Judge George A. O'Toole Jr.

Born 1947 in Worcester, MA

Federal Judicial Service

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

Nominated by William J. Clinton on April 4, 1995, to a new seat created by 104 Stat. 5089; Confirmed by the Senate on May 25, 1995, and received commission on May 26, 1995.

Assumed senior status on January 1, 2018.


Boston College, A.B., 1969
Harvard Law School, J.D., 1972


Boston Courthouse

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


22, 7th 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.

Courtroom Clerk John Fleming 617-748-9159 john_fleming@mad.uscourts.gov
Docket Clerk Flaviana DeOliveira 617-748-9178 flaviana_deoliveira@mad.uscourts.gov
Court Reporter Kathleen Silva   kathysilva@verizon.net
Chambers Procedures/Standing Orders/Sample Orders


USDC Judicial Forum Survey

Civil - Case Management

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

A6: Normally I set only the schedule for fact discovery at the initial scheduling conference.

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

A7: Yes, we schedule a future status conference at the initial scheduling conference.

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

A8: Before the end of fact discovery.

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

A9: It depends. We may discuss discovery, whether the case schedule remains as originally set, the possibility of mediation (especially through the court-annexed ADR program), and any pending issues or problems.

Civil - Discovery

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

A11: It depends. Where e-discovery is an issue, parties generally negotiate a mutually agreeable protocol.

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: No. The only requirement I insist on is that the agreement provide that any amendments to the order once entered must be approved by the court.

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

A13: Bifurcation is not the norm, but it may be appropriate in particular cases. It would depend on the precise circumstances of the case.

Q16: Typically, do you resolve discovery motions or do you refer them to the magistrate judge?

A16: I do not have a typical practice. I refer some discovery disputes, but I also decide some myself.

Q17: Do you typically hold a hearing on discovery?

A17: No. Not typically. It depends on the issue.

Q19: Under what circumstances will you consider emergency motions regarding discovery matters?

A19: “Emergency” discovery disputes should be rare. Accordingly, I do not have any general policy regarding emergency discovery motions. Most discovery disputes can be foreseen and resolved in the normal course.

Q20: Do you have any particular practices or requirements about expert disclosures?

A20: Generally not. I tend to strictly enforce the time periods set forth in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26, Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 16, and Local Rule 116.1.

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: For motions supported by lengthy memoranda and/or supporting affidavits, etc., I will often ask the parties to submit courtesy paper copies of the materials filed.

Q26: If you allow reply and/or surreply briefs, do you impose a page limit?

A26: No. While I do not usually impose a page limit, I do expect the replies and surreplies to be succinct and targeted.

Q27: Do you typically hold a hearing on motions to dismiss?

A27: Most of the time, but there can be exceptions.

Q28: Do you typically hold a hearing on summary judgment motions?

A28: Most of the time, but there can be exceptions.

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

A30: It depends. One circumstance could be that a new issue arose in the course of oral argument that was not adequately addressed in the prior briefing.

Civil - Patent Cases

Q31: Do you have any standing order and/or any particular practice regarding the management of patent cases? If so, please describe them.

A31: I will generally follow the template set forth in the recently adopted Local Rule 16.6, effective as of June 1, 2018.

Criminal Matters

Q34: Do you handle matters regarding discovery in criminal cases?

A34: Not ordinarily. Discovery issues should be resolved during the pretrial supervision of the case by the magistrate judge.

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

A38: The magistrate judge will set a deadline for the filing of such motions. Scheduling hearings is handled on a case-bycase basis.

General Trial Practice - Pretrial Matters

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: Typically, the final pretrial conference in civil and criminal cases is held ten days prior to trial. At that conference, deadlines for filing voir dire, witness and exhibit lists, motions in limine, and trial briefs will be established. In civil cases, that will usually be about four or five days before trial. In criminal cases, I require the government to disclose witness and exhibit lists on the Monday before the commencement of trial and the defendant to do so on the Thursday before trial. I typically ask for proposed jury instructions to be filed by the first day of trial.

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

A47: I have no "typical" practice. It depends on the subject matter. Some motions in limine can be resolved at the final pretrial conference, but the resolution of others may depend on contingent events and can be resolved only after those events have or have not occurred.

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

A51: Usually printed and organized by tabs in a three-ring binder with supplements throughout trial if appropriate. In addition, the parties must work together and with the courtroom deputy to upload digital files containing all premarked trial exhibits to the Jury Evidence Recording System (JERS).

Criminal - Scheduling Trials

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

A54: Usually at a status conference held after discovery has been substantially completed.

Q55: What is your typical trial schedule?

A55: Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Criminal - Jury Selection

Q57: Please describe your jury selection process.

A57: I conduct a general voir dire of the venire panel, asking for yes or no answers to questions bearing on the jurors’ ability to be fair and impartial. That is followed by a side-bar follow-up with individual jurors. I conduct all the voir dire questioning in both settings, although I may permit some follow-up questioning by counsel at side-bar after my questioning is concluded. I entertain cause objections to individual jurors as part of this process. When there are enough cause-free jurors, counsel will exercise peremptory challenges. This is also done at side- bar. The government in a criminal case, and the plaintiff in a civil case, will exercise as many peremptory challenges to the jurors in the box as desired, and the defendant in each case will then do the same. Those jurors are excused and replaced with new jurors chosen from the venire panel. Only the newly seated jurors may be the object of further peremptory challenges. In this second round of peremptories, the defense will exercise challenges first, followed then by the government/plaintiff. Selection continues in this manner, alternating which side exercises first in any given round, until the allocated preemptory challenges have been exhausted or the parties declare themselves satisfied.

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

A59: It would be specifically designed for the case at hand. No general answer is possible.

General Trial Practice - Trial Practices

Q64: How many rounds of examination do you typically allow?

A64: Direct, cross, and, if necessary, redirect and recross. Two rounds are enough.

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

A65: No general answer is possible to this question. It would require a judgment based on what had happened in the trial.

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

A66: Chalks (broadly defined) may generally be used. Counsel intending to do so must expose the materials to the opponent in advance, so that any dispute or objection can be timely resolved.

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

A71: I usually require post-trial proposed findings of fact with citations to the record and rulings of law.

Criminal - Sentencing/Revocation Hearings

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

A72: No. However, I regard sentencing memoranda as useful.

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

A73: It is helpful to understand the parties’ positions and arguments before the sentencing hearing. It permits greater opportunity to reflect on the issues presented in the particular case.

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

A75: The government is responsible for advising the court that victim statements will be offered. Advance notice should be given. Statements may be done in writing or orally. If orally, the victim will make his or her presentation from the podium.

Standing Orders & Miscellaneous Matters

Q79: Order #2

A79: Respondent skipped this question.

Q80: Order #3

A80: Respondent skipped this question.