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 The email address for my division is email@example.com.
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 parties or attorneys. My staff may communicate with parties (if self-represented) or 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, 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 respond substantively.
Pre-Trial Practice and Management IssuesMotion Practice ALL MOTIONS OR FILINGS MADE LESS THAN 10 DAYS BEFORE A HEARING MUST BE EMAILED, IN MS WORD FORMAT TO firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. 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. This applies to requests for attorneys' fees or sanctions. Such requests should be made by separate motion. Each motion, including dispositive motions, must 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.
2. No party should file supplemental briefing without leave of Court.
3. All citations shall be included in the body of the brief and not in footnotes.
4. Page limits should not be exceeded with leave of court.
5. The Court permits only one Motion for Summary Judgment per party absent leave of Court for good cause shown.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. Oral argument should not be a regurgitation of matters in the briefs. The Court will likely have questions at oral argument. By the time you get to court, you can assume I will have read your motions. 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. 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 in the motion or response.
9. It would be greatly appreciated if you provide one hard copy of all exhibits to 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.
10. Motions for reconsideration are strongly 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.
11. Any discovery or non-disclosure objection that is not asserted by the Joint Pretrial Statement deadline shall be deemed waived (except for disclosures occurring for the first time after the Joint Pretrial Statement deadline).
Discovery or Disclosure Disputes and/or Sanctions This division applies Rule 26(d), Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure to resolve discovery disputes in all of 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. Unless full briefing is allowed, the expedited procedures in Rule 26(d) of the Rules of CIVIL Procedure apply to all discovery disputes.
Before submitting a discovery dispute, you are expected to meet and confer with the opposing party 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, you are to prepare a joint statement of discovery or disclosure dispute as set forth in Rule 26(d)(2), Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure and email it to my division at email@example.com. 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.
All opposing attorneys (or, if self represented, parties) must be copied on the email. If you do not hear from my division within 2 business days, you may call my division at 602-372-3876 to request a hearing.
The Statement of Discovery Dispute must be in Times New Roman 13 point font. You should attach a certification of compliance with the "meet and confer" requirement of Rule 37, Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure.
Someone from my team (my judicial assistant or courtroom assistant) will email the parties/attorneys to schedule a telephonic conference on the discovery dispute. These generally will be held within 1 week. If the issue is truly too complicated to resolve over the phone, I will direct you to file something in writing. Unless authorized, no motions to compel or motions for discovery sanctions shall be filed. This will save parties time and 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 Most pretrial matters will be conducted virtually, through the Court Connect platform.
Please arrive on time.
The Court appreciates elctronic copies of exhibits (.pdf preferred), if there are critical exhibits in the case.
Throughout your case, if the Court has previously ordered that no further continuances will be granted, the parties should be prepared to set and proceed to trial 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.
Absent good cause, time will be divided evenly. 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.
I am willing to conduct trials in-person and virtually.
If you are going to be calling a witness or appearing virtually, the responsibility for making arrangements with my team to know how to work the technology is on the parties. Given the caseloads in our court system, continuances resulting from non-working technology cannot be granted, and the party attempting to use the technology assumes the risk of the non-functioning technology.
Witnesses appearing virtually must be located in a quiet location with a good wifi connection to ensure that the testimony can be considered and an accurate record is made. 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 narrow the issues to be tried, and help the Court understand each side's position. In the Joint Pretrial Statement:
1. Please identify all issues upon which agreements have been reached, and also identify what issues need to be decided.
2. If there is a rule, statute or case law that will help me make my decision, cite it in the Joint Pretrial Statement.
3. Parties and counsel 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.
4. 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. If more than 20 pages of documents are to be admitted, all pages must be Bates numbered.
5. 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.
6. Exhibits can and should be presented "on the screen" via electronic exhibits and/or the ELMO, when practicable. 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 I am willing to conduct trials virtually in appropriate circumstances.
You must advise my division 72 hours in advance if any witness will be appearing virtually during a trial. Witnesses appearing virtually are at the risk of the party calling the witness. If the witness has technological difficulties, the trial will not be delayed or time expanded.
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.
Forms of Orders for hearings (such as a Temporary Restraining Order or Preliminary Injunction) should be emailed to my division (firstname.lastname@example.org) no later than 72 hours before a hearing (or 4 hours of filing the document requesting the order, whichever comes first).
Any order lodged within 72 hours before a hearing should be emailed to my division.
If are lodging any other proposed orders, please do so 72 hours before the hearing. Please email it, in MS Word format, if possible, to DRJ19@jbazmc.maricopa.gov. We can also receive .pdf formatted orders.
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.
If your trial is a virtual trial, please make sure that you have provided exhibits to the Court and to the other side. The Rules require everyone to have access to the exhibits you plan to use. Courtroom Etiquette 1. The Court expects lawyers and litigants to treat each other, opposing parties, court staff and everyone with respect and in a professional manner when dealing with each other and 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. Cell phones should be silenced in the courtroom. No taping of any sort is permitted within the courtroom unless permitted by the Arizona Supreme Court rules.
5. Appropriate attire is expected for all proceedings (including virtual ones).
6. If a hearing is virtual, please conduct it from a location that is quiet and free from disruptions, and where you have a good WI-FI / cell phone signal. Counsel should kindly instruct their witnesses to do likewise.
7. 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.
8. If your case involves an interpreter, please allow the interpreter to finish translating before speaking or responding so that an understandable record is obtained.
Other Courtroom Policies and Recommendations 1. Hearings are set times. The Court does not run a "calendar call."
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. Please read my minute entries. There are orders in them that I expect litigants to follow. I also expect the litigants to follow all applicable Rules of Procedure (the Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure).