Protocol and Practice of Persons Appearing in the Court of Commissioner Jane McLaughlin

Specific Comments or Advice for Litigants

Specific Requirements or Preferences

All attorneys are expected to adhere diligently to the Ethical Rules, particularly those involving candor to the court and assertion of meritorious claims and contentions.  

Pre-Trial Practice and Management Issues

Motion Practice

THIS IS NOT AN EFILING DIVISION. HARD COPIES OF ALL PLEADINGS MUST BE DELIVERED TO THE DIVISION MAILBOX AT THE COURTHOUSE OR MAILED TO THE DIVISION. In addition, Probate Rule 15 requires submittal of proposed orders to the court no less than 5 days prior to a hearing, and this must also be done by hard copy to the division.  
Motions to continue or to extend time that lack the position of the other party (or efforts made to obtain it) in accordance with Local Rule 2.14 will be lodged for response or denied without prejudice if insufficient time for response remains prior to the hearing or deadline.  
Time limitations for all evidentiary hearings and oral arguments will be strictly enforced based on the time allotted for the hearing. Parties wishing to move for additional time must do so in writing and no less than 10 business days in advance of the scheduled hearing. Any such motion that fails to contain the position of the opposing party will be lodged for ruling or denied without prejudice if insufficient time for response remains prior to the hearing. If granted, a continuance of the evidentiary hearing may be required in order for additional time to be allotted.  

Discovery or Disclosure Disputes and/or Sanctions

All parties are expected to know and comply with the Rules of Probate Procedure and the Rules of Civil Procedure. In particular, attention is required to Rule 11 of the Rules of Civil Procedure, involving representations to the court and the duty of good-faith consultation prior to the filing of any motion for sanctions.

Other Pre-trial Practice Guidelines or Comments

Litigants are encouraged to file petitions verified by a witness with personal knowledge of the facts, which generally enables the court to conduct hearings more efficiently for all parties.  

Trial Practice and Protocol

Trial Schedule

Evidentiary hearings are generally held on Thursdays. Half-day hearings will run from 9am to 12pm in the morning, and from 1:30pm to 4:30pm in the afternoon. Full-day hearings will utilize both of those time blocks on the same Thursday.  
Evidentiary hearings or trials requiring more than one day to complete will be referred to Judge Polk for hearing or assignment once all pretrial matters are completed in this division.  

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

The Court's standard form of order for Evidentiary Hearings of longer than 2 hours is as follows:  
1. Time Allotted. Each party presumptively will be allowed half of the available time to present all direct, cross and redirect examination and any argument. For each hour of trial time, this Court generally allocates 25 minutes to each party. The parties are expected to complete the trial in the allotted time. If a party believes that more trial time is needed, that party must file a motion at least thirty (30) days before the trial setting forth good cause to enlarge the trial time. Failure to timely file such a motion will be deemed a waiver of any argument that more trial time is needed.  
2. Pretrial Statements. The parties shall file and provide this Division with a copy of a Joint Pretrial Statement or Separate Pretrial Statements no later than FIVE (5) business days before trial.  
The Pretrial Statement shall include:  
a. A description of each disputed issue the court must decide, and a statement of each party’s position on that issue. Absent good cause shown, failure to list an issue in the Pretrial Statement will be deemed a waiver of that issue.  
b. A list of witnesses to be called at the hearing. Absent good cause shown, failure to list a witness will result in that witness being excluded.  
c. A list of exhibits to be used at the hearing. Absent good cause shown, failure to list an exhibit will result in that exhibit being excluded.  
d. A list of objections to the other party’s exhibits. Any objection not listed in the Pretrial Statement will be deemed waived.  
3. Exhibits. No less than FIVE (5) business days prior to hearing, the parties and, if represented, counsel shall exchange and provide TO THE CLERK OF THIS DIVISION any exhibits they shall seek to admit into evidence. All exhibits must be clearly identified, SEPARATED BY A COLORED sheet AND hand delivered to this Division NO LATER THAN FIVE (5) BUSINESS DAYS prior to the hearing. All exhibits shall be hand-delivered directly to court staff at this Division’s suite. No hearing exhibits shall be presented for marking that have not been previously exchanged. No duplicate exhibits shall be presented for marking.  
Exhibits not provided to the Division five (5) business days prior to the hearing may not be marked by the Clerk of Court. Additional time required to mark exhibits during the proceeding shall be deducted from the time allotted to the party requesting same.  
NOTE: We do NOT hold spots for supplemental exhibits.  
This Division DOES require the parties to provide a bench copy on the date of hearing.  
If US mail is used to provide the exhibits, enough time should be taken to ensure that the Court and the opposing party receive the exhibits no later than FIVE (5) business days before trial.  
4. Settlement. Counsel and the parties are reminded of their obligation to give prompt notice to the Court of any settlement. If the parties reach a full settlement before trial, the Court will vacate the trial only if (1) it receives a Notice of Settlement, or (2) the parties inform the Court of the settlement in an on-the-record telephonic conference. Oral notification to court staff or voicemail messages left with the Court are insufficient. If the parties desire to place agreements on the record, they must contact this Division promptly to schedule a telephonic conference.  
5. Continuances. Motions to continue the trial filed more than thirty (30) days before trial will not be granted absent a showing of good cause. Motions to continue the trial filed less than thirty (30) days before trial will not be granted absent a showing of extraordinary circumstances.  
6. Disclosure and Discovery. All parties shall complete all disclosure, including an exchange of all relevant information, documents and exhibits at least thirty (30) days prior to trial.  
7. Trial Record. All court proceedings are recorded by audio and video method and not by a court reporter. Pursuant to Local Rule 2.22, if a party desires a court reporter for any proceeding in which a court reporter is not mandated by Arizona Supreme Court Rule 30, the party must submit a written request to the assigned judicial officer at least ten (10) judicial days in advance of the hearing, and must pay the authorized fee to the Clerk of the Court at least two (2) judicial days before the proceeding. The fee is $140 for a half-day and $280 for each full day of a hearing.  
To request conclusions of fact and law, you must file a written request with the Court before commencement of the trial or the evidentiary hearing. If you make such a written request before the trial or evidentiary hearing, the Court may make conclusions of fact and law as part of the final decision.