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Bench Book

Judge/Commisioner T. Patrick Casey

QUESTIONNAIRE FOR JUDGE’S BENCHBOOK
Third District Court

1. Discovery

Q: What is your practice with respect to setting an initial case schedule? Modifying it once set?

A: Initially deadlines are determined pursuant to Rules 26 and 26.1, URCP. Rule 16 conferences are available if requested.

Q: Has your district adopted any local rules with respect to resolving discovery disputes?

A: Not at this time. 

Q: What is your practice regarding discovery disputes? How do you handle status and scheduling matters for discovery issues? 

A: Pursuant to 37. Typically issues raised in a Statement of Discovery issues are resolved upon a Notice to Submit, either telephonically or without hearing if the nature of the dispute does not appear to require argument.

Q: What is your approach to granting extraordinary discovery?

A: Generally allow it if it is proportional and the request is timely.

Q: What is your practice regarding sanctions for discovery abuses?

A: This varies depending upon the nature and extent of the abuse.

Q: Are you generally available to hear disputes that arise during depositions?

A: Yes, if I am not in court or away.

Q: What insights do you have for litigants with respect to discovery matters in general, especially in light of the November 1, 2011 amendments to the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure?

A: It is important to be aware of Rules 26 and 26.1 (as well as recently-amended Rule 37) and endeavor to strictly comply. The purpose of those rules is defeated if they are not adhered to, or become the subject of unnecessary litigation.

2. Motions

Q: Do you prefer that counsel provide copies of the cited authorities prior to a hearing? What about unpublished cases?

A: Copies of published cases are welcome if they are directly apposite. Unpublished cases are not generally binding precedent, but counsel may submit copies of unpublished cases if they may be instructive.

Q: Do you appreciate courtesy copies of briefs being delivered to your chambers prior to a motion hearing? If so, how far in advance do you want them?

A: Yes, if the matter is complicated or entails detailed information that require extensive reading. Generally two business days are sufficient, provided I am not out of my office during the immediately preceding period. Courtesy copies delivered the day of the hearing, or delivered to the Summit County courthouse where I sit two days per month, are still helpful if they allow for easier reference during a hearing.

Q: What is your policy on allowing overlength memoranda? Extensions of the briefing schedule?

A: Rarely allow them, although on rare occasions I will consider continuing a hearing to allow for additional briefing.

Q: Do you schedule motion hearings automatically upon receipt of notices to submit, or do you prefer or require that counsel call to schedule hearings?

A: Counsel are responsible for calling to schedule a hearing on a motion. The motion must be filed before a hearing may be scheduled.

Q: Under what circumstances do you decline to grant a request for oral argument?

A: Pursuant to Rule 101, generally oral argument is contemplated for all disputed motions. The lone exception would be discovery disputes, which are addressed pursuant to Rule 37 and may not warrant oral argument.

Q: Do you have any recommendations or preferences regarding written advocacy that you would like counsel to be aware of?

A: More is not generally better. Be as clear and concise as possible, and minimize extraneous and background.

Q: Do you have any particular guidelines or preferences that you expect counsel to follow at oral argument?

A: Be concise. Avoid repetition and unnecessary objections or argument over non-material issues. Be considerate of other parties and counsel who are waiting for their matters to be heard. 

Q: Do you have any guidelines or preferences that you expect counsel to follow regarding temporary restraining orders or preliminary injunctions?

A: Do not attempt to use Rule 65 to obtain an order that is not truly emergency in nature. The threshold for obtaining a TRO is extremely high. The Court can grant injunctive relief as a part of temporary orders heard in due course pursuant to Rule 101.

3. Final Pretrial Conference

Q: In your view, what is the purpose of the final pretrial conference?

A: Identification and narrowing of issues; suggestions for settlement of issues that are not heavily fact-intensive.

Q: What topics or issues should counsel come prepared to discuss at the final pretrial conference?

A: Anything pertaining to the status of issues in dispute is fair game for discussion.

Q: What steps do you take, if any, at a final pretrial conference to encourage settlement of the case?

A: This depends on the nature of the issues. If they are not heavily fact-intensive, I will generally suggest a possible resolution. However, typically the parties will have attempted to resolve the issues through mediation, which is generally a more effective dispute-resolution process than a pre-trial conference.

Q: Do you require clients to be present at final pretrial conferences?

A: This is preferred but parties may be excused for good reason, particularly if they reside out-of-state.

Q: Do you typically hear motions in limine and other trial-related motions at the final pretrial conference, or at another time?

A: These are heard by the assigned judge.

Q: Do you appreciate or require pre-trial briefs from counsel?

A: N/A

4. Jury Trials

N/A

5. Technology in the Courtroom 

Q: To what extent do you allow the use of technology in your courtroom?

A: This depends on the circumstances. Generally it is allowed if necessary to view material evidence (e.g. video recording).

Q: Do you find the use of any particular type of computer-assisted presentations effective and/or useful?

A: No.

Q: Do you find the use of any particular type of computer-assisted presentations unhelpful?

A: No.

6. Criminal Matters

N/A.

7. Special Issues for Domestic Cases

Q: Are there any special issues that arise in your courtroom in domestic cases of which you would like the bar to be aware?

A: Parties to domestic relations cases are generally experiencing a high level of stress and may exhibit uncharacteristically poor behavior and judgment. Anything that counsel can do to reduce the stresses of the court experience is encouraged. 
Avoid taking on your client’s emotional state. Also, an overly aggressive or belligerent approach is unproductive, at best, and will not produce a favorable impression in Court.

Q: What documents do you want filed before appearing on a motion for temporary orders?

A: All pertinent documents, including material affidavits and exhibits, and financial declarations with income verification should be filed with the Court pursuant to Rule 101. Other pertinent documents such as financial back-up documents, school records, etc. should be supplied to opposing counsel in advance and available at the hearing. Summaries of voluminous documents are encouraged.

Q: What documents do you want filed before appearing on a motion for a custody evaluator?

A: The required information is set forth in Rule 4-903, CJA.

Q: What are the special procedures for failing a Motion for an Order to Show Cause?

A: File motion and supporting affidavits, together with the proposed OSC. Be sure to cite the specific provision of an existing order sought to be enforced. The OSC process is for enforcing existing orders, not obtaining new relief. List the relief sought in the Motion, rather than incorporating by reference issues referred to in the supporting affidavit.

Q: Do you have any preferences for completing and filing financial declarations? Any practice pointers for counsel as to how you would like these completed or filed?

A: Be complete and accurate, and be sure to total expenses accurately. It is not helpful to submit a financial declaration and then proceed to make extensive corrections to the numbers during oral argument.

Q: Do you want any type of motion binder delivered? Is this helpful, or does e-filing render these obsolete?

A: A binder with courtesy copies of all pertinent papers is helpful in cases where the issues or underlying information are extensive or complicated. A single binder with both sides’ papers is especially helpful. An index is also helpful to facilitate reference during the hearing. Voluminous documentation such as bank or credit card statements, need not be submitted in a hearing binder, as the Court will rely on counsel to characterize that evidence; summaries of such information are appreciated.

Q: Do you appreciate courtesy copies of briefs being delivered to your chambers prior to a motion hearing? If so, how far in advance do you want them, and how do you want them assembled (folder, binders, with or without exhibit tabs, etc.)

A: See above.

Q: Is there a special way that you would like proposed orders to be filed?

A: Follow the proper e-filing procedures. Be sure all submitted orders are correctly formatted. Do not file orders in advance of hearing, with the exception of TRO’s and discovery orders.

Q: How should discovery deadlines be handled on petitions to modify, where a schedule is not automatically issued by the court?

A: Rules 26 and 26.1 apply to petitions to modify.

Q: Do you have a policy on child interviews with respect to custody?

A: The Commissioner will rarely conduct such interviews, as there are other means of having the child’s input presented to the Court (custody evaluations, GAL), and if an interview is necessary, it is generally in conjunction with final custody determinations and therefore more properly conducted by the trial judge

8. Courtroom Protocol

Q: Is lack of civility ever a problem in your courtroom? If so, what steps do you take to address it? 

A: This is very rarely a problem with counsel. In egregious circumstances, counsel will be cautioned.

Q: What are your opinions regarding courtroom dress?

A: I expect counsel to generally dress in a professional manner, but understand sometimes circumstances may lead to an attorney appearing in more casual attire. Parties and witnesses should be in clean, presentable attire and should not be dressed in any provocative fashion.

Q: Do you allow children in your courtroom?

A: Not the minor children of the parties. Infants and other young children should not be brought to court.

Q: What is your courtroom practice with respect to attorney cell phones? Clients? Those in the gallery?

A: They need to be turned off.

Q: What, if anything, do you do to enforce promptness in your courtroom?

A: Generally, I allow for some lateness, within limits. Attorneys who are habitually late should know that that does not go un-noticed by the Court.

9. Comments from Case Managers and Judicial Assistants

Q: The name and phone number of my case manager(s) is:

A: Lyn MacLeod. (801) 238-7126.

Q: My case manager wants you to please do these things:

A: See below.

Q: The name and phone number of my judicial assistant(s) is:

A: Marinda Davies (801) 238-7131.
Carmella Campbell (801) 238-7133.
Team line (801) 238-7021.

Q: My judicial assistant wants you to please do these things:

A:
1. Please do not use them as intermediaries or involve them in disputes between counsel.
2. Whenever possible, discuss issues of availability prior to calling to schedule or re-schedule hearings.
3. Do not argue with the Judicial Assistants, and treat them with the same courtesy as you would expect to be treated. They are merely doing what they have been instructed, not trying to make your life difficult (a/k/a Do not shoot the messenger). If you have a question about something, ask them to check with me.
4. Please respond promptly (within reason, of course) to telephone calls and e-mails.
5. When appearing in Court, please state your name clearly for the record. If the JA may not be familiar with you, it is helpful to state your Bar number.

10. Other items

Q: Do you have a judicial biography that you would like hyperlinked to your bench book? If so, please advise us of the link to this information or provide us with a copy of the same so we may link it to your bench book. 

A: No.

Q: Do you have any stock jury instructions, verdict forms, or other information you would like hyperlinked to your bench book? If so please advise us to the link to this information or provide us with copies of the same so we may link it to your bench book.

A: No.

Biographies of 3rd District Judges