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


Hanks, Carol

judicial photoDistrict Court Judge

Counties: Waseca

State Court Bio: View Bio

Contact with chambers:

  • Set forth your preferred method to contact chambers (telephone, e-mail, etc.). email
  • To whom may attorneys direct scheduling/logistical questions?  court administration
  • To whom may attorneys direct substantive questions?  law clerk

Motion practice:

  • Set forth your practices and procedures for scheduling motion hearings. counsel contact court administration to schedule motions 
  • 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?  yes
  • How much time do you allot for motion hearings?  half hour unless more time requested from counsel
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attending a hearing by telephone or video conference. phone appearance request must be in writing to court administration, court admin then sends the request to the judge for review/approval.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to discovery motions. motions scheduled through court administration 
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to stipulations of the parties, including stipulations for protective orders. stipulations are read into the court record if a hearing is set; if no hearing is set then stipulations must be in writing and signed by the parties
  • Do you have particular requirements or procedures relating to requests to amend the scheduling order?  if counsel agree to an amendment, then they should put the stipulation/request in writing for judge approval.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to default proceedings. default hearings are scheduled through court admin. I allow counsel to appear by phone for a default hearing and they need to submit the proposed order ahead of time.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to handling emergency motions.  scheduling through court admin; court admin will contact the judge for scheduling. 

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.  Counsel should put their request in writing and note if the parties agree to the deviation. 

In-court proceedings:

  • Identify what technology you use in the courtroom and state whether you prefer a particular electronic format. We use Task Manager in the courtroom and sign documents at most hearings. Documents must be efiled as a pdf with a doc.x document attached to allow the court to edit the order if needed. For trial purposes, counsel should provide their own electronics. 
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attorney’s use of technology in the courtroom and during trial. Electronics are allowed for trial as long as counsel tell the judge what they are using and for what purpose. We have a district policy on electronics in the courtroom.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to the submission of additional legal authority or other materials at or after oral argument. I ask counsel if they wish to submit a legal memorandum or proposed findings after hearing. 
  • Do you permit parties to bifurcate oral argument so different attorneys address different legal issues? This hasn't happened yet but I'm not opposed to this.  

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.  We generally schedule pretrial hearings 7-14 days before trial with all parties in attendance, unless excused by the court. Motion in limine are generally heard at the Pretrial. Parties may appear by phone if prior request made. All parties shall appear at settlement conferences. 
  • Set forth your practices and procedures for handling motions in limine.  Generally heard at the Pretrial.

Trial:

  • What is your schedule for a typical trial day?  Start 8:30 a.m.; 1 hour lunch break; end 4:30 p.m.
  • Set forth your voir dire procedures.  I send counsel my voir dire questions ahead of time along with my jury instructions. 
  • 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. I expect courtroom decorum to be pretty formal. I have a steno court reporter so prefer counsel to stand rather than sit. Podium is used by counsel for opening statements, voir dire, and closing statements. Witnesses shall be addressed by formal name. 
  • 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.  technology allowed so long as counsel advises the court ahead of time.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to marking and using exhibits.  Counsel should Premark exhibits if possible. Court Admin clerk provides exhibit stickers. 
  • Set forth your practices and procedures for handling objections. Objecting party shall state reason for objection. I will direct opposing counsel to respond if they request. 
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to the use of deposition testimony.  We follow the civil rules on this.
  • May attorneys obtain daily transcripts during trial? If so, what procedure should attorneys follow?  They can request transcripts from the court reporter. Not likely they will get a daily transcript during the trial. 
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attorney requests to contact jurors at the conclusion of trial.  Counsel may do so as long as other counsel is aware of request. Jurors can decline to talk with counsel. 

Other matters:

  • Set forth any other preferences, practices, or procedures attorneys and parties may find helpful.  The court prefers counsel to submit proposed jury instructions and verdict forms ahead of time and notify the court if the parties agree on the JIGS and jury form.