Judicial Preferences


Judge Abigail M. LeGrow Civil Case Management Preferences


Updated: September 22, 2017

For Attorneys & Legal Staff Only:

Paige Root, Administrative Specialist
Chambers
Phone: (302) 255-0669


Clare Messick, Judicial Civil Case Manager
Prothonotary's Office
Phone: (302) 255-0188


Caleb Johnson, Law Clerk
Chambers
Phone: (302) 255-0639


Fax Numbers:

Chambers Fax: (302) 255-2273 *

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.

General Communication Preferences

All communications addressed to the Court or its staff, whether by motion, letter, or email, must include the name of the case, the civil action number, and the name of the party whom communicating counsel represents.

Any letter to the Court requesting court action of some kind (in instances where a motion is not otherwise appropriate) must state the position of all parties or otherwise must represent that opposing counsel or a self-represented party could not be reached despite reasonable efforts. Whenever possible, Judge LeGrow prefers requests for court action to be submitted by motion, rather than by letter, with a Notice of Motion and Certificate of Service, as well as a proposed Form of Order so the Court can rule electronically. This will expedite court action on requests for relief.

Only Delaware counsel, not legal staff or counsel admitted pro hac vice, may write directly to Judge LeGrow. All correspondence must be signed by a Delaware attorney in the law firm of the attorney of record and must be copied to opposing counsel.

A teleconference with the Court may be requested by contacting Judge LeGrow’s Administrative Specialist. Counsel requesting the teleconference will be expected to initiate the call.

Judge LeGrow makes every effort to be available by teleconference to resolve disputes that arise during depositions, or to address other matters requiring expedited consideration. If counsel anticipates that issues are likely to arise during a deposition, it is helpful to alert chambers in advance.

Comments or questions from lawyers, paralegals, and other legal staff about Judge LeGrow’s preferences are welcome and should be directed to Judge LeGrow’s Administrative Specialist and Civil Case Manager.

 

Email-Specific Preferences

In addition to Judge LeGrow’s general preferences regarding communications, counsel or staff utilizing email should be aware of the following:

All substantive and some administrative emails are docketed and always must include the civil action number. The use of email is not permitted when the case includes a self-represented party, unless previously authorized by Judge LeGrow.

Subject to the foregoing restriction on emails in cases regarding self-represented litigants, substantive email messages may be directed to Judge LeGrow either (a) with Judge LeGrow’s advance approval; or (b) where exigent circumstances so require. Under these circumstances, email messages must be copied to all Delaware counsel of record, Judge LeGrow’s Administrative Specialist, and Judge LeGrow’s Law Clerk.

Administrative email messages should not be sent to Judge LeGrow unless they are not appropriate to send to Court staff. Administrative emails may be sent to Court staff if all parties are represented by counsel and are copied on the email.

 

RELATED CASES: Counsel always should 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 a later-filed, related civil case was assigned to a different judge, please promptly notify the Judicial Case Manager for the judge assigned to the later-filed case.

INITIAL SCHEDULING CONFERENCES: After all responsive pleading(s) are filed, or default judgments entered where appropriate, counsel will be contacted by the Judge's Administrative Specialist via email to select a trial date. The Court then will issue a Trial Scheduling Order via File & Serve.

If counsel believes a teleconference or office conference with Judge LeGrow will be helpful in establishing a schedule, they may request a conference by contacting Judge LeGrow’s Administrative Specialist. If a case requires expedited treatment, counsel should file an appropriate motion and notify the Court as soon as possible.

If any counsel believes a scheduling order should have been issued, and none has been issued, counsel should contact Judge LeGrow’s Civil Case Manager to inquire about the delay. Reminder: a scheduling order is issued only after all defendants or third-party defendants have (1) filed responsive pleadings, or (2) had default judgments entered against them.

If any of the parties are self-represented, the Court will conduct a scheduling conference to be held in the courtroom on the record.

TRIAL SCHEDULING ORDERS: Civil cases will be scheduled for trial in the SECOND and FOURTH quarters of each calendar year. Trial Scheduling Orders establish firm deadlines. Failure to meet deadlines, without good cause, may result in the Court's refusal to allow extensions. Requests to amend scheduling and case management orders must be made:

(1) By Stipulation. The parties may stipulate to modification of a Trial Scheduling Order, subject to approval by the Court. Any requests to materially (i.e., more than a week) shorten the amount of time provided for the Court's consideration of dispositive motions, Daubert motions, and motions in limine likely will be denied absent an explanation from the parties as to why counsel could not, through the exercise of diligence, meet the existing deadline. Parties must use the Stipulated Amended Case Scheduling Order form for any stipulations/proposed orders to amend the Trial Scheduling Order, including the current deadline for each event and the proposed deadline for each event, whether or not the proposed order anticipates amendment of each date. Including all dates on the new TSO permits easy reference going forward.

(2) By Motion. If the parties are unable to agree to a modified schedule, after conferring in good faith, the party seeking modification may file a motion to modify the Trial Scheduling Order, which should be noticed as a routine motion. See above regarding requests to alter materially the deadlines for motion practice.

APPEALS FROM ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCIES, BOARDS, COMMISSIONS AND COURTS: If there is an unusual delay in preparation of the record, counsel for appellant(s) should write to the Court to advise of the problem. Judge LeGrow may take appropriate action to accelerate this process pursuant to Superior Court Appellate Administrative Order, March 21, 1995. Oral argument generally is not held in administrative appeals, but may be requested by counsel or may be scheduled by the Court as Judge LeGrow deems necessary.

FORMATTING

All briefs and motions must have numbered pages, no less than one-inch margins, and be written in Times New Roman 14 pt. type and double-spaced. Briefs, exhibits, or appendices must be stapled or bound. Contrary to the NCC Plan, appendices may exceed 25 pages as necessary. Exhibits to briefs, chambers copies of motions, or letters must be tabbed individually. Judge LeGrow strongly prefers spiral binding or other bindings that allow the brief to lay flat when opened. Please give thought to the size of your courtesy copies; if the bound copy would be more than 3 inches thick, consider separating the copy into two volumes. Counsel are welcome, and encouraged, to use double-sided copying or printing for appendices.

CITATIONS AND COMPENDIA

Citations to unreported decisions should be to the Westlaw citation where possible. The Superior Court presently does not have ready access to Lexis. Contrary to Superior Court Civil Rule 107 (g), if citations to unreported decisions are to the Westlaw cite, Judge LeGrow does not need a compendium of unreported decisions. If counsel does not have access to Westlaw, or if the decision is not available on Westlaw, a copy of unreported decisions should be provided. Even where a compendium is not required, Judge LeGrow finds it useful when counsel provides a compendium of “key” authorities, i.e. those authorities, reported or unreported, the party considers key to resolving the issues before the Court. Counsel are welcome, and encouraged, to use double-sided copying or printing for compendia.

If counsel is relying on a treatise or other secondary source to support an important issue, it is helpful to provide a copy of the table of contents and the excerpt relied upon, unless it is a secondary source readily available to the Court, such as a law review article, Restatement section, or Delaware treatise.

COURTESY COPIES

Two courtesy copies of all motions and briefs must be sent to chambers. Courtesy copies should not be sent until the filing is accepted by the Prothonotary. The cover page of the courtesy copies should have the File & Serve Transaction ID Number printed on it.

ROUTINE MOTIONS

Judge LeGrow hears routine motions every Thursday at 9:00 a.m. Routine motions do not include dispositive motions, Daubert motions, motions in limine, or any other motion that is likely to require more than twenty minutes to resolve. Counsel may contact Judge LeGrow’s Administrative Specialist if a motion that typically would be heard on the routine calendar is sufficiently complex that it requires a longer hearing.

Routine Motions must be filed 10 days (excluding weekends and holidays) before the noticed date. Responses are due the Friday before the noticed hearing. Two courtesy copies of both the motion and response must be sent promptly to chambers. The motion and the response shall not exceed six pages unless the party first obtains permission to exceed the page limit. Parties who seek to exceed the page limit should file a letter, at least two days before the deadline for the filing, requesting permission to exceed the page limit, specifying the number of additional pages sought, and indicating opposing counsel’s position on the request. Judge LeGrow typically rules on such requests within a day.

If no response timely is filed, and all parties to whom the motion relates are represented by counsel, the Court may deem the motion unopposed and grant it without a hearing. If a party does not oppose a routine motion, that party’s counsel should so notify the court by letter. If possible, if a motion is unopposed, the moving party should so state in the motion itself, in which event no further notification is necessary.

MOTIONS IN LIMINE

Any particularly significant evidentiary issue, other than Daubert motions, shall be raised by a motion in limine. Counsel should notice motions in limine to be heard at the pre-trial conference. The motion and response must be e-filed, with two courtesy copies delivered promptly to chambers. Unless a specific order entered in the case provides otherwise, a response (with all supporting authority) is due no later than 7 business days after the motion in limine is filed. Failure to file a timely Response may result in the Court deeming the motion unopposed. The motion and response shall not exceed 4,000 words unless permission previously has been granted to exceed the word limit. Refer to dispositive motions, below, regarding requests to exceed the word limit.

DISPOSITIVE AND DAUBERT MOTIONS

Before filing a dispositive motion or a Daubert motion, Counsel must obtain possible dates and times for oral argument through Judge LeGrow’s Administrative Specialist. If a party then does not file the motion within 4 days after obtaining the date and time for oral argument, the scheduled time may be canceled.

After the motion is filed, the Court will issue a letter establishing a briefing schedule. The motion, response, and reply must be e-filed. Two courtesy copies of each must be delivered promptly to chambers. Responses are due 21 business days after the motion is filed. A reply brief may be filed within 5 days after the response. The motion and response shall not exceed 8,000 words, and shall have a notice page indicating the date and time of the motion hearing. The reply shall not exceed 5,500 words, unless permission previously has been granted to exceed that word limit.

Counsel who seeks to exceed the word limit should file a letter, at least two business days before the deadline for the filing, requesting permission to exceed the word limit, specifying the number of additional words sought, and indicating opposing counsel’s position on the request. Judge LeGrow typically rules on such requests within a day.

PROPOSED ORDERS

A proposed order must be uploaded separately from any other documents, and filed in editable Word format. The proposed order must include a line for Judge LeGrow’s signature. The document title must state with particularity what motion the proposed order addresses (for example, “Proposed Order Granting Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment”). The filing also must be linked to the documents to which the proposed order refers or applies.

STIPULATIONS

All Delaware counsel and/or self-represented litigants must sign a stipulation before it will be considered by the Court.

If the Stipulation is signed by all parties, and does not need the judge’s signature to be effective, the document type should be 'Stipulation'—this document type does not put the document into judicial review. All stipulations to alter scheduling orders, to vacate a trial date, or any other matter likely to affect the Court or its schedule require the judge’s signature. When in doubt, counsel should file a stipulation as one requiring the judge’s signature.

PRETRIAL STIPULATIONS: Counsel are 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 wherever possible. Issues that could have been raised at the pretrial conference, or in the pretrial stipulation, but are not, are likely to be deemed waived.

JURY INSTRUCTIONS: Proposed jury instructions are due the Wednesday before the trial date. Counsel shall discuss and attempt to agree upon appropriate jury instructions. If any instruction or portion of an instruction is disputed, or if the parties are requesting alternate instructions, counsel shall include within the proposed instruction a citation to the legal authorities counsel contends support his or her client’s position. Parties may submit during trial additional proposed instructions that may be justified by the evidence presented, or circumstances arising, during trial.

Judge LeGrow will conduct a conference with counsel at 9:00 a.m. the morning trial begins to discuss jury instructions and any other last-minute issues.

Court submissions that are likely to be revised by the Court, i.e., proposed jury instructions and voir dire questions, shall be submitted in Microsoft Word to Judge LeGrow’s Administrative Specialist. Jury instructions shall be submitted with a table of contents.

PRETRIAL CONFERENCES: Trial counsel, including counsel admitted pro hac vice, must attend the Pretrial Conference. For good cause, such as distance and/or the nature of the case, counsel admitted pro hac vice may be permitted to participate by phone if a request is sent to Judge LeGrow’s Administrative Specialist sufficiently in advance of the conference. Pre-trial conferences are reported.

MOTIONS IN LIMINE: See Motions, above.

BASIC PRECEPTS: Delaware counsel are expected to attend trial. Delaware counsel at all times should 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 an 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 begin at 9:30 a.m. and conclude at 4:30 p.m., with an hour for lunch (in addition to periodic shorter recesses), except for the first day of trial, which begins at 9:00 a.m.

Counsel desiring a courtroom with specific technology support should contact the Bailiffs' Office at 302.255.0888 several days before the trial.

Counsel intending to present any evidence via electronic media (e.g., audio, video, DVD, etc.) should: 1) confer with opposing counsel to ensure all necessary redactions or revisions are completed before the start of trial; 2) ensure the media source is compatible with the Court's courtroom technology; 3) ensure that counsel or someone employed by counsel is available and competent to present the evidence at trial; and 4) ensure one copy of the evidence presented (and a transcript thereof, if applicable) is prepared and ready to be marked and submitted as a Court exhibit at the time the evidence is presented. The Court prefers 2 hard copies of exhibits and 2 digital copies. (In cases involving a high volume of exhibits, however, hard copies may not be feasible.)

The Court encourages the use of joint exhibits, whenever possible. Witness binders are helpful. Exhibits should be pre-marked whenever possible.

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


Counsel requiring use of an interpreter shall contact the Court Interpreter Coordinator at 302.255.0166. Counsel, not the Court, is responsible for coordinating the appearance of a court-certified interpreter for all court appearances.

Counsel shall avoid “speaking” objections. In a jury trial, Judge LeGrow ordinarily will address substantive objections at sidebar. Objections as to form will be resolved immediately and 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.