The Court ordinarily does not place time limits on opening statements or closing arguments, except to ask counsel in advance how much time is needed. Unless the request is quite unreasonable, counsel will be given the time requested. The Court also will offer to inform counsel of the time remaining at requested points in the final argument (e.g., five minutes to go) so that counsel need not focus on the clock throughout.
Trial days ordinarily run from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with approximately one hour for the lunch break. Jurors will not be required to go more than two hours without a break. Because some jurors in the South Bend Division may have more than two and a half hours of travel, the Court ordinarily will not keep a jury past 5:30.
When a jury is deliberating, on the other hand, the Court turns timing over to the jury, and generally will allow the jury to deliberate as long, or to break for the day as early, as the jury wishes.
The Court expects the parties to have enough witnesses on hand to fill the trial day. The Court views the jurors' time as valuable and will strive to avoid unexpectedly short trial days that might make the trial last an extra day.
The Court strives to cooperate with the schedules of doctors and other non-party professionals and will allow them to testify out of sequence in the absence of persuasive objection. Anticipate any such possibility and discuss it will opposing counsel before raising it with the Court.