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Judge Leichty: Civil Final Pretrial Conference

A final pretrial conference is held before all jury trials. Before the final pretrial conference in civil cases, the parties are required to submit a proposed pretrial order. The parties should consult the Local Rules and the court’s memorandum of status conference to determine the contents of the pretrial order (see Federal Rule 16(e) and Appendix A of the Local Rules). In addition, the contents of the written pretrial order should conform to the Memorandum of Status Conference issued by the court after a trial date is scheduled.

The deadlines for filing proposed jury instructions, voir dire questions, motions in limine, trial briefs, and the exchange of exhibit and witness lists and subpoenas are contained in the Memorandum of Status Conference.

The court views the final pretrial conference as the first day of trial. At the pretrial conference, the court may discuss the following: (1) specific substance of witness testimony; (2) potential stipulations of fact; (3) issues to be tried and any issues that can be removed from the case; (4) elimination of unnecessary or cumulative witnesses and exhibits; (5) amount of time required for voir dire; (6) precise length of trial; (7) jury selection procedures; (8) rulings (if feasible) on motions in limine and objections to exhibits; and (9) all other matters to secure a just, speedy, and inexpensive trial or resolution of this action. 

The court will enter a final pretrial order following the conference, which will not be modified except to prevent manifest injustice.