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Judge Van Bokkelen: Civil Jury Instructions and Jury Instruction Conference

The Court does not require the submission of general or preliminary jury instructions. The Court will give them to the jury as a matter of course. The parties are responsible for providing the Court with all substantive instructions regarding the charges and defenses in the case. The parties must submit joint jury instructions specific to the case as well as any instructions upon which they disagree. As much as possible, Judge Van Bokkelen instructs the jury from the Civil Pattern Jury Instructions for the Seventh Circuit.

All proposed final jury instructions (with authorities) and verdict forms are to be exchanged between the parties and filed with the Court 5 days before the Final Pretrial Conference. In addition to filing electronically, parties must email courtesy copies in WordPerfect or Word format to Judge Van Bokkelen's Chambers.

After all the evidence has been presented, the Court will give parties the proposed jury instructions. The Court will then conduct an informal off-the-record conference with counsel to review the instructions. After the conference, the Court will give the parties an opportunity to make a record of objections or proposals in open court. The final jury instructions will be displayed to the jury using the ELMO system during their reading and a set of final instructions will be given to the jury to use during deliberations.

The Court reads the substantive final jury instructions immediately before the parties’ closing arguments.

You may see the Court's standard jury instructions questions here