|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 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 must 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 including the additional information required by the Local Rules. If the moving party also requests a continuance of other deadlines in the case, the party must so specify in the motion. In addition, a copy of the request should be hand delivered or sent by e-mail 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 should 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 must so indicate on the motion or memorandum as required by the Local Rules. The Judge will decide whether or not to grant a hearing. Parties requesting a hearing on short notice must contact the Judge's judicial assistant 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 the Local Rules, which requires the request for expeditious handling be noted in the caption of the pleading or motion. The party making the expedited request must also hand-deliver or e-mail 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 should contact the U.S. Magistrate Judge assigned to the case. 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?
The Local Rules 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. Only one motion in limine per party may be filed in a case. Second or subsequent motions in limine will not be addressed.
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 a 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 a Magistrate Judge for disposition.
13. What trial schedule is generally used?
The court will issue a scheduling order in advance of trial. Judge Reade frequently meets with the lawyers both before the jury is called to the courtroom 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 court reporter assigned to the case.
Patrice Murray 319-286-2338. Shelly Semmler 712-233-3846.
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 in civil cases the Court's standard set of preliminary instructions are available on this Web site (Stock Civil Preliminary, Stock Criminal Preliminary). The court likely will instruct the jury before the evidence commences in criminal trials.
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 must 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 must silence cell phones and other electronic devices brought into the courtroom.
Attorneys and their staff, 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 must return to counsel table or the podium and must 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 during a witness examination.
Attorneys and their staff and parties must stand when the Judge and the jurors enter or leave the room. When addressing the court, attorneys or parties must stand unless told otherwise.
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 IT staff.
In the event a party intends to use equipment not furnished by the court, the party should 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 should 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 must be thoroughly familiar with and adhere to the Local Rules, trial orders, Rules of Civil and Criminal Procedure and Federal Rules of Evidence.
Judge Reade's standard forms can be found by clicking here