| The Judge's Criminal and Civil Courtroom Procedures and Advice
These practices and procedures are in place to aid the parties and their counsel to proceed fairly and efficiently. I welcome suggestions about how the practices could be modified to meet the particular needs of a case, and I try to be flexible when it assists the Court’s customers and the achievement of a just result. My general practices are as follows:
For Criminal & Civil Cases:
1. I welcome questions from counsel and pro se parties to my clerks about
procedural and scheduling matters, but there should be no other ex
parte communications to my chambers.
2. Courtesy copies of filings should be sent to my clerks. E-mail is best;
the appropriate e-mail address can be obtained by calling my chambers
at 612-596-7386. Proposed orders should be sent as Word documents.
3. At all hearings counsel should have their calendars available for selecting
future case dates.
4. At oral arguments, assume that I have read the submissions. I
frequently ask that oral arguments focus on specific issues, cases, or
exhibits that seem dispositive to me.
5. I ask counsel to try to agree on the admissibility of exhibits and
deposition testimony before trial so that I can expeditiously rule on any
disputes without delaying the start of the trial.
6. For jury trials, I will have a proposed set of instructions and a verdict form
for counsel to review and discuss near the end of the presentation of
evidence. I instruct the jury before closing arguments and provide a
written copy of the instructions to the jurors in the jury deliberation room.
Criminal voir dire will be on the record, and am also happy to hold civil
voir dire on the record upon request.
7. Counsel or unrepresented parties who have questions not covered here
may call my clerk at 612-596-7386.
For Civil Cases:
1. A scheduling order and a trial order will be issued that address procedural
2. Information statements should be submitted within 60 days of the date
the case is filed. We will use the information statements to prepare a
scheduling order, which includes the trial block to which the case is
assigned as well as deadlines for the following: joining additional parties;
plaintiff’s and defendant’s expert disclosures; independent physical,
mental, or blood examinations; discovery; alternative dispute resolution
(“ADR”); non-dispositive and dispositive motions; and receipt of a joint
statement of the case. We will promptly send out a scheduling order
after the 60 days has expired regardless of whether informational
statements have been received by one or both parties. If no
informational statements are received, a scheduling order will be based
upon the complaint and responses, if any.
3. I welcome telephone conferences on procedural matters, and they can
usually be scheduled within 48 hours. In particular, I ask that counsel
schedule a telephone conference before filing discovery motions, since
so many discovery issues can be worked out in a short conversation. No
papers should be submitted for telephone conferences, since it puts the
other party in an uncertain position about how or when to respond. If the
submission of paperwork is necessary, we will arrange a schedule for
submissions following the telephone conference.
4. I expect all parties to engage in ADR, except in those cases which are
statutorily exempt. ADR is addressed in the scheduling order. I will be
glad to talk with counsel about ADR in a telephone conference, including
the type of ADR that might be appropriate, the identification of particular
neutrals, or follow up processes that might be useful.
5. We do not routinely schedule pre-trial settlement conferences, but as
noted in the scheduling order, counsel are welcome to request one if
they choose. I am happy to become involved in settlement discussions
at any time counsel request. I would prefer to do so at a scheduled pre-
trial settlement conference rather than delay the start of a trial for last
minute settlement discussions.
6. Cases are scheduled for trial during three week trial blocks, with the
oldest cases getting first priority. As stated in the trial order, counsel
with a distinct need such as out of town witnesses may request a date
certain, although it is difficult to grant all such requests. As the trial
block approaches, counsel should call my chambers to learn the current
priority of their case. We can usually provide a fairly good estimate of
the trial date. The trial order contains submission dates for trial
materials, including motions in limine, instructions, and the verdict form.