Protocol and Practice of Persons Appearing in the Court of Judge Christopher Coury
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Specific Comments or Advice for LitigantsSpecific Requirements or Preferences All attorneys and litigants will be treated the same. Self-represented litigants are expected to comply with all court rules.
I do not communicate by email with attorneys. My staff may communicate with attorneys and their staff by email for scheduling purposes or if an electronic format of a submission is needed, to expedite review of certain documents (such as jury instructions), or in urgent situations or to send minute entries. If one of my staff members contacts you by email for scheduling, please respond promptly, even if it is just to acknowledge the email and estimate when you will be able to get respond substantively.
Pre-Trial Practice and Management IssuesMotion Practice If you have a motion that necessitates an evidentiary hearing, please file those motions sooner rather than later. Any motion brought for a Daubert hearing or brought under Evidence Rule 702, should be filed no later than the dispositive motion deadline. By the time you get to court, I will have read what you filed. That means you only have to talk about those things you did not put in your filings or to clarify something you put in your written materials. Discussing what I have already read usually is not very helpful.
I prefer each motion, including dispositive motions, to deal with one discrete subject. Cross-motions are strongly discouraged. DO NOT combine a dispositive motion with ANY other motion and DO NOT respond or reply to more than one motion in each response or reply. Please label responses and replies to motions by identifying the subject of the motion being responded to: e.g. “Defendant’s Response to Plaintiff’s Motion Summary Judgment Re: Vulnerable Adult Abuse claim.” Because of electronic filing, we can track the single filing only as a response, as a reply or as a new motion. Again, do not combine a response or a reply to one motion with a new motion for affirmative relief (i.e. a cross-motion), even if on a related topic; they should be filed separately from responses and replies.
It would be greatly appreciated if you provide one hard copy of all exhibits to dispositive motions to my division no later than 24 hours after the motion, response or reply is filed. Likewise, for any court submission exceeding 30 pages in the aggregate (including exhibits), it is appreciated if you kindly provide one copy to my division.
Not all requests for oral argument will be granted. Some motions do not seem to need it. If you have a winning argument, that should already have been included it in the motion or response.
Motions for reconsideration are discouraged unless there is something new that the court has not considered. If you just disagree with my ruling, you likely are better off to file an appeal.
Any discovery or non-disclosure objection that is not asserted by the Motion in Limine deadline shall be deemed waived (except for disclosures occurring for the first time after the Motion in Limine deadline).
Discovery or Disclosure Disputes and/or Sanctions Motions to Compel and/or Motions for Sanctions are strongly discouraged. You are expected to meet and confer with the opposing party when you have a discovery dispute and to try to resolve your dispute in good faith. "Meet and confer" will require an actual conversation with the opposing party and not just an exchange of voice mails and emails.
If you cannot resolve your differences or if you repeatedly tried to have a conversation with the opposing party and they will not respond, email my judicial assistant, Leticia Gauna at firstname.lastname@example.org, and all other counsel to advise them of your request for a telephonic hearing. Each party shall thereafter email the Court’s Judicial Assistant a summary of the dispute in Times New Roman 13 point font, limited to no more than two pages. Please make certain all parties are copied on the email. The emails will be filed with the clerk. Once the Court receives a summary from each party and a certification of compliance with Rule 37, the judicial assistant will email the parties to schedule a telephonic conference with the judge. These generally will be held within 1 to 3 business days. If the issue is truly too complicated to resolve over the phone, I will direct you to file something in writing. This will save you time and your client money.
When you are objecting to a discovery request because it is too burdensome, you should couple that objection with a showing what you have offered to produce if the other party assumes the burden. If the objection is based on privilege or the information is too sensitive, you may also be more persuasive if you submit a protective order with your objection.
Other Pre-trial Practice Guidelines or Comments If the Court has previously ordered that no further continuances will be granted, the parties should be prepared to go to trial as scheduled absent extraordinary circumstances.
Trial Practice and ProtocolTrial Schedule Trial is held from 9:30 a.m. to noon, and from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Each trial day is budgeted to be 4.5 hours of actual in court time, exclusive of breaks and bench conferences.
When you estimate how much time you will need to try a case, please add in the time necessary for voir dire and jury deliberations. If you tell me it is a 4-day trial, I will tell the jury that the trial will be done in 4 days. For example, for a 4-day trial, the Court reserves for itself 4.5 hours for the Court to do its portion of voir dire, read preliminary and final jury instructions, and for jury deliberations. The parties will then be splitting the remaining 3-days for each party's portion of voir dire, opening statements, witness examinations, and closing arguments.
I will use a timer to keep track of your time. You should not anticipate receiving additional time once trial begins; you should plan to ensure that your case is completed within your allocated time.
Joint Pre-Trial Memo and/or Conference; Exhibits and Objections All litigants are expected to submit JOINT Pretrial Statements before the trial/evidentiary hearing. This is required by the rules and in my orders setting the case for the trial/evidentiary hearing.
Joint Pretrial Statements help the litigants narrow the issues to be tried, and help the Court understand each side's position. If there is a rule, statute or case law that will help me make my decision, cite to it in the Joint Pretrial Statement. Like other judicial officers, you may be fined $50 per day for every day that your Joint Pretrial Statement is late.
Any discovery or non-disclosure objection that is not asserted by the Motion in Limine deadline shall be deemed waived (except for disclosures occurring for the first time after this deadline).
The parties are expected to read the Trial Setting Minute Entry and comply with all specifics set forth in that Minute Entry, including but not limited to deadlines for submitting exhibits, and for requesting and paying for a court reporter. Jury Selection During jury selection, I will ask basic voir dire questions and usually let the attorneys to ask supplemental do the voir dire. In general, you should submit questions related to jury selection to the Court for approval.
In most cases, jury questionnaires and mini-openings are not necessary. However, in a complex case or a case with controversial facts, it may be necessary. The attorneys should discuss these issues with me no later than the Final Trial Management Conference if they want to use these.
I do not use the strike and replace method of jury selection; the whole panel of prospective jurors generally will participate in jury selection.
It is my preference that all jurors who are seated participate in deliberation. It is appreciated if the parties can stipulate in advance to the number required for a verdict if more than 8 jurors deliberate. Trial Practice and Procedure The time for oral argument/presentation of evidence will be limited and stated in the minute entry setting the hearing. Keep to that time limit. If you "need" more time, ask for it by motion, way in advance of the hearing. My inclination is to not give more, but it could happen. Don't feel obligated to use all the time the minute entry gives you. If the minute entry gives you a presumptive time limit of one hour and you only need 15 minutes, don't take any more. Everyone will appreciate it.
If you are requesting findings of fact and conclusions of law, you must provide me with your proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law in Microsoft Word format and it should be emailed to this division to email@example.com.
Please make sure that you set-up and test any technology you wish to use during trial. Delays in trial to set up technology are discouraged and, if we are running out of time allotted for trial, may not be allowed or may be applied to your remaining time. Courtroom Etiquette Cell phones should be silenced in the courtroom and no taping of any sort is permitted within the courtroom.
Appropriate attire is expected.
Litigants and attorneys may have covered beverages (i.e. bottle of water with a top or a beverage in a travel mug), at counsel tables during hearings.
Attorneys and litigants are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner when dealing with all court staff, be it by phone, email, in person or otherwise. Neither conversations with judicial staff nor the courtroom are places for the parties and/or their attorneys to launch personal attacks on each other. If you engage in such attacks, it tends to suggest that your case is weak. Be courteous to one another. If there is something you really want the Court to hear, wait your turn. Don't talk over each other. I can only hear one person at a time. Please address all comments to me and not the opposing parties and attorneys.
Other Courtroom Policies and Recommendations Hearings are set times. The Court does not run a "calendar call."
If you have agreed to extend deadlines for filing a response or reply, please notify the court so that the court does not rule on the motion thinking that no response or reply will be filed.
If you settled a case that has pending motions or has an upcoming oral argument or evidentiary hearing, please notify the court as soon as possible. This will prevent the court from having to do unnecessary work and it will be much appreciated.
Please read my minute entries. There are orders in them that I expect litigants to follow. I also expect the litigants to follow the Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure.