|Permanent Chambers Address: |
Federal Courthouse and Federal Building
111 7th Ave SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52401
Address When Working In Sioux City:
Federal Courthouse and Federal Building
320 6th Street., VJ Chambers, Sioux City, Iowa 51101
Sioux City Phone:
Sioux City Fax:
Elbow Law Clerks:
Kelsie Brandlee: 319-286-2335
Erin Snider: 319-286-2336
Legal Advisor/Courtroom Deputy:
Jessica Gittemeier: 319-286-2339
Patrice Murray: 319-286-2338
|1. If I need to communicate with the court, how should I proceed? |
Attorneys and pro se litigants may communicate ex parte with the court only for scheduling or procedural questions, or for matters that are traditionally handled ex parte, i.e. requests for temporary restraining order and Criminal Justice Act matters. When appropriate, litigants may communicate with the court by telephone or in writing.
2. How can I determine the status of a pending motion?
It is unlikely the court would be able to give a party an exact release date for any order. All motions will be ruled on as soon as possible.
3. If I need a trial or hearing continued, whom should I contact, and do I need to file a written request?
Requests for continuance are not favored. Persons requesting a continuance shall file a motion with the Clerk of Court and serve it on opposing parties stating with particularity the reason the request is being made and a proposed date for rescheduling. If the moving party also requests a continuance of other deadlines in the case, the party shall so specify in the motion. In addition, a copy of the request should be hand delivered or sent by fax to the court and opposing counsel/pro se litigant. In an extreme emergency, the party may call the Judge's judicial assistant before filing a motion to continue and request an expedited hearing. Attorneys should assume a motion to continue a proceeding or deadline will not be granted and shall continue their preparation while the motion to continue is pending.
4. If I need to have a motion set for hearing, what procedure should I follow?
Parties requesting a hearing shall so indicate on the motion or memorandum as required by Local Rule 7. The Judge will decide whether or not to grant a hearing, but in nearly every case, the Judge will schedule a hearing upon request. Parties requesting a hearing on short notice shall contact the Judge's judicial assistant, Diane, at 319-286-2330.
5. How can I get an expedited ruling or hearing?
For any matter on which an expedited ruling or hearing is necessary, please follow Local Rule 7.j which requires the request for expeditious handling be noted in the caption of the pleading or motion. The party making the expedited request shall also hand-deliver a copy of the expedited motion and memorandum of law in support thereof or the pleading to the chambers of the Judge.
6. What do I have to do to get a settlement conference scheduled? Who will conduct the settlement conference? What are the requirements?
Parties are encouraged to attempt to settle their dispute without involvement of the court. However, to schedule a settlement conference with the court, the parties shall contact U.S. Magistrate Judge Jon S. Scoles at 319-286-2340. A copy of the form Settlement Conference Order is attached.
7. How do I get a trial date?
Cases will be assigned a FIRM trial date on a two-week trailing calendar when the scheduling order is filed. If for some reason, a trial date is not assigned to a case, or if the trial is continued and no new date has been set, a party may file a motion requesting a trial date be set.
8. Are there any special procedures for marking trial or hearing exhibits?
Yes, the procedures for marking exhibits are set out in the trial setting order forms. (Criminal Trial, Civil Bench Trial, Civil Jury Trial).
9. Is there anything particular that I should or should not do when I file a motion?
Local Rules 7,15,37 and 47 address motions. Only relevant pages of multi-page documents should be attached to the motion. Motions should state with particularity the grounds for the motion and the relief sought. Parties should request permission to file an over-length brief only in extremely complex cases.
10. How does the court view motions to reconsider?
Motions to Reconsider are not favored. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not provide for a motion to reconsider. However, the court will review motions to reconsider if they contain arguments, authorities or rationale not previously argued and there is a good reason stated for not previously advancing the argument, authority or rationale. Motions to reconsider that merely rehash previous arguments, authorities or rationale will be summarily overruled.
11. Do we have to comply with all the requirements of the pretrial order?
12. If the parties file a Consent to the Exercise of Jurisdiction by a United States Magistrate Judge, will the Judge refer the case to the Magistrate Judge for disposition?
The Judge will refer the case to the Magistrate Judge for disposition providing the consent makes efficient use of judicial resources. The earlier in the case a consent is filed, the more likely the Judge will refer the case to the Magistrate Judge for disposition.
13. What trial schedule is generally used?
The first day of trial, the court will be on 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. schedule. Generally, civil trials and criminal trials that are scheduled to be tried for more than one day run from 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., beginning on the second day of trial, with no lunch break. Two twenty-minute recesses are provided for, one in the morning and one early in the afternoon. Attorneys/pro se litigants shall be in the courtroom by 8 a.m. each day. Judge Reade frequently meets with the lawyers both before the trial day and at the conclusion of the trial day to anticipate and resolve trial-related issues and problems.
Judge Reade starts court on time and expects attorneys and litigants to be in the courtroom and ready to proceed at the designated time.
14. What is the court's view on sidebars?
Sidebars are strongly discouraged. Sidebars are reserved for unanticipated and emergency type problems that arise during the trial.
15. Does the court have Real Time court reporting and is it available to the lawyers?
Real Time reporting is available to the lawyers on a case by case basis. Arrangements should be made with the Judge's Court Reporter. For Central and Western Division cases, the Court Reporter is Shelly Semmler 712-233-3846. For Cedar Rapids and Eastern Division cases, the Court Reporter is Patrice Murray 319-286-2338.
16. How does the Court want jury instructions submitted?
The trial setting orders set forth the requirements for jury instructions. (Criminal Trial, Civil Bench Trial, Civil Jury Trial).
17. Does the court use preliminary jury instructions?
Yes, the Court's standard set of preliminary instructions are available on this Web site (Stock Civil Preliminary, Stock Criminal Preliminary). If the parties are able to agree, the court will give marshaling instructions on the elements prior to the beginning of the evidence.
18. Will the court conduct voir dire itself or will counsel be allowed to participate?
After Chief Judge Linda R. Reade has completed her questions, each side, beginning with the government, will be permitted to conduct up to one-half hour of jury voir dire. The parties in a criminal case shall not refer to alternate jurors in anyway, including referring to a panel of "12 jurors." The attorneys are not permitted to argue their case or engage in questioning unrelated to the juror's ability to serve. A request for additional time for attorney voir dire because of the complexity or unusual nature of a case, or in multi-party cases, should be made at or before the FPTC.
19. Are there any special requirements for the conduct of attorneys during trials or hearings?
Attorneys are expected to strictly adhere to all deadlines established by the court. Failure to adhere to deadlines may result in evidence or arguments being excluded and/or other sanctions.
Attorneys shall arrive for court proceedings well in advance of the time the hearing or trial is scheduled to commence and be ready to proceed at the scheduled time. Lawyers should allow extra time to clear security at the entrance to the Courthouse.
Attorneys are expected to act in a courteous and professional manner with courthouse personnel, parties, witnesses, opposing counsel and the court.
Attorneys, parties and witnesses are expected to dress in appropriate business attire.
Attorneys may question witnesses from a seated position or from a standing position at counsel table or a podium. Opening statements and closing arguments may be delivered standing in front of the jury with or without a podium.
It is not necessary for counsel to request to approach a witness to hand them materials. After handing the witness the materials, the attorney shall return to counsel table or the podium and shall not stand next to the witness when questioning. This may require that the attorney or pro se litigant have extra copies of those materials for use with a witness examination.
Attorneys and parties shall stand when the Judge and the jurors enter or leave the room. When addressing the court, attorneys or parties shall stand.
The Cedar Rapids courtroom has technological equipment available, including an ELMO. Attorneys intending to use the equipment during a hearing or trial must contact the Clerk's office 319.286.2300 to schedule a training session with the equipment.
In the event a party intends to use equipment not furnished by the court, the party shall contact the Clerk's office prior to trial to make certain the equipment is compatible with the wiring and other equipment in the courtroom. The party shall become thoroughly familiar with the operation of their equipment prior to trial. The court will not delay the trial/hearing due to equipment and/or operator failure. Attorneys are encouraged to have backup equipment available in the event of equipment failure.
Attorneys and pro se litigants shall be thoroughly familiar with and adhere to the Local Rules, trial, orders Rules of Civil Procedure and Federal Rules of Evidence.