Written By: Jonathan Barnes

Did you know that many of our state superior court judges also have similar protocols posted online?  Of course you did!  This is just a friendly remainder urging you to stay up to date on those preferences.  Not only will your judge appreciate it, but it could also make the difference in making your record.  For example, like Judge Silver, Judge Bergin also follows her own informal discovery dispute resolution procedures.  Before filing a written motion, “counsel for the movant shall contact the Court’s Judicial Assistant and all other counsel to advise them of his/her request for a telephonic hearing.”  See http://www.superiorcourt.maricopa.gov/JudicialBiographies/judges/profile.asp?jdgID=245&jdgUSID=8655 (last accessed February 9, 2018).

Staying informed of these protocols is important throughout the litigation, and particularly at certain inflection points.  For example, have you filed a combined summary judgment response and cross-motion for summary judgment in the last year?  If so, I hope it was not in front of Judge Gass because he forbids this practice.  “Do not combine responses to summary judgment motions and cross-motions for summary judgment. … If you are filing cross-motions for summary judgment, file them in a separate pleading.”  See http://www.superiorcourt.maricopa.gov/JudicialBiographies/judges/profile.asp?jdgID=260&jdgUSID=9111 (last accessed February 9, 2018).

Also, did you ever have oral argument on that motion for summary judgment?  Well, if you were in front of Judge Hannah, I hope you remembered to have hard copies of the motion exhibits hand-delivered to chambers.  “If you file a motion that contains exhibits and the totality of the exhibits exceeds 25 pages, please mail or hand-deliver a hard copy of the motion with an index of the tabbed exhibits to my Judicial Assistant.”  See http://www.superiorcourt.maricopa.gov/JudicialBiographies/judges/profile.asp?jdgID=200&jdgUSID=5799 (last accessed February 9, 2018).

Are you planning to file motions in limine?  Better check the page limits if you are in front of Judge Kiley.  “Motions in limine and responses thereto should not exceed three pages. No reply is permitted. Each motion in limine should address only one topic.  Motions in limine should also be numbered.”  See http://www.superiorcourt.maricopa.gov/JudicialBiographies/judges/profile.asp?jdgID=274&jdgUSID=9748 (last accessed February 9, 2018).

As you can see, familiarizing yourself with a judge’s protocols is critically important.  “A trial court has broad discretion over the management of its docket. Appellate courts do not substitute their judgment for that of the trial court in the day-to-day management of cases.”  Findlay v. Lewis, 172 Ariz. 343, 346 (1992).  Violating these protocols will not only make you look bad in front of your judge, but you might also lose the chance to have the Court consider your discovery issue, motion in limine response, or something else.