Judge Denise J. Casper

Federal Judicial Service

Judge, U. S. District Court, District of Massachusetts.

Nominated by Barack Obama on April 28, 2010, to a seat vacated by Reginald C. Lindsay; Confirmed by the Senate on December 17, 2010, and received commission on December 20, 2010.


Wesleyan University, 1990
Harvard Law School, 1994


Boston Courthouse

John Joseph Moakley U.S. Courthouse
1 Courthouse Way, Suite 2300
Boston, Massachusetts 02210


11, 5th floor

John J. Moakley Federal Courthouse - Boston, MA
John J. Moakley Federal Courthouse - Boston, MA

Courtroom Technology

Contact the courtroom clerk regarding the use of technology in the courtroom. View our courtroom technology page for more information on the technology that is available.

Internet access is available upon request and with the consent of the presiding Judge. Click here for more information.

Clerkship Applications

Since Judge Casper accepts and considers electronic applications through OSCAR, hard copies of applications should not be sent to chambers.


Law students interested in internships in chambers should submit a cover letter, resume, transcript and a list of three references to chambers during the following periods:

For Fall internships: Accepting applications from March 15 to April 15.

For Spring internships: Accepting applications from September 15 to October 15.

For Summer internships: Accepting applications from December 15 to January 31.

Courtroom Clerk Lisa Hourihan 617-748-9177 lisa_hourihan@mad.uscourts.gov
Docket Clerk Savannah Cook 617-748-9182 savannah_cook@mad.uscourts.gov
Court Reporter Debra Joyce joycedebra@gmail.com
USDC Judicial Forum Survey

Civil - Case Management

Q4: What, if any, inquiries do you make about settlement prospects and/or interest in mediation at the initial scheduling conference?

A4: I inquire about whether the plaintiff(s) has made a settlement demand. If one has not yet been made (or if the defendant(s) have not yet responded to that demand), I set a short date for the parties to do so. I also inquire about the parties' interest in being referred to a magistrate judge for mediation

Q5: What, if any inquiries do you make about the liklihood of trial at the initial scheduling conference?

A5: Depending on the nature of the case, I inquire about the likelihood of the filing of summary judgment motion(s) and/or trial. I also indicate that I will return to these topics at the status conference (typically held after the close of fact discovery) if the parties don't yet have a sense of these matters at the initial scheduling conference.

Q6: What schedule do you set at the initial scheduling conference?

A6: I set the fact discover schedule, a deadline for amending the pleadings and the deadline for summary judgment motion filing, I also set expert discovery deadlines (if expert discovery is anticipated). I may also set Daubert motion filing date if the case warrants the early resolution of same. I may also ask the parties about whether we can schedule a summary schedule before expert discovery is necessary, particularly where any anticipated experts may relate to damages and not liability and the parties may want to avoid the expense of same.

Q7: After the initial scheduling conference, do you hold status conferences?

A7: Yes and I will certainly consider holding such status conference by Zoom.

Q8: If so, when do you hold status conferences?

A8: Typically, after the close of fact discovery. If the parties believe it would be helpful for case management to hold the status conference before the end of fact discovery, I will consider scheduling for an earlier time.

Q9: If so, what issues do you address at status conferences?

A9: Status of discovery, status of settlement discussions, and any interest in mediation. I also inquire about whether summary judgment motions will be filed and, if so, on which claims. I also inquire that if the case proceeds to trial, how long the trial is expected to last.

Civil - Discovery

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?

A10: Whether discovery should be sequenced or bifurcated in some way. I also inquire about whether expert testimony needs to be completed before the parties need to file summary judgment motions or if that the discovery (and the expense regarding same) can wait until after the resolution of any summary motion.

Q11: What, if any, issues related to electronically stored information should counsel be prepared to address at the initial scheduling conference?

A11: If the parties have any particular proposal as to ESI, they should include it in their joint statement.

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?

A12: I do not, but it is helpful if counsel alert the court at the initial scheduling conference if they intend to file a proposed order.

Q13: Under what circumstances would you consider a bifurcation of discovery ?

A13: I will consider a proposal to bifurcate discovery if the parties explain why it may be warranted. I have, for example, allowed bifurcation in some class action or complex cases.

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?

A14: I do not have a particular practice in this regard, but will address the scope of the discovery at the scheduling conference if the parties identify a particular issue to discuss in this regard.

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?

A15: Upon review of discovery motions, I double-check that the parties' certifications regarding conferring has been filed. In a number of cases, even if the certification has been filed, but the substance of the motion and opposition suggests that this discussion has been pro forma, but I may order the parties to confer further to attempt to narrow their areas of disagreement before addressing any pending discovery motion or referring same to the magistrate judge.

Q18: Please describe your general practice regarding the resolution of discovery motions.

A18: I have no particular practice other than I more likely than not resolve the matter on the papers and do not hold a hearing.

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?

A21: It depends on the case, but I am more likely to set a date for the filing of Daubert motions at or about the time that I set the trial date (usually at a status conference after the close of fact discovery, at an initial pretrial conference or after the resolution of summary judgment motions). If Daubert motions need to be solved before or in connection with summary judgment motions, I will set the deadline at the initial scheduling conference

Civil - Dispositive Motions

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?

A24: Yes, as to motions for summary judgment. The movant for summary judgment shall serve electronically a Word version of their statement of undisputed facts on the non-movant when they file their motion for summary judgment and all supporting materials. When filing its opposition to the motion for summary judgment, the non-movant shall file a response to the movant's statement of undisputed facts that uses the Word document and responses to each of the movant's undisputed facts, paragraph by paragraph, and, if disputed, include page references to affidavits, depositions or other documents in the record. If the movant contends that there are separate disputed material facts, it may identify them in a separate section at the end of this document, paragraph by paragraph with page references to affidavits, depositions and other documents in the record. The non-movant shall file this document on ECF and shall serve it on the movant in an electronic Word document when the non-movant files its opposition. The movant may then respond to any separately identified disputed facts, using this Word document and responding to each of the movant's disputed facts, paragraph by paragraph with page references to the affidavits, depositions or other documents in the record and file same when it files its reply brief.

Q25: Do you typically allow reply briefs and/or surreply briefs?

A25: I typically allow reply briefs, but only with a motion for leave to file same. I do not typically allow surreply briefs.

Q29: If you typically hold hearings on dispositive motions, what, if any, time limits do you impose on counsel for their arguments?

A29: I often impose time limits on arguments. If I do, the amount of time depends on the case.

Q30: Under what, if any, circumstances, would you allow the filing of post-argument briefs?

A30: Rarely and only when a matter that counsel could not have anticipated comes up during oral argument.

Civil - Patent Cases

Q33: Do you have particular practice about Markman hearings? If so, please describe them including but not limited to whether you allow tutorial(s).

A33: I confer with counsel about the amount of time that they anticipate needing for the hearing and schedule accordingly. I allow tutorials.

Criminal Matters

Q35: Do you have any particular practices as to scheduling in criminal cases? If so, please describe them.

A35: I follow the Best Practices in the Scheduling of Criminal Cases that has been adopted by the Court.

Q38: Do you have any particular practices regarding the filing of suppression motions or hearings on suppression motions?

A38: I do not have any particular practice, other than once the motion is ripe, I schedule it for hearing as soon as my court calendar can allow.

General Trial Practice - Pretrial Matters

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?

A40: If there are particular issues that the Court may need to resolve prior to trial (e.g., whether a party will be precluded from presenting a particular theory at trial, resolution of Daubert motions), any issue with the scheduling of witnesses (e.g., possible need to take witnesses out of order; some testimony to be presented by deposition) or any special procedures that counsel is proposing for the conduct of trial (e.g., jury questionnaire, etc.), it would be helpful to have them addressed in a trial brief

Q42: Do you typically hold an initial pretrial conference in civil cases?

A42: It depends on the case. If I do, it is largely for the purpose of getting a sense of the anticipated scope and length of trial and to set a trial date.

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?

A43: I typically set these deadlines when I set the trial date. The deadline for filing motions in limine is typically 2 weeks before trial and the deadline for filing oppositions to these motions, along with witness and exhibit lists, proposed voir dire and jury instructions is typically a week before trial.

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.)?

A44: In addition to the ECF filing, I ask that a Word version of proposed jury instructions and the verdict form be provided to the court.

Q47: Do you typically resolve motions in limine at the final pretrial conference?

A47: If I am able to do so, I attempt to resolve motions in limine at the final pretrial conference. If I cannot do so, I try to share my inclinations regarding same with counsel at the final pretrial conference and reserve final ruling until I hear the relevant evidence at trial.

Q51: If courtesy copies of trial exhibits are required, what particular form is required?

A51: I require that courtesy copies of trial exhibits be provided in electronic form only.

Q52: Do you require trial exhibits to be pre-marked? If so, please describe your practice?

A52: Yes, all agreed to exhibits should be pre-marked with numbers. All disputed exhibits should be pre-marked with letters. With disputed exhibits [which are pre-marked with letters], I also require counsel to provide a joint chart that indicates the basis for the objection to each exhibit with the proponent's response to same.

Criminal - Scheduling Trials

Q54: Typically, when do you set a trial date in civil cases?

A54: At the status conference (once fact discovery is complete) if there is not going to be a motion for summary judgment. If there is a summary judgment motion, after I resolve the motion.

Q55: What is your typical trial schedule?

A55: My typical trial schedule now varies. For many cases, I will schedule trial days for 9 am to 1 pm. I may, however, schedule some trials for full days, 9 am to 4 pm or some combination of half days and full days. I am likely to discuss this matter with counsel at the initial pretrial conference.

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?

A56: I typically set a time limit for the total presentation of the case including openings, all examinations and closings. I confer with counsel about what time they seek and then set the time limits.

Criminal - Jury Selection

Q57: Please describe your jury selection process.

A57: I ask voir dire of all of the panel members together and note the affirmative answers. I then see each juror who answered any question affirmatively at sidebar with counsel for followup questions and/or motion to strike for cause. Once we are finished with that process, the parties exercise their peremptory challenges in alternating rounds (plaintiff/government first in first round; defendant first in second round, etc.) until challenges are exhausted or the parties are satisfied. The first 8 jurors (in numerical order) left for civil trials and the first 14 jurors (in numerical order) left for criminal cases will be the seated jury.

Q59: If you would consider the use of a jury questionnaire, when and in what form should it be proposed?

A59: Parties should propose it in connection with the initial pretrial conference.

Q60: Have you or would you consider allowing attorney voir dire?

A60: No, I haven't considered it, but I may in the future.

General Trial Practice - Trial Practices

Q63: Do you require counsel to use the podium during openings, examination of witnesses and/or closings?

A63: Yes, for witness examination. Counsel may, but is not required to, use a podium during openings and closings. If redirect or recross is short, I will allow counsel to ask the questions from counsel table

Q65: Under what, if any, circumstances, will you allow a rebuttal case?

A65: I only allow a rebuttal case on the rare instance if counsel could not have reasonably anticipated an issue arising during the defense case.

Q66: Do you have any preferences about the use of chalks during openings and closings?

A66: Only that they be disclosed to opposing counsel before openings or closings.

Q67: Do you have any particular practice in regard to jury charge conferences? If so, please describe it.

A67: Typically, I provide a draft of my charge and verdict form to counsel before the conference so that they can respond to the draft and register any objections and propose changes at the conference.

Q68: Do you provide a written copy of your jury charge to the jury?

A68: Yes, typically, I also upload an electronic copy of it on to JERS.

Q69: Will you consider counsel's proposals of a special verdict form? If so, should it be in any particular format?

A69: Yes, I will consider counsel's proposal. I do not require any particular format.

Q71: If you have any particular practices as to bench trials, please describe them.

A71: I will allow counsel to file proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law.

Criminal - Sentencing/Revocation Hearings

Q72: Do you require a sentencing memorandum in every case?

A72: No, but I think it should be a rare case where counsel does not file one.

Q73: If you do not require a sentencing memorandum in every case, when would it be helpful to you?

A73: It is helpful if it explains the party's sentencing recommendation and contains analysis of the information in the PSR or information not otherwise in the PSR.

Q74: Under what, if any, circumstances, would you consider an expedited sentencing?

A74: If a defendant would potentially be serving "dead time" if the typical 12 weeks to sentencing were allowed from the plea or trial.

Q75: Do you have any particular practices regarding the presentation of victim impact statements at sentencing?

A75: No, except that I have victims use the podium to give their statement and that the victims address the Court when doing so.

Q76: Under what, if any circumstances, would you consider the postponement of a sentencing hearing?

A76: For specified, compelling reasons and then only if for a defined period of time.

Q77: Do you have any particular practices as to revocation matters?

A77: No, but I ask that counsel inform the clerk ahead of the hearing about whether there will be need for an evidentiary hearing

Standing Orders & Miscellaneous Matters

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.

A81: Before a trial or evidentiary hearing, if you are not familiar with the courtroom layout or technology available, counsel should contact my courtroom deputy about coming in early or before the trial since she can typically arrange for counsel to come in and see the setup and preview any technical issues.

Post-Pandemic Practices

Q82: As of Fall 2022, are there any case events that you routinely conduct via Zoom in civil cases? If so, what are they?

A82: Yes, I am continuing to do initial scheduling and status conferences via Zoom as I perceive that this is a convenience for counsel, particularly for these short(er) appearances. If, at some point, I start to default to doing them in person, I would still consider doing a conference by Zoom at the request of counsel, particularly in a matter involving out-of-town counsel.

Q83: As of Fall 2022, are there any case events that you routinely conduct via Zoom in criminal cases? If so, what are they?

A83: I am continuing to do initial pretrial conferences (and status conferences to the extent that any are necessary) via Zoom as I perceive that this is a convenience to counsel. If, at some point, I start to default to doing them in person, I would still consider doing a conference by Zoom at the request of counsel.

Q84: As of Fall 2022, if there are case events that you routinely conduct in person that you would consider conducting via Zoom, what are those case events and under what circumstances would you consider conducting them via Zoom?

A84: As noted above, I would consider doing conferences with counsel via Zoom. In a civil, non-evidentiary motion hearing, I would consider doing same if there is "good cause" (i.e., counsel test positive for Covid, but still wants to proceed with hearing) and counsel on the other side does not object to proceeding by Zoom.