The Court will conduct a Final Pretrial Conference (“FPTC”) prior to the first day of trial in civil cases. Trial counsel for all represented parties, and all parties proceeding pro se, must appear at the FPTC and have settlement authority. During the FPTC, the Court will set a trial schedule, discuss voir dire, rule on motions in limine, and resolve disputes over exhibits and jury instructions to the extent possible.
The parties are required to confer and finalize a concise Joint Final Pretrial Order (“JFPTO”) that is approved and signed by all parties or their counsel. Unless directed otherwise by the Court, the original and one copy of the JFPTO must be delivered to the magistrate judge’s chambers no later than five days before the FPTC. The Court will not extend the date for submission of the JFPTO. The Court has a standing Order Regarding Joint Final Pretrial Order and Final Pretrial Conference that provides in detail the information required in the JFPTO. In all other respects, E.D. Mich. LR 16.2 applies.
Motions in limine are generally due three to four weeks before trial, and responses are due one week after that. Motions in limine will be decided in advance of the first day of trial whenever possible.
Trials are scheduled for dates certain. The Court will provide a written schedule of the time and days set aside for trial on the first day. Counsel should plan the availability of their witnesses according to the schedule. To avoid interruptions, counsel should alert the Court of matters that need addressing outside of the presence of the jury before or after the trial day, or over lunch breaks.
Trial briefs and witness lists must be filed three days before the commencement of trial in all criminal cases.
The parties must file trial briefs and proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law no later than three days before a bench trial is scheduled to begin. Proposed findings and conclusions may be supplemented or amended at the conclusion of trial. In addition to filing the proposed findings and conclusions, parties must deliver to the magistrate judge’s chambers electronic versions of those documents that are compatible with Microsoft Word or WordPerfect. Electronic versions may be submitted by e-mail, compact disk, or a USB portable drive.