Born 1961 in Hartford, CT
Judge, U. S. District Court, District of Massachusetts
Nominated by Barack H. Obama on December 19, 2013, to a seat vacated by Joseph L. Tauro;
Confirmed by the Senate on June 10, 2014.
Magistrate Judge, U. S. District Court, District of Massachusetts, 2005-2014
First appointed to the Court April 11, 2005.
Yale College, B.A., 1983
Columbia Law School, J.D., 1991
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Courtroom Opportunites for Inexperienced Lawyers
- LTS Q1: Do you have any specific scheduling order or any particular topics that counsel must address in the joint statement in addition to/or in lieu of the topics required to be addressed under Local Rule 16.1(D) for the initial scheduling conference?
- LTS A1: Yes, see attached sample order (Q2). In general, I require the parties to submit a joint statement in accordance with the Rule.
- LTS Q2: If you have a specific scheduling order, please attach your order.
- LTS A2: Civil Pre-Trial Scheduling Order
- LTS Q3: Do you have any additional requirement(s) as to the attorneys' obligation that they confer with their client(s) about case budget and ADR pursuant to Local Rule 16.1(D)(3)?
- LTS A3: No.
- LTS Q4: What, if any, inquiries do you make about settlement prospects and/or interest in mediation at the initial scheduling conference?
- LTS A4: I generally ask about settlement and possible mediation, and I encourage the parties to notify me if/when they believe court mediation efforts might be useful.
- LTS Q5: What, if any inquiries do you make about the liklihood of trial at the initial scheduling conference?
- LTS A5: I generally ask about the likelihood of dispositive motions and the reasons therefore, and the likelihood of trial. I consider the parties' responses on these issues in setting scheduling deadlines.
- LTS Q6: What schedule do you set at the initial scheduling conference?
- LTS A6: Deadlines for Rule 26(a)(1) disclosures, amendment to the pleadings, written discovery, depositions, expert discovery, dispositive motions, a status conference, and an initial pretrial conference. See form scheduling order attached (Q2).
- LTS Q7: After the initial scheduling conference, do you hold status conferences?
- LTS A7: Yes
- LTS Q8: If so, when do you hold status conferences?
- LTS A8: After the close of fact discovery, before the filing of dispositive motions.
- LTS Q9: If so, what issues do you address at status conferences?
- LTS A9: Any outstanding discovery issues, settlement prospects, the need for expert discovery, dispositive motion schedule, and likelihood of trial.
- LTS Q10: Other than the requirements under Local Rule 16.1(D) for addressing certain discovery topics in the parties' joint statement, what, if any, discovery issues do you like counsel to be prepared to address at the initial scheduling conference?
- LTS A10: Any issues specifically presented by the circumstances of the case, including whether phased discovery might be appropriate.
- LTS Q11: What, if any, issues related to electronically stored information should counsel be prepared to address at the initial scheduling conference?
- LTS A11: Any issues specifically presented by the circumstances of the case.
- LTS Q12: If the parties intend to file a proposed protective order, do you require any particular format and/or a specific time for doing so?
- LTS A12: No particular format. I encourage counsel to confer and agree to such orders as appropriate, and to submit them as promptly as possible.
- LTS Q13: Under what circumstances would you consider a bifurcation of discovery ?
- LTS A13: I do not have any specific policies for this. I would consider it if the specific circumstances of the case warranted it, after discussion of the issue with counsel.
- LTS Q14: Given the new requirement under Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1) regarding the proportionality of the scope of discovery, what, if any inquiry do you make about this issue at the initial scheduling conference?
- LTS A14: I generally discuss with counsel the anticipated scope of discovery, any disputes they foresee, and ways in which it might be appropriate to tailor the process to the circumstances presented by the case.
- LTS Q15: Other than the requirement that the parties confer in good faith to narrow the issues before filing any discovery motion under Local Rule 37.1(A), what, if any, additional requirements do you make of counsel before considering discovery motions?
- LTS A15: I have no additional requirements, but I do encourage counsel to request a status conference with the court if they believe it might eliminate a dispute or expedite its resolution.
- LTS Q16: Typically, do you resolve discovery motions or do you refer them to the magistrate judge?
- LTS A16: I typically resolve them.
- LTS Q17: Do you typically hold a hearing on discovery?
- LTS A17: It depends on the facts of the case and the nature of the dispute.
- LTS Q18: Please describe your general practice regarding the resolution of discovery motions.
- LTS A18: If I have referred a case to a magistrate judge for all pretrial matters, they handle discovery motions. Otherwise, I review the pleadings, determine whether a hearing would be helpful, and resolve the motion as promptly as possible.
- LTS Q19: Under what circumstances will you consider emergency motions regarding discovery matters?
- LTS A19: As a general matter, I discourage such motions by urging counsel to communicate with one another and to bring disputes to my attention as soon as possible for resolution in a manner that will not disrupt the existing scheduling deadlines. However, if extraordinary circumstances justify an emergency motion, I will consider it.
- LTS Q20: Do you have any particular practices or requirements about expert disclosures?
- LTS A20: None beyond requiring compliance with Rule 26(a)(2) and Local Rule 26.4.
- LTS Q21: What, if any, expert discovery deadlines do you set at the initial scheduling conference? When do you typically set a schedule for the filing of Daubert motions?
- LTS A21: My scheduling order contains dates for expert disclosures, rebuttal reports, and depositions. I set deadlines for Daubert motions, if necessary, at the initial pretrial conference.
- LTS Q22: If the case involves a pro se litigant, do you typically have any different practices in regard to scheduling conferences, status conferences or discovery matters?
- LTS A22: If the pro se litigant is incarcerated, I often arrange for him or her to attend conferences by video, rather than in person. Also, when necessary for such litigants, I make arrangements to aid in their efforts to conduct reasonable discovery. Upon motion, I will consider relieving the parties of the obligation to confer before filing motions when pro se parties are involved in a case. Otherwise, I expect pro se parties to attempt to comply with the relevant rules and procedures.
- LTS Q23: Other than the presumptive pages limits for memoranda under Rule 7.1(b), do you have any other requirements or preferences about the filing of dispositive motions?
- LTS A23: My requirements for dispositive motions are set forth in a standing order, attached at the end of this survey (Q78).
- LTS Q24: In connection with dispositive motions, do you require the filing of any courtesy copies of exhibits, depositions and/or other materials in addition to the electronic versions that are filed on ECF?
- LTS A24: Yes, See standing order (Q78).
- LTS Q25: Do you typically allow reply briefs and/or surreply briefs?
- LTS A25: Yes, See standing order (Q78).
- LTS Q26: If you allow reply and/or surreply briefs, do you impose a page limit?
- LTS A26: Yes, 5 pages (see standing order, Q78).
- LTS Q27: Do you typically hold a hearing on motions to dismiss?
- LTS A27: Ordinarily yes, if the motion presents complicated questions, or if I am considering dismissing a case in its entirety.
- LTS Q28: Do you typically hold a hearing on summary judgment motions?
- LTS A28: Yes.
- LTS Q29: If you typically hold hearings on dispositive motions, what, if any, time limits do you impose on counsel for their arguments?
- LTS A29: I have no general rule imposing time limits.
- LTS Q30: Under what, if any, circumstances, would you allow the filing of post-argument briefs?
- LTS A30: If I explicitly request further briefing on something during or after argument, or if counsel requests permission to make a supplemental filing and I believe it would be helpful.
- LTS Q31: Do you have any standing order and/or any particular practice regarding the management of patent cases? If so, please describe them.
- LTS A31: I have no order or practice distinct from the procedures. I follow in general civil cases and the local patent rules.
- LTS Q32: If applicable, please upload your standing order regarding the management of patent cases.
- LTS A32: Respondent skipped this question.
- LTS Q33: Do you have particular practice about Markman hearings? If so, please describe them including but not limited to whether you allow tutorial(s).
- LTS A33: I have no particular practice and would tailor such proceedings to the specific circumstances of the case.
- LTS Q34: Do you handle matters regarding discovery in criminal cases?
- LTS A34: No.
- LTS Q35: Do you have any particular practices as to scheduling in criminal cases? If so, please describe them.
- LTS A35: I generally enter a pretrial scheduling order at the initial status conference after the case is returned to me by the magistrate judge. A copy of my general criminal scheduling order is attached (Q79).
- LTS Q36: If a defendant files a motion for release and/or modification of conditions of release after the case has been referred back to the district judge, is it your typical practice to resolve the motion or refer it back to the magistrate judge?
- LTS A36: It depends on the circumstances presented.
- LTS Q37: Do you typically hold a hearing on motions for review of a detention order?
- LTS A37: Yes.
- LTS Q38: Do you have any particular practices regarding the filing of suppression motions or hearings on suppression motions?
- LTS A38: I have no specific practices, besides setting the date for hearings on such motions in my general criminal pretrial order.
- LTS Q39: Do you require the filing of a trial brief?
- LTS A39: Yes, in both civil and criminal cases. A factual summary, a list of witnesses and exhibits, an estimate of how long the party's case will last, and any outstanding motions in limine or anticipated legal issues that may arise during trial. See attached order (Q80).
- LTS Q40: If you do not require the filing of a trial brief, under what circumstances do you think it would be helpful to the Court?
- LTS A40: In a civil case that is complex in some way, trial briefs might be helpful (and I might solicit them).
- LTS Q41: Do you typically hold an initial pretrial conference in criminal cases? If so, what issues do you want counsel to be able to address at each conference in addition to those addressed under Local Rule 117.1(a)?
- LTS A41: Yes. Counsel should expect to address the topics listed in the Local Rule, as well as any other specific issues or disputes they believe may be raised by the circumstances of the case and require the Court's attention.
- LTS Q42: Do you typically hold an initial pretrial conference in civil cases?
- LTS A42: Yes, The expected length of trial, the need for Daubert or other pretrial motions and/or hearings, and possible trial dates.
- LTS Q43: When do you set a deadline for the filing of proposed voir dire, proposed jury instructions and/or special verdict form, witness and exhibits lists, motions in limine? Typically, how far in advance of trial are these deadlines?
- LTS A43: These deadlines are set in an order setting the case for trial, which I typically issue following the initial pretrial conference. See attached order (Q80).
- LTS Q44: Do you require that proposed voir dire, verdict forms and/or jury instructions be filed in any particular form (i.e., courtesy electronic copy to your deputy clerk in Word or WordPerfect format, etc.)?
- LTS A44: I have no specific requirements.
- LTS Q45: Do you set a page limit for motions in limine? If so, what is it?
- LTS A45: Yes, 20 pages, but brevity is a virtue in such motions.
- LTS Q46: Do you typically hear motions in limine at the final pretrial conference?
- LTS A46: It depends on how many motions are filed, when they are filed, and how complex the issues raised are.
- LTS Q47: Do you typically resolve motions in limine at the final pretrial conference?
- LTS A47: It depends on how many motions are filed, when they are filed, and how complex the issues raised are.
- LTS Q48: Do you typically hear and/or resolve Daubert motions at the final pretrial conference?
- LTS A48: Earlier in the case
- LTS Q49: Do you require the parties to provide a courtesy copy of trial exhibits to the Court before trial?
- LTS A49: No.
- LTS Q50: If courtesy copies of trial exhibits are required, when do you require them?
- LTS A50: Respondent skipped this question.
- LTS Q51: If courtesy copies of trial exhibits are required, what particular form is required?
- LTS A51: Respondent skipped this question
- LTS Q52: Do you require trial exhibits to be pre-marked? If so, please describe your practice?
- LTS A52: Yes, I have no specific practice beyond expecting the parties to premark exhibits in such a way that will facilitate efficient admission of, exclusion of, and/or reference to documents and other items in the course of a jury trial.
- LTS Q53: Typically, when do you set a trial date in criminal cases?
- LTS A53: At the initial pretrial conference, after the case is returned to me from the magistrate judge, though I do so earlier in long cases or cases involving more than four defendants.
- LTS Q54: Typically, when do you set a trial date in civil cases?
- LTS A54: At the initial pretrial conference, after any dispositive motions are resolved (or after the deadline for filing such motions has passed).
- LTS Q55: What is your typical trial schedule?
- LTS A55: I typically schedule trials from 9 am to 1 pm, with one mid-morning break each day, and proceed day-to-day until the trial is concluded. When the jury retires to deliberate, they stay for full days until they have reached a verdict.
- LTS Q56: In civil cases, do you set time limits for counsel for opening statements, the presentation of evidence and/or closing arguments? If so, please describe your practice?
- LTS A56: I generally do not set limits, but I do discuss the length of openings, closings, etc., with counsel before and during the trial, and I encourage counsel to proceed as efficiently as possible given the nature of the case.
- LTS Q57: Please describe your jury selection process.
- LTS A57: I voir dire jurors myself, with follow-up questioning by the court and counsel privately at sidebar when necessary. After the panel has been cleared for cause, I seat the first group of jurors in the jury box, ask each juror to give their name and identify their job, then permit counsel to exercise peremptory strikes. I then replace the stricken jurors to refill the box, and permit counsel to exercise peremptory strikes on the new jurors. This process continues until both sides are out of strikes or are satisfied with the jurors seated in the box.
- LTS Q58: Under what circumstances, if any, have you or would you consider using a juror questionnaire?
- LTS A58: I only would use a questionnaire in an extraordinarily complex or high-profile case (i.e., a case in which there has been much pretrial publicity, or it otherwise might be difficult to empanel a jury).
- LTS Q59: If you would consider the use of a jury questionnaire, when and in what form should it be proposed?
- LTS A59: I would set a date for its submission in the order setting the case for trial, if I have decided to use a questionnaire for some reason. I do not require a specific form.
- LTS Q60: Have you or would you consider allowing attorney voir dire?
- LTS A60: Yes, In an extraordinarily complex or high-profile case, where a questionnaire is used, I might allow general attorney voir dire. Otherwise, I permit attorneys to question prospective jurors only on specific issues warranting follow-up questioning at sidebar.
- LTS Q61: In civil trials, typically what number of jurors do you seat?
- LTS A61: 33
- LTS Q62: In criminal trials, typically how many alternate jurors do you seat?
- LTS A62: 33
- LTS Q63: Do you require counsel to use the podium during openings, examination of witnesses and/or closings?
- LTS A63: Yes, I move the podium to the center of the jury box for openings/closings, and to the far end of the jury box during witness testimony.
- LTS Q64: How many rounds of examination do you typically allow?
- LTS A64: Direct & Cross, Redirect, Recross
- LTS Q65: Under what, if any, circumstances, will you allow a rebuttal case?
- LTS A65: This depends on the facts of each case; any rebuttal, if permitted, would be strictly limited in scope to evidence responding directly to the defense case.
- LTS Q66: Do you have any preferences about the use of chalks during openings and closings?
- LTS A66: Counsel may use chalks as they see fit, so long as the chalks are shown to opposing counsel in advance so that any objections or corrections can be made without delaying the proceedings.
- LTS Q67: Do you have any particular practice in regard to jury charge conferences? If so, please describe it.
- LTS A67: I distribute a draft of my charge, prepared after reviewing counsel's proposals, in advance of the conference. Then at the conference, which occurs either in my courtroom or in the conference room behind my courtroom, counsel may raise or preserve objections to the draft.
- LTS Q68: Do you provide a written copy of your jury charge to the jury?
- LTS A68: Yes
- LTS Q69: Will you consider counsel's proposals of a special verdict form? If so, should it be in any particular format?
- LTS A69: Yes, I will consider proposals. No particular format is required.
- LTS Q70: If you have any preferences or practices about pretrial or trial matters that has not been solicited by the prior questions, please describe them here.
- LTS A70: Respondent skipped this question.
- LTS Q71: If you have any particular practices as to bench trials, please describe them.
- LTS A71: I sometimes schedule bench trials to last full days (instead of half days, as I do for jury trials), or I sometimes schedule bench trials for afternoons (after jury trials and other hearings have occurred in the morning).
- LTS Q72: Do you require a sentencing memorandum in every case?
- LTS A72: No.
- LTS Q73: If you do not require a sentencing memorandum in every case, when would it be helpful to you?
- LTS A73: Whenever there are significant disputes about guidelines issues or requests for significant departures under the guidelines or variances under section 3553.
- LTS Q74: Under what, if any, circumstances, would you consider an expedited sentencing?
- LTS A74: Whenever there is a good reason, such as if the ordinary sentencing timetable would keep the defendant in custody for longer than the sentence he faces.
- LTS Q75: Do you have any particular practices regarding the presentation of victim impact statements at sentencing?
- LTS A75: I have no particular practices.
- LTS Q76: Under what, if any circumstances, would you consider the postponement of a sentencing hearing?
- LTS A76: Whenever there is good reason.
- LTS Q77: Do you have any particular practices as to revocation matters?
- LTS A77: I have no particular practices.
- LTS Q78: If your session has any standing orders, please attach them here.
- LTS A78: Standing Order re Summary Judgment
- LTS Q79: Order #2
- LTS A79: Criminal Scheduling Order
- LTS Q80: Order #3
- LTS A80: Civil Trial Order
- LTS Q81: If there is any other guidance about your court practices and preferences that you would like to share with counsel that has not been solicited by any of the prior questions, please provide it here.
- LTS A81: Respondent skipped this question.