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Judge Simon: Trial Procedures

Trial dates are firm and motions to reset trial dates are discouraged. If it is necessary to file such a motion, it should be made at the earliest possible date and counsel should notify chambers of the motion as soon as possible.

Sidebars during trial are strongly discouraged. Matters in dispute should be taken up with the Court on a break so that time is not taken away from the jury.

Counsel should not ask the court reporter to read back a question or answer.

Counsel do not need to ask permission to approach the witness. When speaking in open court counsel must be in front of one of the microphones located throughout the courtroom. When giving opening statements and closing arguments, counsel should refrain from invading the space of the jurors; counsel should get no closer than six feet from the jury box.

Judge Simon’s courtroom is fully equipped with the state of the art technology. To make the trial run more efficiently and to enhance the presentation of the case to the jury, use of the courtroom technology is strongly encouraged. For example, it is unnecessary to approach a witness to show him a document. The courtroom’s electronic document camera system should be used instead. Training for use of the technology (to occur in advance of the date of the trial or hearing) is available by contacting Noel Collins, Judge Simon’s Courtroom Deputy, at (219) 852-6724.

All exhibits are to be marked before trial and copies are to be furnished to opposing counsel and the Court with an exhibit list. The plaintiff should use numbers and the defendant should use letters in the marking of exhibits.

Counsel are to confer before trial for the purpose of designating agreed jury instructions. The onus is on the plaintiff to file those instructions that the parties have agreed to. Each party will then separately file those instructions that the other side would not agree to. In addition, parties filing proposed jury instructions should email a Word Perfect or Microsoft Word version of those instructions to

The parties should limit their submissions of jury instructions to substantive instructions regarding the claims and defenses in the case. The Court has a standard set of general instructions for all other matters such as the burden of proof, credibility of witnesses, etc. Please consult the link to Jury Instructions on this website for Judge Simon’s general instructions in civil cases.

If a civil case has been settled, the Courtroom Deputy must be notified promptly. Jury costs will be assessed for failure to inform the Courtroom Deputy of a settlement until the day of trial.