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Judge Miller: Trial Procedures

Counsel must ask permission to approach the witness. Counsel need not use the podium. The court expects counsel to stand, if they are able, when questioning witnesses and when addressing the court. 

All exhibits are to be marked before trial, and copies are to be furnished to opposing counsel and the court with an exhibit list. Plaintiffs should mark their exhibits by number and defendants should mark theirs by letter.

Counsel should confer about the proposed jury instructions because discussion may allow all counsel to prepare fewer proposed instructions, saving attorney time, client expense, and court time. As a general practice, the court gives Proposed Seventh Circuit Civil Jury Instructions 1.01, 1.04, 1.06, 1.11-1.13, 1.27, and 1.32-1.34 in every civil case. The parties are responsible for providing the court with all substantive instructions regarding the claims and defenses in the case. The Seventh Circuit Civil Jury Instructions are available on line at Any written objections to jury instructions proposed by other parties must be filed at least seven days before the final pretrial conference. Judge Miller deems those objections renewed at the close of the evidence and again before the jury retires to deliberate its verdict.

If a civil case has been settled, chambers must be notified promptly at (574)246-8080. Jury costs will be assessed if the court is not notified of a settlement before the first day of trial. Upon a report of settlement of a civil case, Judge Miller generally enters an order vacating the trial, denying all motions as moot, and giving the parties thirty days within which to file any necessary dismissal papers.