Judicial Preferences


President Judge Jan R. Jurden Civil Case Management Preferences


Updated: September 1, 2017

For Attorneys & Legal Staff Only:

Marge Swain, Administrative Specialist
Chambers
Phone: (302) 255-0654


Lindsey Onley, Judicial Civil Case Manager
Prothonotary's Office
Phone: (302) 255-0724


Brent Ashley, Law Clerk
Chambers
Phone: (302) 255-0647


Tristan Karsnitz, Law Clerk
Chambers
Phone: (302) 255-0685


Fax Numbers:

Chambers Fax: (302) 255-2274 *

Prothonotary Fax: (302) 255-2598 *

* Please advise the Administrative Specialist or Civil Case Manager by phone or email that a FAX transmission has been or is about to be sent to chambers or the prothonotary.

Only Delaware counsel, not legal staff or counsel admitted Pro Hac Vice, may write directly to President Judge Jurden. All correspondence must be signed by a Delaware attorney in the law firm of the attorney of record and copied to opposing counsel.

Any letter to the Court requesting court action of some kind (in instances where a motion is otherwise not appropriate) must state the position of all parties or otherwise represent that opposing counsel or self-represented party could not be reached.

A teleconference with the Court may be requested by calling President Judge Jurden's Administrative Specialist. Counsel requesting the teleconference will arrange to initiate the call otherwise plaintiff's counsel will be responsible.

Email should not be used with President Judge Jurden except when (a) President Judge Jurden has approved same or (b) exigent circumstances exist. However, this does not preclude administrative-type emails, particularly to staff.

Administrative emails are not docketed. Administrative emails should only be sent to President Judge Jurden if not appropriate to send to staff.

The use of email is not permitted when the case includes a self represented party.

Substantive emails are docketed and must always include the civil action number.

Comments or questions from lawyers, paralegals and other legal staff about President Judge Jurden's preferences are welcome.

Related Cases:

Counsel should always identify any 'related' Superior Court cases on the Case Information Statement filed with the complaint or with the answer so that the new case is assigned to the same judge. If counsel belatedly realizes that the Case Information Statement(s) omitted reference to another pending case and that the subsequent civil case was assigned to a different judge, please promptly notify the Judicial Case Manager for the judge assigned to the subsequently filed case.

Initial Scheduling Conferences:

After responsive pleading(s) are filed and/or default judgment(s) entered, the Court will either arrange a scheduling conference or issue a trial scheduling order, depending on the complexity of the case.

Another attorney in the law firm of counsel for a party (other than the attorney(s) who signed the complaint or the responsive pleading) may attend the scheduling conference provided (1) that attorney has a basic understanding of the case, (2) the case is not particularly complex, and (3) the attorney knows the trial attorney's trial availability. If counsel other than a signatory of the complaint or the responsive pleading plans to attend, counsel should notify chambers at least the day before the Scheduling Conference by phone to President Judge Jurden's Administrative Specialist. If appropriate, counsel should confer about potential mediators before the Scheduling Conference. A directory of court-trained mediators is available on the Court's Web site. Counsel attending the scheduling conference should have authority to agree to a specific mediator, if at all possible.

After receiving a scheduling conference date and time, if all counsel believe that the case is likely to settle soon, counsel for plaintiff(s), speaking for all parties, may write the Court requesting a postponement of the scheduling conference. Unless ordered otherwise, the conference will be indefinitely postponed. Counsel for plaintiff(s) must then submit a status report within sixty days of the date of the postponed conference.

If any attorney believes that a Scheduling Order should have been issued, but one has not been issued, counsel should contact the Judicial Case Manager to inquire about the delay. Reminder: a scheduling conference is scheduled only after all defendants or third-party defendants have (1) filed responsive pleadings or (2) had default judgments entered against them.

If President Judge Jurden is unexpectedly unavailable for the scheduling conference, the Administrative Specialist may conduct that conference.

At least one attorney per party admitted pro hac vice must participate in the scheduling conference.

Trial Scheduling Orders:

President Judge Jurden uses her standard Trial Scheduling Order (TSO) for most civil cases. The TSO sets forth firm deadlines. Failure to meet deadlines, without good cause, may result in the Court's refusal to allow extensions. TSO amendments must be made by (1) appropriate motion or (2) joint stipulation, and ordered by the Court. If a party seeks to extend discovery or expert deadlines, without affecting remaining scheduled dates, the motion or stipulation should so state.

CCLD Case Management Orders

President Judge Jurden uses her standard CCLD CMO for most CCLD cases. The CMO sets forth firm deadlines. Failure to meet deadlines, without good cause, may result in the Court's refusal to allow extensions. CMO amendments must be made by (1) appropriate motion or (2) joint stipulation, and ordered by the Court. If a party seeks to extend discovery or expert deadlines, without affecting remaining scheduled dates, the motion or stipulation should so state.

Appeals from Administrative Agencies, Boards, Commissions and Courts:

If there is an unusual delay in the preparation of the record, counsel for appellant(s) should write to the Court to advise of the delay. President Judge Jurden may take appropriate action to accelerate this process pursuant to Superior Court Appellate Administrative Order, March 21, 1995.

Oral argument is usually held in administrative appeals only if requested. The Court may convene a teleconference with counsel after the case's assignment to discuss its possible resolution.

 

Case citations shall use Westlaw format for unreported decisions where possible; the Superior Court does not presently have ready capability to utilize Lexis. Exhibits and unreported cases not cited in Westlaw should be physically attached to the briefs and motions unless impractical because of their volume, in which case a separate compendium will be appropriate. When responding to a motion, avoid using terms and phrases typically used in answers to complaints (Admitted, Denied as Stated, etc.) in numbered paragraphs corresponding to the numbered paragraphs in the motion. All motions and briefing should be in 14 pt font.

Routine Motions:

Routine Motions are defined in Paragraph IV.B.3.a. of the NCC Plan. President Judge Jurden hears routine motions every Wednesday at 9:15 a.m. She may decide to hear a routine motion at a different time, and will so advise counsel. An attorney should contact President Judge Jurden if that attorney believes the complexity or length of the argument suggests that another date and trial would be more feasible.

Routine Motions must be filed 10 days prior (excluding weekends and holidays) to the noticed date please deliver one (1) courtesy copy to the Prothonotary. Responses are due the Thursday prior to presentation. If no response is timely filed, the Court may deem the motion unopposed and grant the motion in advance.

A motion to continue a trial date shall be scheduled as a routine motion.

If counsel does not oppose a routine motion, non-opposing counsel should promptly notify the Court by letter. If possible, an unopposed motion should represent that non-opposition in the motion itself in which event no further notification is necessary.

Dispositive Motions:

Counsel should notice dispositive motions to be heard at the convenience of the Court. The original motion, response, and reply must be e-filed. No reply may be filed without permission. Two courtesy copies must be promptly delivered to chambers. The motion and response shall not exceed 6 pages, unless permission has previously been granted to exceed the page limit. Counsel who seeks to exceed the page limit should file a letter requesting submission of more pages. If no response is timely filed, the Court may deem the motion unopposed and grant the motion without a hearing. President Judge Jurden's Administrative Specialist will contact counsel via email with a date and time for the motion hearing. Response to the motion shall be filed at least seven days prior to the motion hearing.

Use Exh. B here after obtaining the possible times for oral argument, the scheduled time may be canceled. After reviewing an issue-dispositive motion, President Judge Jurden may order briefing. If no response is timely filed, the Court may deem the motion unopposed and grant the motion. Contrary to the NCC Plan at IV.A.2.c., an appendix may exceed 25 pages as necessary.

Proposed Order:

A Proposed Order must be uploaded separately from any other documents, and filed in editable Word or Word Perfect format.

If a proposed order is not filed with its responsive motion, a Certificate of Service or a letter with 'CC' at the bottom is required to be filed with it.

There must be a line for the presiding judicial officer to sign.

The document title must state with particularity what the proposed order addresses.

The filing must be linked to the documents to which the proposed order refers or applies.

Stipulation:

All Delaware counsel/self-represented litigants must sign a stipulation.

If the Stipulation is fully effectuated but does not need the judge's signature to be implemented, the document type should be 'Stipulation' - this document type does not put the document into judicial review.

Pretrial Stipulations:

Counsel is expected to utilize Superior Court Civil Form 46 for Pretrial Stipulations. All legal or evidentiary issues worthy of pretrial identification and focus should be identified in the stipulation with brief citation(s) of legal authorities relied upon. Legal issues raised in the pretrial stipulation will be resolved at the pretrial conference if possible.

Pretrial Conferences:

Proposed jury instructions must be filed before the Pretrial Conference.

Trial counsel, including pro hac vice counsel, must attend the Pretrial Conference. For good cause, such as distance and/or the nature of the case, pro hac vice counsel may be permitted, upon written request, to participate by phone.

Pretrial Conferences are reported.

Basic Precepts:

Delaware counsel are expected to attend trial. Delaware counsel should at all times be prepared to try the case in the (unlikely) event the Court finds it necessary to revoke pro hac admission.

As trial issues arise, counsel should confer with opposing counsel before bringing the issue to the Court's attention to avoid unnecessary surprise to any other party and to seek resolution of the issue without need of court involvement.

Trial days customarily begin at 9:30 a.m. and conclude at 4:45 p.m., with an hour for lunch (in addition to other shorter recesses). President Judge Jurden will usually meet with counsel in chambers at 9:15 a.m. on the first day of trial.

Counsel desiring a courtroom with specific technology support should contact the Bailiffs' Office (302) 255-0586 or (302) 255-0587 several days before the trial.

Counsel intending to use demonstrative evidence during opening statements should confer with opposing counsel several days before the trial and seek to resolve any issues regarding such evidence.

Court submissions that are likely to be revised by the Court, i.e., proposed jury instructions and voir dire questions, should be submitted in Microsoft Word to President Judge Jurden's Administrative Specialist.

Jury Instructions should be submitted with a Table of Contents.

Counsel should avoid 'speaking' objections. President Judge Jurden ordinarily will address substantive objections at sidebar. Objections as to form will be resolved immediately in the presence of the jury.

 

Court is in session from the time the Judge enters until the Judge leaves the courtroom. Counsel must stand when addressing the Court. Counsel must address the bench, not each other. All coats and materials not immediately necessary for trial must be neatly stowed.

The Court expects all counsel to act in a manner consistent with the highest principles of ethics and professionalism. (See: Guidelines to Help Lawyers Practicing in the Court of Chancery.)

Settlement:

If a pending case is resolved, plaintiff's counsel should notify chambers immediately via e-mail to President Judge Jurden's Administrative Specialist, Case Manager and Law Clerk. Within thirty (30) days of settlement, as a general rule, proper documentation should be submitted to the Court or plaintiff's counsel should file a status report if documentation has not been finalized. However, if a case resolves within thirty (30) days of the scheduled trial, then the proper documentation must be submitted no later than the deadline for the pre-trial stipulation. Cases will NOT be removed from the trial calendar unless a stipulation of dismissal resolving the entire case has been filed with the Court. In the alternative, counsel must make a joint request for continuance of the scheduled trial date.