Judge Richard G. Stearns

Federal Judicial Service

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

Nominated by William J. Clinton on October 27, 1993, to a seat vacated by John Joseph McNaught; Confirmed by the Senate on November 20, 1993, and received commission on November 24, 1993.


Stanford University, B.A., 1968
Oxford University, Balliol College, M.Litt (Political Philosophy), 1971
Harvard Law School, J.D., 1976


Boston Courthouse

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


21, 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.

Career Law Clerk Marsha Zierk 617-748-4144 marsha_zierk@mad.uscourts.gov
Courtroom Clerk Timothy Maynard 617-748-9162 timothy_maynard@mad.uscourts.gov
Docket Clerk Caetlin McManus 617-748-9041 caetlin_mcmanus@mad.uscourts.gov
Court Reporter - - -
USDC Judicial Forum Survey

Civil - Case Management

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?

A1: The court does not as a rule convene in-person scheduling conferences. The practice is for the court to issue a scheduling order subject to the parties’ suggestions for m__________?

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

A4: The court identifies in the pretrial schedule, a date near the end of the fact discovery to notify the court whether both parties are interested in referral to the court's mediation program.

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

A7: The court rarely convenes in-person status conferences. Written status reports may from time-to-time be requested.

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: Willingness to participate in the court's mediation program at the close of fact discovery; willingness to proceed before the magistrate judge; intention to utilize expert witnesses.

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: In a form suited to the litigation - execute one sooner rather than later to facilitate timely discovery. See Judge Stearns' session Standing Order regarding Default Protective Order.

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

A19: A party can make a request, as part of their filing, for a shortened response period.

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

A20: Experts are limited, at trial, to testify within scope of their reports. Treating physicians not considered experts in that they can produce their relevant records early in fact discovery in lieu of a Rule 26 report.

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: If a case appears to require expert discovery or if the parties agree, the court will typically permit a period for exchange of reports and expert depositions following the completion of fact discovery. If the use of experts is uncertain, the court may set alternative dates for dispositive motions. I do not set deadlines for Daubert motions.

Civil - Dispositive Motions

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?

A23: Absent pre-approval from the court in exceptional circumstances, the parties will be permitted to submit one summary judgement motion of no more than 30 pages. Reply briefs are permitted only with leave of court.

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

A27: No, unless a review of the filings indicate a hearing will be helpful.

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

A28: Only if, based on a review of the papers, a hearing will be helpful. If a hearing is scheduled, the court will entertain counsel’s request for it to be heard via Zoom/video conference.

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

A30: If the state of the law is in flux or if the case depends on additional circumstances not reasonably ascertainable at the time of the hearing: the court typically seeks briefs and arguments after conclusion of a bench trial.

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: The court typically follows the local rule 16.6 schedule of events - will enter a scheduling order through Markman, and thereafter a second order through summary judgment. Parties will be permitted a period to exchange contentions and engage in fact discovery prior to, and a short period after, claim construction. Absent pre-approval from the court in exceptional circumstances, the parties will be permitted to submit one summary judgement of no more than thirty pages.

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: In their briefs, parties are requested to rank the disputed terms by importance and proceed from the most to least important at the hearing, typically parties will be permitted to each give a technical tutorial (if necessary) and proceed alternating term by term.

Criminal Matters

General Trial Practice - Pretrial Matters

Q39: Do you require the filing of a trial brief?

A39: Yes, in both civil and criminal cases

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

A52: Yes, agreed to exhibits in numerical order. Objected to exhibits to be identified by sequential letter.

Criminal - Scheduling Trials

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

A54: On a final determination that a material dispute of fact exists.

Q55: What is your typical trial schedule?

A55: There is no typical schedule -- it depends on the circumstances and complexities of the case.

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: Opening statements are typically limited to 25 minutes, closing statements to 45 minutes. All civil trials of more than a week's duration are subject to strict time limits.

Criminal - Jury Selection

Q57: Please describe your jury selection process.

A57: In conformity with the applicable federal rules and statutes.

General Trial Practice - Trial Practices

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

A64: Two. Direct, Cross, Redirect, and Recross.

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

A67: Attorneys receive a written copy of the proposed instructions prior to the conference.

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

A71: I entertain motions regarding evidence in the course of the trial, rather than in limine prior to trial. I will ask counsel to file proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law, but only after the trial and production of the trial transcript.

Criminal - Sentencing/Revocation Hearings

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

A74: Minor offenses; immigration matters, and custody approaching the maximum likely sentence.

Standing Orders & Miscellaneous Matters

Q80: Order #3

A80: Respondent skipped this question.