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Pre-Trial Conference - MN Bench Book - Trial Procedures & Practices for Judges
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Pre-Trial Conference

From MN Bench Book - Trial Procedures & Practices for Judges

PRE-TRIAL CONFERENCE

COMPLETION OF ADR

If the parties have not participated in some form of ADR by the time of the pre-trial conference the case should be stricken from the trial calendar and not rescheduled for trial until ADR has been completed. ADR is required under the Rules unless waived by the Court. It is suggested that ADR be waived only in cases with small amounts in controversy. The requirement for ADR should be noted in the Court’s scheduling order. Pre-trial conferences are a good opportunity to attempt to get cases settled. At the pre-trial the Judge should inform the parties of what to expect in terms of time and complexity of proof problems at trial. Sometimes a party will not realize the time and costs associated with actually trying a case. Also at the pre-trial conference it is recommended to get as many fact and law issues stipulated to as possible.

EXHIBITS

The process of pre-marking exhibits should be discussed and initiated at the pre-trial. Are there going be voluminous exhibits? Are there going to be unique exhibits such as oversized documents or non-documentary evidence? WITNESSES The pre-trial is an opportunity to identify witnesses and when they will testify. Are there out-of-state witness traveling to testify? Will any witnesses be presented by deposition or videotape? Make sure each the party is informed that it is each parties responsibility to address all of these types of issues at trial and that generally continuances will not be granted based on witness unavailability or similar issues at the last minute.

TRIAL ORDER

See the section herein on Trial. This should be discussed and established during the pre-trial.

EVIDENTIARY ISSUES Discuss and identify evidentiary issues. Attempt to get the parties to stipulate to foundation as much as possible. Identify which evidentiary issues should be resolved prior to trial or outside the presence of the jury