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Chief Judge Saylor, F. Dennis IV.

Born 1955 in Royal Oak, MI

Federal Judicial Service
Judge, U. S. District Court, District of Massachusetts, Chief Judge, 2019 - Present.

Nominated by George W. Bush on July 30, 2003, to a seat vacated by Robert E. Keeton; Confirmed by the Senate on June 1, 2004, and received commission on June 2, 2004.

Northwestern University, B.S., 1977
Harvard Law School, J.D., 1981

Judicial Assistant Julie Piltzecker
Clerk’s Office:
Courtroom Clerk
Christine Bono 617-748-9212
Docket Clerks Taylor Halley 617-748-9182
Court Reporter Valerie O'Hara



Courtroom Technology
Contact the courtroom clerk regarding use of this equipment.

The courtroom is equipped with a fully integrated evidence presentation system with 15" viewing monitors for each attorney table, the witness, the Judge and their staff, and a 40" plasma for the gallery. The jury box also has 15" monitors built into the front and back rows of the jury box, one for every two jurors. Evidence being displayed from any source can be annotated from the witness and lectern monitors. Two attorney tables have the ability to connect both audio and video from a computer through a standard VGA port [laptop/desktop and even Mac/Apple if you have the VGA adapter]. In addition, there are two computer audio and video inputs located at the lectern location. Also at the lectern, is a document camera for displaying physical evidence that is not electronic and a VCR. Portable video conferencing equipment can be brought in upon request for remote appearances.

Chambers Procedures/Standing Orders/Sample Orders

USDC Judicial Forum Survey

Match word(s).

    Civil - Case Management

  • FDS 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?
  • FDS A1: I have the clerk issue a "Notice of Scheduling Conference" in advance of the conference that includes a template for a scheduling order.
  • FDS Q2: If you have a specific scheduling order, please attach your order.
  • FDS A2: Scheduling Order
  • FDS 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)?
  • FDS A3: No.
  • FDS Q4: What, if any, inquiries do you make about settlement prospects and/or interest in mediation at the initial scheduling conference?
  • FDS A4: I inquire about their interest, if any, in mediation, or whether mediation is premature or unnecessary. I also advise the parties, in substance, that I will refer the case for mediation only if both sides agree; that I will not force any party into mediation or settlement discussions; that I will be supportive of settlement efforts; and that if the parties are not going to settle the case, I expect them to litigate it.
  • FDS Q5: What, if any inquiries do you make about the liklihood of trial at the initial scheduling conference?
  • FDS A5: None.
  • FDS Q6: What schedule do you set at the initial scheduling conference?
  • FDS A6: Fact discovery, expert discovery, amendment of the pleadings, motion practice (including dispositive motions) and further status conferences.
  • FDS Q7: After the initial scheduling conference, do you hold status conferences?
  • FDS A7: Yes.
  • FDS Q8: If so, when do you hold status conferences?
  • FDS A8: At a minimum, I hold a status conference after the close of fact discovery. In most cases, I will set an interim status conference about two-thirds of the way through the fact discovery period. I will also set conferences as appropriate during expert discovery and in the run-up to trial. In very complicated cases, I will set a status conference every month.
  • FDS Q9: If so, what issues do you address at status conferences?
  • FDS A9: The progress of the case, including discovery efforts; whether there are any issues that can be resolved relatively informally; whether the schedule needs modification; whether both sides are interested in mediation; whether there are any other case management issues that the parties wish to raise.
  • Civil - Discovery

  • FDS 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?
  • FDS A10: Whether expert testimony is likely to be necessary. If it seems unlikely, I will issue a scheduling order that does not provide for expert discovery, but with a deadline for filing a notice of an intent to call an expert. If such a notice is filed, I will reset the calendar and provide for expert discovery.
  • FDS Q11: What, if any, issues related to electronically stored information should counsel be prepared to address at the initial scheduling conference?
  • FDS A11: They should have discussed the issue with each other. I don't normally address ESI issues unless there is a dispute.
  • FDS 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?
  • FDS A12: No.
  • FDS Q13: Under what circumstances would you consider a bifurcation of discovery ?
  • FDS A13: If the parties agree to it. Otherwise, I will order it as appropriate, but with some caution, as it may create more problems than it solves.
  • FDS 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?
  • FDS A14: I have no set practice. I will raise the issue if it appears that counsel may be overlitigating the case.
  • FDS 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?
  • FDS A15: I have no set practice.
  • FDS Q16: Typically, do you resolve discovery motions or do you refer them to the magistrate judge?
  • FDS A16: I typically refer them to the magistrate judge.
  • FDS Q17: Do you typically hold a hearing on discovery?
  • FDS A17: Yes, If I keep the motion, I will normally hold a hearing. As a practical matter, such issues may be resolved in the course of status conferences.
  • FDS Q18: Please describe your general practice regarding the resolution of discovery motions.
  • FDS A18: I typically refer them to the magistrate judge. Otherwise, I read the papers, listen to both sides, and try to make a fair ruling.
  • FDS Q19: Under what circumstances will you consider emergency motions regarding discovery matters?
  • FDS A19: I will consider any motion filed on an emergency basis.
  • FDS Q20: Do you have any particular practices or requirements about expert disclosures?
  • FDS A20: Other than the procedure described in response to Question 10, no.
  • FDS 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?
  • FDS A21:I will normally set deadlines for expert disclosures and depositions at the scheduling conference. I normally set deadlines for the filing of Daubert motions at a later point in the proceedings, typically during a subsequent status conference when counsel alerts me to the issue. Ideally, Daubert hearings will take place after the close of expert discovery but well in advance of the trial.
  • FDS 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?
  • FDS A22: I sometimes hold conferences more frequently, to try to make sure the case is staying on track. If the case involves a prisoner plaintiff, I normally dispense with the requirement to meet and confer on motions. I will normally have the prisoner appear by video link for court conferences.
  • Civil - Dispositive Motions

  • FDS 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?
  • FDS A23: No.
  • FDS 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?
  • FDS A24: No, If the file is voluminous, courtesy copies can be helpful, but I don't require them.
  • FDS Q25: Do you typically allow reply briefs and/or surreply briefs?
  • FDS A25: Yes, reply brief, almost always; surreply briefs, usually upon request unless there is a compelling reason not to.
  • FDS Q26: If you allow reply and/or surreply briefs, do you impose a page limit?
  • FDS A26: Yes, my default page limit is 12 pages; I will permit more upon a showing of good cause.
  • FDS Q27: Do you typically hold a hearing on motions to dismiss?
  • FDS A27: Yes
  • FDS Q28: Do you typically hold a hearing on summary judgment motions?
  • FDS A28: Yes
  • FDS Q29: If you typically hold hearings on dispositive motions, what, if any, time limits do you impose on counsel for their arguments?
  • FDS A29: None, other than good sense and common courtesy
  • FDS Q30: Under what, if any, circumstances, would you allow the filing of post-argument briefs?
  • FDS A30: In any case where it appears that they may be helpful; for example, where the hearing has raised issues that may not have been fully developed by the parties.
  • Civil - Patent Cases

  • FDS Q31: Do you have any standing order and/or any particular practice regarding the management of patent cases? If so, please describe them.
  • FDS A31: Yes - I have a scheduling template that is different from the ordinary case.
  • FDS Q32: If applicable, please upload your standing order regarding the management of patent cases.
  • FDS A32: Patent Order
  • FDS Q33: Do you have particular practice about Markman hearings? If so, please describe them including but not limited to whether you allow tutorial(s).
  • FDS A33: No. I will usually ask the parties whether they anticipate the taking of testimony, and whether they intend to present a tutorial. I am generally in favor of tutorials in all but the simplest cases.
  • Criminal Matters

  • FDS Q34: Do you handle matters regarding discovery in criminal cases?
  • FDS A34: No.
  • FDS Q35: Do you have any particular practices as to scheduling in criminal cases? If so, please describe them.
  • FDS A35: In a typical case, once the matter has been referred back to me from the magistrate judge, I see the parties no less frequently than every 30 days until the defendant has decided to plead or go to trial. If the defendant advises me that he intends to go to trial, I will try to set the trial date at that conference.
  • FDS 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?
  • FDS A36 :I refer it to the magistrate judge. If the matter involves additional evidence or changed circumstances, I will normally refer it back. If it is an appeal, of course, I will keep it.
  • FDS Q37: Do you typically hold a hearing on motions for review of a detention order?
  • FDS A37: Yes.
  • FDS Q38: Do you have any particular practices regarding the filing of suppression motions or hearings on suppression motions?
  • FDS A38: No.
  • General Trial Practice - Pretrial Matters

  • FDS Q39: Do you require the filing of a trial brief?
  • FDS A39: Yes, in civil cases, I require the joint pretrial memorandum under our local rules; I do not require anything else except in unusual circumstances.
  • FDS 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?
  • FDS A40: If the case is complex, or there are issues that I may not otherwise fully understand.
  • FDS 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)?
  • FDS A41: Yes. I go through a checklist of logistical issues, such as the daily schedule, display of evidence, empanelment process, and so on.
  • FDS Q42: Do you typically hold an initial pretrial conference in civil cases?
  • FDS A42: Yes, as in criminal cases, I go through a checklist of logistical issues, such as the daily schedule, display of evidence, empanelment process, and so on.
  • FDS 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?
  • FDS A43: In a case of average complexity, about two weeks before trial
  • FDS 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.)?
  • FDS A44: No.
  • FDS Q45: Do you set a page limit for motions in limine? If so, what is it?
  • FDS A45: No.
  • FDS Q46: Do you typically hear motions in limine at the final pretrial conference?
  • FDS A46: Yes.
  • FDS Q47: Do you typically resolve motions in limine at the final pretrial conference?
  • FDS A47: If I have sufficient information to do so, yes.
  • FDS Q48: Do you typically hear and/or resolve Daubert motions at the final pretrial conference?
  • FDS A48: Typically, they are resolved well in advance of the final pretrial conference.
  • FDS Q49: Do you require the parties to provide a courtesy copy of trial exhibits to the Court before trial?
  • FDS A49: No.
  • FDS Q50: If courtesy copies of trial exhibits are required, when do you require them?
  • FDS A50: I don't require courtesy copies, but I strongly prefer them. I would like to have them no later than the morning of the first day of trial.
  • FDS Q51: If courtesy copies of trial exhibits are required, what particular form is required?
  • FDS A51: I prefer three-ring binders with tabs.
  • FDS Q52: Do you require trial exhibits to be pre-marked? If so, please describe your practice?
  • FDS A52: Yes, every exhibit should have a unique number (for example, Exhibit 13). No letters should be used. There should be only "exhibits," not plaintiff's exhibits and defendant's exhibits. Exhibits can be grouped and marked separately using decimals (for example, Exhibit 13 might be a group of photographs, marked separately as 13.1, 13.2, etc.). Exhibit numbers will not change, even if the document is excluded or not offered. I do not care if the exhibits are offered in numerical sequence, and I do not care if there are gaps in the sequence.
  • Criminal - Scheduling Trials

  • FDS Q53: Typically, when do you set a trial date in criminal cases?
  • FDS A53: During a status conference if the defendant indicates he wants to go to trial.
  • FDS Q54: Typically, when do you set a trial date in civil cases?
  • FDS A54: After the filing of the joint pretrial memorandum, in which the parties have estimated the length of the trial.
  • FDS Q55: What is your typical trial schedule?
  • FDS A55: 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. sharp. Either two short breaks at 10:30 and noon, or one at 11:00.
  • FDS 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?
  • FDS A56: Almost never, unless it appears part way through the trial that we are falling behind.
  • Criminal - Jury Selection

  • FDS Q57: Please describe your jury selection process.
  • FDS A57: Voir dire questions asked by the court to the entire panel; prospective jurors raise their hands as appropriate and are examined one-by-one at sidebar. The court strikes jurors for cause as appropriate. Once voir dire is completed, if twelve jurors and two alternates are to be empaneled, the first fourteen names remaining on the list will be called and those prospective jurors seated in the jury box. The court then conducts a limited further inquiry to obtain missing information and find out about prior jury service. Peremptory challenges are then exercised at sidebar, one by one, in alternating rounds (for example, the government or plaintiff goes first in the first round, the defendant goes first in the second round, etc.). No back strikes are permitted. In criminal cases with fourteen jurors, the last two jurors seated are the alternates, regardless of their seat numbers. They are not advised that they are alternates until immediately before deliberation.
  • FDS Q58: Under what circumstances, if any, have you or would you consider using a juror questionnaire?
  • FDS A58: Only in exceptional circumstances, such as a case with a great deal of pretrial publicity or one otherwise presenting unusually difficult empanelment issues.
  • FDS Q59: If you would consider the use of a jury questionnaire, when and in what form should it be proposed?
  • FDS A59: I have no set practice.
  • FDS Q60: Have you or would you consider allowing attorney voir dire?
  • FDS A60: Yes, I permit attorneys to ask polite, respectful questions of individual jurors at sidebar on discrete issues, usually to follow up on an issue that they may feel I have not explored thoroughly enough.
  • FDS Q61: In civil trials, typically what number of jurors do you seat?
  • FDS A61: 10.
  • FDS Q62: In criminal trials, typically how many alternate jurors do you seat?
  • FDS A62: 2.
  • General Trial Practice - Trial Practices

  • FDS Q63: Do you require counsel to use the podium during openings, examination of witnesses and/or closings?
  • FDS A63: No.
  • FDS Q64: How many rounds of examination do you typically allow?
  • FDS A64: Direct & Cross, Redirect, Recross.
  • FDS Q65: Under what, if any, circumstances, will you allow a rebuttal case?
  • FDS A65: Where it is appropriate and fair to do so.
  • FDS Q66: Do you have any preferences about the use of chalks during openings and closings?
  • FDS A66: I strongly prefer the use of demonstratives, assuming of course that they are fair and reflect the evidence.
  • FDS Q67: Do you have any particular practice in regard to jury charge conferences? If so, please describe it.
  • FDS A67: I typically circulate draft versions of my written jury charge during the trial, which results as a practical matter in a "rolling" charge conference as counsel raise particular issues. The final charge conference is normally in the afternoon of the day before the closing arguments.
  • FDS Q68: Do you provide a written copy of your jury charge to the jury?
  • FDS A68: Yes.
  • FDS Q69: Will you consider counsel's proposals of a special verdict form? If so, should it be in any particular format?
  • FDS A69: Yes; no particular form is required.
  • FDS 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.
  • FDS A70: 1. I provide each individual juror with a written copy of the charge, on which they are permitted to write, and which they can take with them into the jury room. 2. Counsel will have a final copy of the jury charge before their arguments, which they are permitted to quote verbatim as necessary to frame the issues. 3. The order of closings in civil cases is (1) plaintiff (2) defendant (3) plaintiff rebuttal.
  • FDS Q71: If you have any particular practices as to bench trials, please describe them.
  • FDS A71: None.
  • Criminal - Sentencing/Revocation Hearings

  • FDS Q72: Do you require a sentencing memorandum in every case?
  • FDS A72: No.
  • FDS Q73: If you do not require a sentencing memorandum in every case, when would it be helpful to you?
  • FDS A73: Whenever counsel wants to call points to my attention that may not be obvious from a review of the PSR.
  • FDS Q74: Under what, if any, circumstances, would you consider an expedited sentencing?
  • FDS A74: Normally, when necessary and appropriate to ensure that a defendant is not incarcerated for an unduly long period of time.
  • FDS Q75: Do you have any particular practices regarding the presentation of victim impact statements at sentencing?
  • FDS A75: No
  • FDS Q76: Under what, if any circumstances, would you consider the postponement of a sentencing hearing?
  • FDS A76: Normally, I will grant short extensions to accommodate the schedules of counsel (or, occasionally, family members or victims). I will grant longer extensions in clearly-defined circumstances, such as when a defendant is in the RISE program or is cooperating with the government. I will not grant postponements as a form of informal probation.
  • FDS Q77: Do you have any particular practices as to revocation matters?
  • FDS A77: No.
  • Standing Orders & Miscellaneous Matters

  • FDS Q78: If your session has any standing orders, please attach them here.
  • FDS A78: Standing Order Re Courtroom Opportunities
  • FDS Q79: Order #2
  • FDS A79: Standing Order re Appearance of Counsel by Telephone
  • FDS Q80: Order #3
  • FDS A80: Instructions to Counsel Concerning Trial Procedures
  • FDS 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.
  • FDS A81: Respondent skipped this question.

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