Protocol and Practice of Persons Appearing in the Court of Judge Brad Astrowsky
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Specific Comments or Advice for LitigantsSpecific Requirements or Preferences The Court understands that when a party doesn't have an attorney that the entire Court process can seem overwhelming and confusing. Therefore, the Court will do its best to explain the Court process and answer any questions you may have. The Court will also give you time to ask your questions. Please note, however, the Court cannot give legal advice.
Court rules and the law apply equally to parties represented by attorneys and parties who represent themselves. Therefore, it is best for parties to familiarize themselves with the Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure.
The Court has information on its website to assist you. In addition, people are encouraged to visit the Law Library Resource Center located on the first floor of the East Court Building where parties may obtain information and assistance with the Court process. There are COVID-related restrictions. For more information use this link: https://superiorcourt.maricopa.gov/llrc/.
Parties are able to call (602-372-2048) or e-mail this Division with questions concerning the status of their case or Court orders. However, please note that Court staff are not permitted to provide legal advice.
Also note that we understand and appreciate that your case involves personal issues that often are emotionally difficult. Nevertheless, we still expect you to be courteous to Court staff. Court staff are an extension of the Court, so please treat them in the same way that you would treat the Judge in the courtroom.
In preparation of a jury trial and during a jury trial, the Court may directly communicate via e-mail with the attorneys. However, please do not initiate a direct e-mail to the Court unless invited to do same by the Court or to reply to a communication from the Court. In general, all communications should go through Court staff. Please be sure to endorse all parties in any communication with the Court.
When you e-file something it does not immediately get directed to the Court. There may be up to a 48-hour delay. Therefore, if you want the Court to address your filing sooner, kindly e-mail a copy of your filing to the Court's judicial assistant.
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.
Please note that not all requests for oral argument will be granted. Therefore, do not save any key points for an anticipated oral argument; include everything in your motion.
I will have read everything prior to any oral argument on a motion. Therefore, oral arguments are for parties to focus on clarifying something from your motion and for answering the Court's questions. Please expect oral arguments to be conducted in a similar manner in which appellate oral arguments are done, i.e. the Court will likely interject with questions during your presentation- and will likely begin the oral argument with a question.
I prefer each motion, including dispositive motions, to deal with one discrete subject. Cross-motions are strongly discouraged. Please 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.
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 should be the absolute last method used to resolve a dispute. 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 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 video conference (via Court Connect) with the judge. These generally will be held within 1 to 3 business days. If the issue is truly too complicated to resolve via this conference, 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 EXHIBITS: The Court prefers and strongly encourages the parties to electronically send their exhibits to the Clerk of the Court at firstname.lastname@example.org. This will save the parties from having to provide the Court with a separate bench copy of the exhibits.
Trial Practice and ProtocolTrial Schedule Trials are 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. I will gladly provide a time-check upon request; otherwise, the Court will only provide a notice to the parties when they are down to one hour remaining. 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 a Joint Pretrial Statement 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 with 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.
Please exercise your peremptory strikes in an expeditious manner.
I will not encourage or force the parties to permit the entire seated jury to participate in deliberations, i.e. I will select by lot and excuse the alternate juror(s). If the parties stipulate to more than eight jurors to participate in deliberation, I will always accept such a stipulation.
If issues develop during trial that require the Court's attention, please advise the Court of same as soon as possible. The Court will then schedule the parties to meet with the Court prior to the start of trial so we do not unnecessarily keep the jurors waiting.
The Court prefers to receive proposed jury instructions and verdict forms in Word format. These may be directly e-mailed to the Court. In this way, the Court is more easily and quickly able to make modifications prior to printing same for the jurors. 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.
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 the Court's Judicial Assistant.
Please make sure that you set-up and test any technology you wish to use during trial. Delays may be applied to your remaining time.
Objections to questions should simply include the legal basis for the objection, e.g. "Objection, foundation." The Court will then, if necessary, ask for further clarification or argument. Kindly avoid speaking objections. Also, please do not respond to an objection before the Court rules on same or requests a response.
Courtroom Etiquette The Court will treat everyone that comes into the courtroom with dignity and respect. The Court expects the same from everyone who enters the courtroom.
Therefore, please do not interrupt the other side (except for objections) when the other side is speaking. The Court will give you an opportunity to respond, if required, and provide the Court with your perspective. Also, please direct your comments to the Court. Do not respond directly to the other party or counsel - unless specifically directed to do so by the Court.
In addition, gratuitous non-verbal communication is extremely disruptive, not appreciated by the Court, and may negatively impact your success before a jury.
Cell phones should be silenced in the courtroom.
Appropriate attire is expected.
Litigants and attorneys may have covered beverages 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. 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 Each Court hearing is video and audio recorded by the Court. Parties, guests, witnesses, or other members of the public are prohibited from recording the Court hearings or from taking pictures in the courtroom - or courthouse. Exceptions are made, generally for the media, with advance notice and permission of the Court, in compliance with the Supreme Court Rules.
Anyone who records or photographs court hearings without prior approval of the Court may be subject to involvement with Court security and contempt proceedings.
Hearings are time-certain, i.e. expect them to begin at the time noticed by the Court. 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.
Please read all 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.