either exhibits or impeachment but not take advantage to remain at the witness stand to intimidate the witness or make points with a jury. it is up to counsel as to a podium. I do not have a preference about counsel standing or sitting.
  • Do you impose time limits with respect to opening statements and closing arguments? No each should be commensurate with the length and complexity of the case.
  • Identify your practices with respect to the use of technology in the courtroom during trial. Make sure any technology that you wish to use will actually work in the courtroom by scheduling an appointment with my staff before trial.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to marking and using exhibits. All exhibits should be pre-marked in a common exhibit book as set forth in my Scheduling Order. Any exhibit that has questionable admissibility should be left out and separately offered during trial. Any Exhibit in the common exhibit book should be assumed to have proper foundation.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures for handling objections. Succinct objection, no argument in front of the jury. If it is really really important you can ask to approach the Bench. I may or may not let you approach. You will have enough time during breaks to make any record you want to make.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to the use of deposition testimony. I hopefully follow the Rules of Evidence.
  • May attorneys obtain daily transcripts during trial? If so, what procedure should attorneys follow? Make an arrangement with my Official Reporter prior to trial.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attorney requests to contact jurors at the conclusion of trial. I do not have a practice about juror contact, but if a juror asks me I tell them it is up to the juror of they want to talk or not talk about the case after the trial.

Other matters:

  • Set forth any other preferences, practices, or procedures attorneys and parties may find helpful. Pay special attention to my Scheduling Order. If you know there is a specific evidentiary issue in your case please do not hide it or spring it on me during trial. I would prefer to have time to consider the issue. Also it is important to me that the details of a Special Verdict Form are worked out before the parties start trial.