Protocol in the Court of Judge Timothy Thomason
Pre-Trial Practice and Management Issues
Motion Practice: No party should include more than one motion in a single filing or combine a response and a motion or a reply and a motion in one filing (with the exception of a true cross-motion for summary judgment). This applies to request for attorneys' fees or sanctions. Such requests should be made by separate motion. No party should file supplemental briefing without leave of Court. All citations shall be included in the body of the brief and not in footnotes. Page limits should not be exceeded with leave of court. The Court permits only one Motion for Summary Judgment per party absent leave of Court for good cause shown. Motions in Limine should not be filed in bench trials without leave of Court. Absent leave of Court for good cause shown, each party may file no more than five Motions in Limine. Motions in Limine should address only matters that are extremely prejudicial and could result in a mistrial. Motions in Limine should not be filed on routine evidentiary matters. Motions in Limine asking the Court to enforce a particular rule of evidence should not be filed. Motions in Limine are to be no more than four pages in length and responses are no more than four pages in length. There are no replies. Oral argument should not be a regurgitation of matters in the briefs. The Court will likely have questions at oral argument.
Discovery of Disclosure, Disputes and/or Sanctions: The Court generally follows new Civil Rule 26(d). The Court's dispute resolution procedures outlined below shall apply to the following circumstances: (1) the parties have a discovery dispute that needs to be addressed; (2) one party seeks to compel another party to take some action; or (3) a party intends to seek sanctions against another party. Under any of these circumstances, counsel must personally speak to each other and engage in good faith attempts to resolve the dispute. If they cannot do so, the parties must file a "joint statement of discovery or disclosure dispute" and provide a copy to the division's judicial assistant. The joint statement must not exceed three pages and must contain a certificate of good faith consultation. No exhibits shall be included with the summaries. If, after reviewing a summary, the Court determines that it needs additional documents, division staff will contact the attorneys. The Court's Judicial Assistant will contact the parties to schedule a telephonic conference. The email address for the Court's Judicial Assistant, Bridgett Miller-Pristavec, is firstname.lastname@example.org and the phone number is 602-506-0573.
Trial Practice and Protocol
Trial Schedule: The general trial schedule is 9 AM to noon and 1:30 PM to 4:15 PM.
Joint Pre-Trial Memo and/or Conference: Exhibits and Objections: See discussion on motion practice for Motions in Limine. Please try to remove all duplicate exhibits. Stipulated exhibits are generally admitted at the pre-trial management conference. If there are major issues about an exhibit, please be prepared to address them at the pre-trial management conference. Please have a copy of the exhibit in question for the Court. With large documents, please consider only having the operative language admitted. If there is a 100 page contract with only one sentence in dispute, there generally is no need to admit the entire document. Please seriously consider what documents are necessary for your case. The court does not look favorably on having dozens of exhibits presented "just in case" they are necessary. Jury exhibit notebooks are encouraged. Counsel should discuss the notebooks and try to agree on what goes in the notebook. If they disagree, then this can be discussed at the pre-trial management conference.
Exhibits can and should be presented "on the screen" via the ELMO, when practicable.
Jury Selection: We use the struck method where the entire panel is questioned. Counsel are provided a short period of time to ask follow up questions. This generally should not exceed 15 to 30 minutes. We generally will seat 9 jurors and counsel are asked to seriously consider having the alternate deliberate with seven of nine for a verdict.
Trial Practice and Procedure: Counsel are generally free to move around the courtroom during trial, but should request permission to approach the witness. Please stand when making objections. Objections should be short and succinct. There are no speaking objections allowed. If the Court wants a response or further discussion, the Court will ask for it. We have electronic equipment in the courtroom, which counsel are free to use. Please make an appointment before trial with court staff to talk about how to use the equipment.
Courtroom Etiquette: The Court expects lawyers to treat each other, opposing parties, court staff and everyone with respect. Counsel are generally free to move around the courtroom during trial, but should request permission to approach the witness. Objections should be made when standing. Objections should be short and succinct. There are no speaking objections allowed. If the Court wants a response to the objection or further discussion, the Court will ask for it. There is electronic equipment in the courtroom, which counsel are free to use. Please make an appointment before trial to meet with court staff to talk about how to use the equipment.
Judge Timothy Thomason
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