Protocol and Practice of Persons Appearing in the Court of Judge Michael Gordon

Specific Comments or Advice for Litigants

Specific Requirements or Preferences

We are in the Northeast Regional Court Center. Our address is:  
18380 North 40th Street, Suite F, Phoenix, Arizona 85032. Our courtroom is Courtroom 111. Our division phone number is 602-372-0762.  
Jill Duce is the Judicial Assistant, and her email address is  
Paul Rogers is the Courtroom Assistant (Bailiff) and his email address is  
The Court expects all parties and counsel to treat each other, opposing parties and court staff, with respect.  
All parties appearing pro se parties must follow the same court rules that the lawyers must follow. See Higgins v. Higgins, 194 Ariz. 266 (App. 1999) (a person who represents him/herself is held to the same familiarity with court procedures and the same notice of statutes, rules, and legal principles as is expected of an attorney).  
Please be on-time. If emergency occurs that causes a delay to or your absence from a court proceeding, promptly call the Division. The Court may proceed without you if the Division is not alerted to the circumstances causing your delay/absence.

Pre-Trial Practice and Management Issues

Motion Practice

• Judge Gordon handles most motions through eFile,. All electronic forms of order must in Microsoft Word. Please note that on the signature page, there must be at least two lines of text above the signature line. There is no need to insert the word “Proposed” in the form of order.  
• If a time extension respond/reply to motions is sought, please file a “Motion,” an “Unopposed Motion” or stipulation along with a proposed form of order. Be sure to indicate a precise date requested for the extension. If a motion is filed, include a certification that you attempted to resolve the issue with the opposing party.  
• Please understand that Division staff are not authorized to give extensions over the phone.  
• Judge Gordon appreciates receiving courtesy copies of lengthy papers (greater than 50 pages), such as a motion for summary judgment and accompanying statement of facts (plus exhibits). If you submit a courtesy copy, please wait until briefing is complete. Also, you must notify all other parties/lawyers at least one business day in advance of doing so. Please coordinate with the other parties/lawyers; if everyone intends to submit a courtesy copy, the Court appreciates receiving one binder with all relevant papers in it in chronological order.  
 When the attachments or exhibits are voluminous (>50 pages), consecutively paginate those attachments. Refer to those page numbers in your brief. For example, cite to "SOF 537" (i.e., page 537 of your SOF attachments) in the brief rather than "SOF ¶ 32." We don't have exhibit tabs most of the time, so finding where one exhibit ends and the next begins is not always easy. Even more helpful is telling the Court what you are citing, such as "SOF 537 (J. Jones Dep. at 24:17-25)." If you rely on a deposition, attach only the deposition cover page, the pages with the relevant testimony, and the court reporter’s certification.  
 Do not submit original documents to the Court and be sure that they are file-stamped (i.e., a copy with the Clerk of Court’s filing stamp indicating the date the document was filed). The Court can only act on documents that are first filed with the Clerk of Court.  
 All motions must adhere to the page limitations in the court rules. If you believe the page limitation needs to be extended, you should file a motion for relief and explain why.  
• Do not combine multiple requests for relief in one Motion.  
• Do not e-mail the Division a copy of motions unless specifically requested to do so by Division staff, or unless the motion is requesting expedited review.  
Temporary Restraining Orders/Preliminary Injunctions:  
• The Court typically sets a brief return hearing on applications for temporary restraining orders or preliminary injunctions.  
• Judge Gordon may not have the time to read, decide, and rule the same day you file a TRO application, especially if you filed after noon or on a day in which Judge Gordon in trial, so please plan accordingly. Please support your application as the applicable statutes and rules require.  
Expedited or Emergency Review:  
• If you seek expedited review, you must include the word “expedited” to the right of the caption. In addition, deliver a copy of the filing to the Division or call the JA to let the Division know you have requested expedited review. If the Court grants the request for expedited/emergency consideration, a minute entry with an expedited schedule will issue.  
• Do NOT request expedited review unless it is truly necessary. Requests for accelerated/expedited rulings should be made only when unforeseen circumstances arise.  
Motions for Summary Judgment:  
• The opening paragraph of your motion for summary judgment (or a motion to dismiss) should identify the claims/defenses at issue and relief requested. For example, e.g., “Plaintiff is entitled to summary judgment on Count One (breach of contract) and entitled to liquidated damages of $50,000.00 with prejudgment interest and post-judgment interest at ____%.”  
• Arizona Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c) does not allow the moving party file a “response” to the opposing party’s statement of facts; this Court also prohibits such “responses.” The moving party must include any objections to the opposing party’s evidence in the reply brief.  
• The Court prohibits “cross-motions” or “counter-motions” for summary judgment.  
Motions in Limine:  
• Judge Gordon limits motions in limine and responses to five pages. Replies are not permitted. Each motion in limine must address only one topic.  
• Each side (not party) is limited to five motions in limine. The lawyers (or self-represented parties) must meet and confer before filing any motions in limine.  
• Motions to exclude expert witnesses are not treated as motions in limine. The deadline to move to exclude an expert under Daubert/Arizona Rule of Evidence 702 is the same as the dispositive motion deadline.  
Motions About Improper Disclosures:  
• Motions to exclude untimely or improperly disclosed information or arguments are due no later than 28 days after that untimely or improper disclosure. You must meet and confer before filing such motions.  
• Again, do not combine more than one motion in a single filing or combine a response and a motion, or a reply and a motion, in one filing.  
A word to the Wise:  
We usually are not able to retrieve e-filed papers for three to seven business days. If you file something within three days or less of a hearing, it is unlikely that Judge Gordon will have seen or read it. Please email any last-minute filings to the JA (and call to tell her you sent it) or hand-deliver hardcopies.  

Trial Practice and Protocol

Trial Schedule

It is important that jurors not needlessly wait for us to resolve issues that we could have resolved before the jurors arrived. Thus, trial counsel must arrive fifteen minutes before trial begins in the morning and resumes after lunch to address such issues. Please be on time. If you have an issue that requires more time, please let the Judge know in advance.  
Trials typically are Monday through Thursday, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with lunch from noon to 1:30 p.m. It is common during trial for the lawyers and Court staff to address issues for part of the lunch break.

Joint Pre-Trial Memo and/or Conference; Exhibits and Objections

A joint pre-trial statement prepares the parties and the Court for the mechanics of the trial. Focus on identifying exhibits and objections to exhibits, ensuring you listed witnesses, completing deposition designations and objections to them, jury instructions (try to agree as much as possible), and the joint statement to read to the venire and in preliminary instructions.  
Please follow the schedule in the trial setting minute entry. If you have exhibits for an evidentiary hearing, please bring them at least three days in advance for marking. Judge Gordon encourages parties to stipulate to admit as many exhibits as possible. Please do not refuse to stipulate just to force the opposing party to jump through evidentiary hoops. Laying the foundation for exhibits that neither party disputes needlessly extends the trial, causing frustration for jurors.  
When you don’t object to an exhibit, all objections are waived. You may not make blanket objections and you must state the basis for an objection.

Jury Selection

Submit a stipulated short summary of the case so that Judge Gordon can read it to the jury at the beginning of jury selection.  
Judge Gordon may use juror questionnaires. The Judge will review the parties’ proposed voir dire questions and include questions deemed appropriate for a questionnaire. Because the literature shows that potential jurors are more likely to be candid regarding certain topics in writing, the Court will use the questionnaire for sensitive issues.  
The questionnaire will address for hardship. The link to the questionnaire will be circulated to the parties no later than a week before trial. On the morning of voir dire, potential jurors will complete the questionnaire in the jury assembly room. Counsel and the Court will electronically receive the questionnaire results in the courtroom, and the Court will hear argument on excusing potential jurors based on questionnaire responses as appropriate.  
After any jurors are excused based on the questionnaire, the remaining venire panel members will be brought into the courtroom. The Court will voir dire the entire panel and then allow the attorneys some time to question the jury. The attorneys usually need 20 minutes or fewer, but the Court allows some latitude in this regard, given peremptory strikes are no longer allowed.  
Alternate Jurors:  
Judge Gordon tends to seat nine or 10 jurors depending on the lengthy of the Trial.

Trial Practice and Procedure

The Court often uses a timer to keep track of time limitations. The timer runs through your voir dire, openings, examination, and closings. Judge Gordon will likely not provide a running tally of your remaining time, but you are welcome to ask for your balance.  
The parties are directed to have your disclosure log ready to provide a cite to the Court as when specific documents and exhibits were disclosed to the other side. The Court cannot resolve objections based on timeliness without.  
Courtroom Technology:  
Please arrive early and test any technology you will use at trial so that there are no delays during trial. Our courtroom has a document camera, DVD, laptop interface, and flat screen TV. We record proceedings electronically.  
You are welcome to use any trial software you wish, but please test it first. You are welcome to ask for time to practice with it in Judge Gordon’ courtroom in the days leading up to trial. Please contact the Division to set up a time to do so.  
Demonstrative Exhibits/PowerPoint:  
Provide opposing counsel with any demonstrative exhibits and summary exhibits at least 24 business hours before you intend to use them and notify the Court in advance if there are any objections.  
Do not make speaking objections. Objections should refer either to the rule by number or subject (e.g., “hearsay”). The Judge may ask the other side for a response. When responding, please keep your response to a brief explanation (e.g., “present sense impression” or “effect on the listener”).

Courtroom Etiquette

Silence all electronic devices before entering the courtroom. During evidentiary hearings, parties and witnesses must turn off phones.  
Lawyers/self-represented litigants should stand when addressing the Court (including when making objections) or when addressing the jury.  
Lawyers/self-represented litigants generally should stay near the lectern or counsel table unless approaching a witness with an exhibit. You must request permission to approach a witness. You need only ask once for permission to approach a witness; you do not need to request multiple times if you're showing the witness several exhibits.  
Lawyers/self-represented litigants should not directly address one another during the trial proceedings.

Other Courtroom Policies and Recommendations

Judge Gordon adds specific protocols to every scheduling order. READ THESE THOROUGHLY AND FOLLOW THEM.