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United States District Court
Eastern District of Tennessee
Hon. Thomas A. Varlan, Chief Judge | John L. Medearis, Clerk of Court
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Frequently Asked Questions
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Local Rules and Orders
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Clifton L. Corker, United States Magistrate Judge
220 West Depot Street, Suite 306
Greeneville, TN 37743
Nora Koffman (Law Clerk)
Greeneville Courtroom 300
1. Written correspondence from counsel to the court.
This should be avoided except for routine matters, such as scheduling, advising of a settlement, etc., that do not address the merits of any motion or pending case. A copy should be sent to opposing counsel.
2. Communication between counsel and the Judge's law clerks.
This is permitted but not as to the merits of a case or any pending motion.
3. Preference for the use of telephone conferences rather than in-person conferences for any category of conferences that you schedule in connection with a case.
Initial scheduling conference and pre-trial conference are in person. Case management conferences may be by conference call.
Judge Corker prefers to address discovery disputes in civil cases by telephone conference before a party files a motion to compel. Parties may contact chambers to request the scheduling of a phone conference. Unless advised otherwise by chambers, the parties shall jointly submit a letter of no more than five (5) pages to chambers at least twenty-four (24) hours prior to the conference to identify the discovery dispute and the parties' respective positions.
4. Preference regarding pro hac vice admissions.
No preference beyond what the Local Rules require.
5. Preference regarding oral arguments on motions.
Usually, non-dispositive motions are set for oral argument. The Court will notify counsel as to the date and time of the hearing. If the parties intend to present evidence at the hearing, they must notify the Court in advance so that arrangements can be made to have an official court reporter present.
6. Preference for courtesy copies of motions, briefs, and other writings for chambers.
Judge Corker requests that copies of all motions, briefs, and attachments in excess of 25 pages be sent to chambers.
7. Standard form for scheduling order(s).
This is available on the court website.
8. Preferences regarding Federal Rule 16.
None, except that it be read and followed.
9. Preferences regarding Federal Rule 26.
None, except that it be read and followed. The Court will endeavor to give favorable consideration to requests for reasonable extensions of deadlines supported by good cause. Absent such requests, deadlines are enforced. All written discovery requests should be served sufficiently in advance of the discovery deadline so that responses will be due prior to the deadline. Parties may agree to conduct discovery after the discovery deadline has expired; however, the Court generally will not involve itself in discovery disputes that arise following the expiration of such deadline.
10. The extent to which counsel may influence the length of the discovery period, extensions, trial dates, etc.
At the initial scheduling conference, the input of the attorneys is given great weight in setting discovery deadlines and trial dates. The time allowed for discovery in a standard case depends primarily upon its complexity. The trial date will be set so as to allow adequate time for discovery in light of the nature of the case.
11. The average amount of time allowed for discovery in a standard case.
This depends on the complexity of the case with the deadlines established with input from the attorneys.
12. Preferred approach and procedures for handling discovery conferences and disputes.
Lawyers should (1) meet and confer and use their best efforts to resolve discovery disputes promptly among themselves, but (2) bring such disputes promptly to the attention of the court so that they may be resolved quickly. Discovery disputes are generally handled by conference call with all attorneys present on the call.
13. Preferences regarding the handling of confidentiality agreements.
The parties may agree to any reasonable confidentiality terms between or among themselves; however, the parties' designation of materials as confidential does not automatically merit the filing of those materials "under seal." To file a document under seal, the parties must move for leave to do so pursuant to the applicable rules. The parties should be mindful of the high value placed on public access to judicial records, and should be guided by the provisions of Fed. R. Civ. P. 26c, Local Rule 26.2, and Proctor & Gamble Co. v. Bankers Trust Co., 78 F.3d 219 (6th Cir. 1996). Such motions will be closely scrutinized.
14. Preferences regarding requests for additional pages in excess of the page limitations set forth in Local Rule 7.1(b).
Reasonable requests to exceed the page limitation will be considered, but generally such requests are denied unless good cause exists. Failure to comply with page limitations may result in the Court disregarding the noncompliant portion of the brief or summarily denying the underlying motion.
15. Preferences and procedure regarding scheduling trials, including whether a date certain for trial is assigned; if so, the amount of time prior to trial that such a date certain is assigned; and the extent to which it may be moved during the month in which it has been scheduled.
The deadlines are set at the scheduling conference and are expected to be followed.
16. How needs of out-of-town parties, attorneys, or witnesses are accommodated.
If made aware of any specific problems, the Court will make all reasonable efforts to accommodate out-of-town attorneys and parties with regard to scheduling dates and times.
17. Preferences regarding the delivery of written reports to the court by expert witnesses who are scheduled to testify.
These should not be delivered absent advance permission and notice to all counsel.
18. Preferences regarding the submission of trial briefs by counsel.
Proposed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law are required in non-jury trials as set forth in the scheduling order. In jury trials, briefs are encouraged, but not required. Briefs may be requested by the Court on a case-by-case basis.
19. Counsel participation in voir dire.
Voir dire by counsel is allowed.
20. Time limits for opening and closing statements at trial.
Case specific. Determined on a case by case basis.
21. Preference for counsel to examine witnesses from counsel table or elsewhere, including whether you prefer counsel to remain seated while examining witnesses.
Counsel must stand when addressing the Court or making objections. At trial, counsel must address the witnesses from the podium.
22. Whether more than one attorney may handle trial for a party.
Yes. More than one attorney may represent a party at trial. Only one attorney may address a witness.
23. Preference for handling sidebar conferences.
Sidebar conferences are allowed but discouraged. If a lengthy conference is needed, the jury will be excused.
24. Preference or requirements for introducing videotaped testimony.
The courtroom deputy clerk must be given advanced notice so that she may have the equipment prepared as to avoid a disruption in the progression of the trial.
25. Pre-marking of documentary and photographic exhibits and other demonstrative evidence for trial and the date upon which exchange of exhibits is to take place, if any.
The pre-marking of exhibits are set forth in the scheduling order.
26. Preference for the moving of exhibits into evidence at trial.
No formal motion to admit the exhibits is required. Exhibits should be admitted individually and not collectively. All objections to exhibits are dealt with at or before the final pretrial conference to the extent possible.
27. Allowance of examination of witnesses beyond redirect and recross.
Usually not allowed, except under exceptional circumstances.
28. Special requirements for reading of depositions or other material onto the record at trial.
No special requirements.
29. Preference for written motion and/or brief for judgment as a matter of law or judgment on the pleadings when such motion is made during trial.
30. Approach to in limine motions.
The scheduling order requires that these motions be filed in advance of, and heard at, the final pretrial conference. They should be filed as soon as possible but no later than the date set forth in the scheduling order.
31. Practice for the receipt of proposed jury instructions, including the form of jury instruction.
The procedure for proposed jury instructions is set forth in the scheduling order and Local Rule 51.1.
32. Note-Taking by jurors.
33. Whether the jury may take exhibits into the jury room for deliberation and, if so, any limits.
All exhibits are taken into the jury room unless the Court specifically directs otherwise.
34. Preference regarding the submission of written verdict forms (in the form of interrogatory questions) to the jury.
Special verdict forms are utilized when necessitated by the nature of the particular case.
35. Written jury instructions provided to the jury.
36. Requirements as to counsel's whereabouts during jury deliberations.
Counsel who leave the vicinity of the courtroom during jury deliberation should notify the courtroom deputy of his or her whereabouts and be able to return to court within ten (10) minutes of being notified to do so.
37. Whether counsel may speak with the jurors after a verdict has been rendered and recorded and, if a jury is polled, who conducts the polling.
Judge Corker adheres to Local Rule 48.1 with regard to interrogation of jurors after a trial has concluded. If the jury is polled, Judge Corker will conduct the polling.
38. Jury requests for review of testimony or recorded evidence.
This will be decided on a case by cases basis.
39. Handling requests for temporary restraining orders, preliminary injunctions, and other emergency relief.
No set preference.
40. As to injunctions, whether expedited discovery and briefing is allowed and, if so, whether briefing is allowed before or after any preliminary injunction hearing, and whether proposed findings of fact or conclusions of law in such cases are required.
41. Prefer to receive copies of appellate filings when an appeal has been taken from an order.
42. Media communications.
Local Rules control.