Should be avoided, except for routine (scheduling, advising of settlement status, etc.) matters, should not address the merits of any motion or case except discovery disputes, and in any event all other attorneys should be furnished a copy.
2. Communication between counsel and the Judge's law clerks.
Permitted, as per above. The Court prefers that communication with chambers be by email with the email being copied to all counsel of record. It is always best to be sure that the email communication is circulated to both of the Court’s law clerks as opposed to just one. If there is a time-sensitive matter related solely to scheduling, counsel may contact chambers by telephone. Additionally, counsel is invited to contact chambers by telephone to address matters that are not case-related such as bar association activities.
3. Use of telephonic hearings and videoconferences.
In the discretion of the Court, telephonic motion hearings and videoconferences may be held in lieu of in-person hearings, especially if there are attorneys involved whose offices are a significant distance from the court. In determining whether to hold a hearing in-person when there are out-of-town counsel and/or witnesses involved, the Court will consider the number of lawyers and the subject matter of the hearing. Attorneys may request telephonic and/or videoconference hearings by contacting the Court’s law clerks. Discovery disputes are generally addressed by telephonic hearing or videoconference.
4. Pro hac vice admissions.
No preference beyond what the Local Rule requires, but it is critically important that attorneys review and comply with the applicable Local Rules as the Court frequently is faced with deficiencies in such filings.
5. Oral arguments on motions.
The nature of the motion determines the need for oral argument. The Court often sets motions for oral argument but does not always do so. If counsel wishes to make oral argument as to a particular motion, counsel should advise the Court’s law clerks and such requests will generally be granted.
6. Courtesy copies of motions, briefs, and other writings for chambers.
Counsel is to provide copies to chambers of all motions and briefs greater than 25 pages or filed within 48 hours of the hearing/trial and shall provide that copy to email@example.com in Microsoft Word and PDF formats. Counsel must also contact chambers to determine whether the Court will require a hand-delivered copy of the document as well.
7. Standard scheduling order.
A copy of the Court’s typical scheduling order in civil consent cases may be accessed here: Scheduling Order
8. Federal Rule 16.
It is essential that you read this rule carefully and follow it.
9. Federal Rule 26.
Read this rule carefully and follow it, particularly regarding the timing and content of initial and expert disclosures. Reasonable extensions of deadlines usually are granted, if timely requested.
10. Counsel’s input regarding the discovery period, extensions, trial dates, etc.
The input of the attorneys is given great weight when initially setting discovery deadlines and trial dates. The time allowed for discovery in a standard case depends upon the complexity of the case, and the Court will take the complexity into account in setting the trial date and other attendant deadlines. Once a scheduling order has been entered, counsel is expected to comply with the deadlines contained therein or seek timely relief therefrom supported by good cause.
11. Time permitted for discovery.
The time permitted for discovery will be determined based upon the complexity of the case and in consultation with counsel.
12. 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 and (2) bring disputes that cannot be resolved after using best efforts to the attention of the court promptly so they may be resolved quickly. Discovery disputes are generally handled by conference call with all attorneys present on the call. Counsel should contact the Court’s law clerk to request a discovery conference before filing a discovery-related motion.
13. Confidentiality agreements.
The parties may agree to utilize any procedure they find mutually acceptable for handling confidential information among themselves; however, documents may only be filed "under seal" with the Court, if they meet the requirements of Local Rule 26.2. Counsel is further referred to the considerations set forth in Proctor & Gamble Co. v. Bankers Trust Co., 78 F.3d 219 (6th Cir. 1996). The parties must obtain court permission to file any documents with the court under seal. Additionally, the parties are reminded of the general requirement that proceedings before the Court and documents filed into a case record be open to the public. If requesting that the Court enter a protective order, the parties should forward a proposed protective order which has been agreed upon by counsel.
14. Requests to file a document containing pages in excess of the limits contained in Local Rule 7.1(b).
Reasonable requests to exceed the page limitation are usually granted upon the filing of a motion setting forth the request and the grounds for it.
15. Procedure regarding scheduling trials.
All deadlines and the trial date are set at the scheduling conference and will be memorialized in a scheduling order. Once set, these deadlines and the trial date will only be moved upon a showing of good cause.
16. Accommodations for out-of-town parties, attorneys, and witnesses.
The Court will attempt to accommodate specific problems related to the appearance of out-of-town parties, attorneys, and witnesses. Counsel should contact the Court’s law clerks by email with a copy to all counsel of record to advise the Court of such issues. The Court will then determine whether it will act based upon the information provided or require a motion. The Court will use telephone conferences and videoconferencing where appropriate to limit unnecessary travel for those located at a significant distance from the courthouse.
17. Delivering written reports to the Court for expert witnesses who are scheduled to testify at trial.
Expert witness reports should not be delivered to the Court absent agreement of the parties or advance permission by the Court with notice to all counsel.
18. Submission of trial briefs by counsel.
Proposed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law are required in non-jury trials. In jury trials, briefs are strongly encouraged, but they are not automatically required in every case. The Court may require briefs to be filed depending on the nature of the case and issues in dispute.
19. Participation in voir dire by counsel.
The Court permits counsel to participate in voir dire but reserves the right to limit counsel’s participation as justice may require.
20. Time limits for opening and closing statements at trial.
The Court will allow counsel input when determining how much will be allotted for opening and closing statements; however, once the Court has determined the time allotted, counsel must abide by those limits.
21. Requirements when addressing the Court and examining witnesses.
If physically able, counsel must stand when addressing the court, making objections, or examining witnesses unless otherwise instructed. Generally, counsel must question witnesses from the podium, but the Court will entertain requests by counsel to do otherwise if made pre-trial.
22. Number of attorneys who may participate in argument and the questioning of witnesses at trial for a single party.
The Court does not automatically impose any limit on the number of attorneys who may make arguments and question witnesses at trial for a single party; however, only one attorney may examine any given witness, including making objections on cross examination. Only one attorney may handle any given argument, although different attorneys may handle the opening and closing statements. The Court encourages firms to provide opportunities for attorneys newer to the profession to meaningfully participate in making arguments and examining witnesses at trial.
23. Sidebar conferences.
Sidebar conferences are discouraged but permitted. If it is clear to the Court that a lengthy conference is needed, the Court will excuse the jury.
24. Introducing videotaped testimony and using courtroom technology.
Counsel must notify the courtroom deputy clerk in advance (as required by the final pre-trial order) if videotaped deposition testimony will be utilized at trial or if counsel wishes to make use of the Court’s evidence presentation equipment. Counsel is encouraged to make use of the courtroom technology and to schedule a time with the Clerk’s Office to test the equipment and receive any necessary training.
25. Pre-marking of documentary and photographic exhibits and other demonstrative evidence for trial.
The scheduling order sets a date certain for exchanging exhibit lists and reviewing exhibits. Any exhibit which may introduced at trial must be pre-marked at the final pre-trial conference.
26. Mechanism for presenting exhibits at trial.
Counsel should generally use exhibit notebooks and the courtroom deputy clerk or the Court’s law clerks can provide additional information about the format for them. Each party will utilize a separate notebook. An exhibit should not be published to the jury without the Court’s permission.
27. Examination of witnesses beyond redirect and recross.
The Court generally does not permit examination of witnesses beyond redirect and recross; however, exceptions may be made for good cause shown. Any additional questioning permitted shall be limited to the scope of the immediately preceding portion of the examination.
28. Written motions and/or briefs for judgment as a matter of law or judgment on the pleadings when such motion is made during trial.
Preferred, but not required.
29. Motions in limine.
While the scheduling order contains a final deadline for filing motions in limine, the Court encourages counsel to file them earlier when possible.
30. Submitting proposed jury instructions.
The scheduling order addresses this matter. Additionally, the Court notes that a charge conference will generally be held before or during the trial.
31. Note taking by jurors.
Note taking by jurors is permitted.
32. Exhibits in the jury room for deliberation.
The Court generally sends all exhibits into the jury room; however, the Court will consider a well-supported request by counsel to do otherwise.
33. Submission of written verdict forms (in the form of interrogatory questions) to the jury.
Special verdict forms are utilized when the Court finds the nature of the case requires it and counsel is permitted to submit proposed verdict forms.
34. Written jury instructions provided to the jury.
The Court does provide written instructions to the jury.
35. Counsel's location during jury deliberations.
Counsel is not required to remain in the courthouse during deliberations but must be close enough to the courthouse to permit them to be back in the courtroom within ten minutes of being contacted by the courtroom deputy clerk. If leaving the courthouse, counsel must provide a cellular telephone number to the courtroom deputy.
36. Speaking with jurors after a verdict has been rendered and recorded and polling of the jury.
Polling after the verdict will be conducted by the Court. Upon oral or written motion, the Court will consider permitting post-verdict contact with jurors per Local Rule 48.1.
37. Requests for expedited discovery and briefing where a preliminary injunction is requested and whether counsel is required to submit proposed findings of fact or conclusions of law in these matters.
When a request for preliminary injunction is requested, the case will be considered on its own merits. If the facts or legal issues involved are complex or where there are a number of parties involved, the Court will likely require briefing by the parties on an expedited basis.
38. Copies of appellate filings when an appeal has been taken from an order.
Counsel is not required to provide the Court with appellate filings.
39. General approach to settlement in both jury and non-jury civil cases.
The parties are generally expected to attempt to resolve their cases prior to trial by participating in good faith in mediation. Parties who do not wish to engage in mediation should be prepared to explain to the Court why their case is not suitable for mediation.
40. Extent to which practices and procedures in criminal cases are varied from those in civil cases.
Procedures are generally similar except to the extent that the respective Federal Rules of Procedure and/or Local Rules so require.
41. Motions to withdraw.
Counsel should refer to and follow the specific requirements contained in the Local Rules when seeking to withdraw as counsel.
42. Media communications.
Local Rules control how communications with the media are handled.
43. General courtroom etiquette.
If counsel has any questions regarding courtroom-specific safety protocols or other courtroom etiquette counsel should contact the courtroom deputy clerk for information.
Civility is of the utmost importance to the Court and counsel is expected to behave in a civil and professional manner when interacting with opposing counsel and witnesses both inside and outside the courtroom. Counsel should behave in a manner that brings honor to the profession and inspires confidence in our legal system.