Civil Practice and Trial Procedure
The Court sets a date certain for trial following the parties' conclusion of ADR efforts or resolution of all dispositive motions, whichever is later, after consultation with counsel. Attorneys must bring their schedules to the conference to avoid conflicts.
Because the court consults with the attorneys before setting a trial date, adjournments are rarely granted.
THE JUDGE IS AVAILABLE FOR STATUS CONFERENCES, EITHER TELEPHONICALLY OR PERSONALLY, BY ARRANGEMENT WITH THE CASE MANAGER, TAMMY HALLWOOD. DO NOT WAIT UNTIL AN ISSUE BECOMES AN EMERGENCY BEFORE SEEKING THE COURT'S ASSISTANCE.
The Final Pretrial Order must be submitted electronically through CM/ECF on or before the date set by the scheduling order.
Counsel is directed to consult and comply with Local Rule 16.2 governing the Joint Final Pretrial Order.
The proposed Final Pretrial Order shall strictly comply with the requirements of Local Rule 16.2 .
*Pursuant to Local Rule 16.2(b)(9), any objection based on foundation or authenticity will be deemed waived if not raised before trial.
The following persons shall personally attend the final pretrial conference:
Representatives must possess full authority to engage in settlement discussions and to agree upon a full and final settlement. "Personal attendance" by each party is not satisfied by (1) trial counsel professing to have full authority on behalf of the client or (2) a party being available by telephone.
The parties must meet and confer prior to trial to discuss jury instructions. By the deadline established in the Scheduling Order, the parties must submit directly to Judge Davis's chambers a single set of proposed, stipulated jury instructions. Counsel are responsible for submitting all instructions related to their specific claims or defenses, and special instructions relating to evidence.
All such instructions are to be submitted in typewritten form (double spaced) and on computer disk compatible with either Microsoft Word or WordPerfect version 12.0; each instruction shall contain references to authority (e.g., "Devitt and Blackmar, Section 11.08"), and each instruction shall be on a separate page. In addition, each party must submit separately to Judge Davis's chambers all additional proposed instruction (in the same form) to which any other party objects. The parties must make a concerted, good faith effort to narrow the areas of dispute and to discuss each instruction with a view to reaching agreement as to an acceptable form. Disputes between the government and defense counsel regarding proposed jury instructions are initially settled at a hearing on the record.
The court has its own standard introductory and concluding instructions, and counsel are directed to concentrate on elements of the offense, the defense(s), etc. The jury is charged before final argument.
Voir dire will be conducted by the court. Counsel should submit proposed voir dire questions in writing at least three days in advance and will be permitted to submit additional questions to be asked by the court, as provided by Fed. R. Civ. P. 47(a).
Jurors will be permitted to take notes during trial. The Court specifically instructs the jury in advance on this issue. Jurors who choose to take notes will be instructed that such notes are not themselves evidence but are merely aids to the jurors’ memory of the evidence presented at trial. The Court will consider, on a case by case basis, whether or not jurors will be permitted to question witnesses, either directly or through submission of questions to be asked by the Court.
Although counsel is expected to raise foreseeable evidentiary issues by motions in limine before trial, if evidentiary problems arise during trial, counsel should raise them before or after the trial day, or during the break, to avoid jury down time while such problems are solved.
In accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(c) and pursuant to Rule 73(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the parties may consent to have a Magistrate Judge conduct all proceedings in their case, including a bench or jury trial, and order the entry of final judgment.
Magistrate Judges do not conduct trials in felony cases. Accordingly, if the parties consent to the exercise of jurisdiction by the Magistrate Judge, major criminal cases will not interfere with the scheduling of a civil action. Therefore, consenting to have a Magistrate Judge handle a case may mean that the case will be resolved sooner, or that the Magistrate Judge will be able to give the parties a "date certain" for trial. Furthermore, depending on which Magistrate Judge is assigned to the case, proceedings could be held in the Detroit or Ann Arbor courthouse, as opposed to in the Flint courthouse.