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.

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Third Judicial District Judges


Opat, Matthew

District Court Judge

Counties: Fillmore

State Court Bio: View Bio

Contact with chambers:

  • Set forth your preferred method to contact chambers (telephone, e-mail, etc.). Fillmore County Court Administration 507-765-3356
  • To whom may attorneys direct scheduling/logistical questions? Fillmore County Court Administration 507-765-3356
  • To whom may attorneys direct substantive questions?  Fillmore County Court Administration 507-765-3356

Motion practice:

  • Set forth your practices and procedures for scheduling motion hearings. Schedule Court date with Court Admin.
  • Identify any type of motion for which you do not require a hearing. N/A
  • Do you accept telephone calls from attorneys to rule on discovery disputes that occur during depositions? N/A
  • How much time do you allot for motion hearings? We usually allot the time requested by the parties.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attending a hearing by telephone or video conference. Court is usually not opposed to appearances by telephone as long as it is approved in advance by the Court.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to discovery motions. N/A
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to stipulations of the parties, including stipulations for protective orders. N/A
  • Do you have particular requirements or procedures relating to requests to amend the scheduling order? N/A
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to default proceedings. N/A
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to handling emergency motions.  N/A

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. No
  • Set forth your practices and procedures for requests to deviate from the requirements of the General Rules of Practice for the District Courts.  N/A

In-court proceedings:

  • Identify what technology you use in the courtroom and state whether you prefer a particular electronic format. Our Courtroom is equipment with a document camera and overhead located between the Counsel tables. This allows for exhibits to be shown to a witness without needing to approach. Can then be published to the jury after admitted and shown on the monitors.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attorney’s use of technology in the courtroom and during trial. Expect the attorneys to become familiar with our technology before any trial.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to the submission of additional legal authority or other materials at or after oral argument. N/A
  • Do you permit parties to bifurcate oral argument so different attorneys address different legal issues?  Yes

Pretrial procedures:

  • 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. N/A
  • Set forth your practices and procedures for handling motions in limine.  N/A

Trial:

  • What is your schedule for a typical trial day? 8:30 to 4:30
  • Set forth your voir dire procedures. I do ask preliminary questions and any questions deemed appropriate that Counsel would prefer the Court to ask.
  • 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. This will be addresses before each trial with Counsel. Will use electronics in the Court room to minimize movement.
  • Do you impose time limits with respect to opening statements and closing arguments?  No
  • Identify your practices with respect to the use of technology in the courtroom during trial. It is available and the parties are encourage to use
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to marking and using exhibits. Handled with Court Admin before trial
  • Set forth your practices and procedures for handling objections. Two word objections. First word is "Objection". Second work is the reason, i.e. "foundation" or "hearsay". If I want more I will ask.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to the use of deposition testimony. N/A
  • May attorneys obtain daily transcripts during trial? If so, what procedure should attorneys follow? Arrange with my Court Reporter in advance.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attorney requests to contact jurors at the conclusion of trial.  N/A

Other matters:

  • Set forth any other preferences, practices, or procedures attorneys and parties may find helpful.  Professionalism and Civility are expected.