Protocol and Practice of Persons Appearing in the Court of Judge Christopher Coury


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Specific Comments or Advice for Litigants

Specific Requirements or Preferences Effective June 27, 2022, the email address for my division is DRJ19@jbazmc.maricopa.gov.  
 
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 Issues

Motion 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 discreet 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 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 in the motion or response.  
 
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.  
 
Any discovery or non-disclosure objection that is not asserted by the Trial Setting Conference deadline shall be deemed waived (except for disclosures occurring for the first time after the Trial Setting Conference deadline).  
 
 
Discovery or Disclosure Disputes and/or Sanctions Family Court proceedings are civil proceedings. This division uses Rule 26(d), Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure to resolve discovery disputes. 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 disputed as set forth in Rule 26(d)(2), Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure and email it to my division at DRJ19@jbazmc.maricopa.gov. 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.  
 
RESOLUTION MANAGEMENT CONFERENCES (Rule 76) (Will occur virtually)  
 
1. Rule 76, Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure governs Resolution Management Conferences. YOU MUST MEET AND CONFER WITH THE OTHER SIDE NO LESS THAN 5 DAYS BEFORE THESE CONFERENCES UNLESS CONTACT WITH THE OTHER SIDE IS PROHIBITED BY A COURT ORDER. You must file a Resolution Statement as directed by Rule 97.  
 
2. I will generally NOT schedule a trial at the Resolution Management Conference. Instead, I will only schedule a trial after all discovery is complete and all pretrial matters have been completed. This will speed up the time that parties can anticipate receiving a trial date.  
 
3. At the Resolution Management Conference, the parties and attorneys should be prepared to update the Court about the following matters:  
 
a. What agreements have been reached. The Court will generally have the parties sworn in and enter agreements on the record. HAVING AGREEMENTS REDUCED TO WRITING GREATLY FACILITATES THIS PROCESS.  
 
b. What issues still need to be resolved.  
 
c. What alternative dispute resolution procedures the parties would like to assist them (mediation, open negotiation, etc.)  
 
d. What third party assistance, if any, may be helpful (i.e. court appointed advisor, etc.)  
 
e. How much time the parties anticipate they will need to complete discovery, alternative dispute resolution, and to obtain assistance of a third party.  
 
Following the Resolution Management Conference, cases will be placed on the Dismissal Calendar. Cases not timely set for trial will be dismissed pursuant to Rule 46(b)(2). Parties will have until the Dismissal Calendar deadline to file (i) papers resolving the case, (ii) a Motion to Set for Trial, or (iii) a request to extend the Dismissal Calendar deadline.  
 
 
TRIAL SCHEDULING CONFERENCE (Rule 76.1) (Virtual hearing)  
 
When the Court receives a Motion to Set Trial, the Court generally will schedule a Trial Scheduling Conference. The following applies to the Trial Scheduling Conferences:  
 
1. Five (5) days before the Trial Scheduling Conference, the parties must file the Scheduling Statement required by Rule 76.1(e). The Scheduling Statement is very important - it helps the Court understand what the scope of trial is going to be, and to identify dates when your trial can be heard before the Trial Scheduling Conference.  
 
2. Parties can request trials to be scheduled virtually at the Trial Setting Conferences. I will attempt to honor these requests in appropriate circumstances.  
 
3. Parties can request this judicial officer to conduct a settlement conference. However, this judicial officer will only conduct settlement conferences if all parties consent.  
 
Any discovery or non-disclosure objection that is not asserted by the Trial Scheduling Conference shall be deemed waived (except for disclosures occurring for the first time after this deadline). Trials only will be set for cases that are ready for trial. You should not expect to use information that has not been disclosed at the time trial is set.  
 
 
NOTE: 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 Protocol

Trial Schedule Trial is held from 9:00 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.  
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.  
 
Affidavits of Financial Information are required by the Rules and must be filed.  
 
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 (i.e. legal decision-making, parenting time, and child support), and also identify what issues need to be decided (i.e. property division, etc.). Please identify the date of the agreement and, if the agreement has been filed, the filing date. You are also welcome to attach all agreements to facilitate the completion of final orders.  
 
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. There are forms online to assist you prepare your joint pretrial statement:  
 
- Legal Decision-Making and Parenting Time Factors:  
 
- Spousal Maintenance Factors:  
 
- Holiday & Summer Parenting Time Schedule:  
 
- Regular Parenting Time Schedule (5-2-2-5 Schedule):  
 
- Regular Parenting Time Schedule (2-2-3 Schedule):  
 
- Regular Parenting Time Schedule (Week on / Week Off Schedule):  
 
 
WARNING: Like other judicial officers, you may be fined $50 per day for every day that your Joint Pretrial Statement is late.  
 
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.
Trial Practice and Procedure I am willing to conduct trials virtually in appropriate circumstances.  
 
You must advise my division two (2) business days 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.  
 
If you want to lodge a proposed document (such as a Decree or parenting time plan, for example), please do so 2 business days before the hearing. Please email it, in MS Word format or .pdf format, to DRJ19@jbazmc.maricopa.gov.  
 
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 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.  
 
Appropriate attire is expected for all proceedings (including virtual ones).  
 
If the 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. Please instruct your witnesses to do likewise.  
 
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 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.  
 
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 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 all applicable Rules of Procedure (the Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure and, if not inconsistent, the Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure).