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September 18, 2014
SUPERIOR COURT
Judge Andrea L. Rocanelli
Civil Case Management Preferences
Communications & Contacts Click Panel to Open
Contacts:
* Kristin Dangello, Administrative Specialist . Chambers . 302.255.2306
  * Linda Rizzo, Judicial Civil Case Manager . Prothonotary's Office . 302.255.0787
  * Mackenzie Wrobel, Law Clerk . Chambers . 302.255.2362  

All communication addressed to the Court or court staff, whether by motion, letter, or email, must include the name of the case, the civil action number, and should identify the party represented by Delaware counsel communicating with the court.

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. Whenever possible, Judge Rocanelli prefers requests for court action to be submitted by motion rather then by letter with a proposed Form of Order or Stipulation attached so that 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 Rocanelli. All correspondence must be signed by a Delaware attorney in the law firm of the attorney of record and copied to opposing counsel.

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

Email messages may be directed to Judge Rocanelli either (a) with Judge Rocanelli's prior approval; or (b) when exigent circumstances exist. Under these circumstances, email messages must be copied to all Delaware counsel of record, Judge Rocanelli's Administrative Specialist and Judge Rocanelli's Law Clerk. However, this does not preclude administrative emails to Court staff. Email to Judge Rocanelli is not appropriate and will not be accepted when one or more parties are self-represented.

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

Judge Rocanelli makes every effort to be available by teleconference to resolve disputes that arise during depositions, or to address other matters requiring expedited consideration.

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

Initial Stages
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, counsel will be contacted by the Judge's Administrative Specialist via email to set a trial date. The Court will then issue a Trial Scheduling Order via File & Serve.

If any of the parties are self-represented, the Court will set up a scheduling conference to take place in the courtroom on the record.


TRIAL SCHEDULING ORDERS: Civil cases will be scheduled for trial in the FIRST and THIRD quarters of each calendar year. Unless otherwise noted in the case scheduling order, a standard Trial Scheduling Order will be used for civil cases. These Orders establish firm deadlines. Failure to meet deadlines, without good cause, may result in the Court's refusal to allow extensions. Requests for amendment of scheduling and management orders must be made: (1) by appropriate motion; or (2) by joint stipulation to be considered by the Court, if the proposed amendments do not affect any dates requiring Court action (such as hearings on dispositive motions, pretrial conferences, or trial dates). 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 problem. Judge Rocanelli 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.

Motions & Briefing
FORMATTING: Contrary to Superior Court Civil Rule 107(b) all briefs and motions must have one-inch margins and be written in 14 pt. type and double-spaced. Exhibits to briefs, chambers copies of motions, or letters, must be individually tabbed. Briefs, exhibits, or appendices must be stapled or bound. Judge Rocanelli strongly prefers bindings that will permit the brief to lay flat when opened.

Case citations shall use Westlaw format for unreported decisions where possible. (The Superior Court presently does not have ready capability to utilize Lexis.)

Judge Rocanelli neither needs nor requires a compendium of unreported authorities, so long as such cases or other authority are available on Westlaw.

ROUTINE MOTIONS: Routine Motions are defined in Paragraph IV.B.3.a. of the NCC Plan
. Judge Rocanelli hears routine motions every Tuesday at 9:00 a.m. The routine motions calendar is designed to resolve each motion in no more than 10 minutes. Counsel may contact Judge Rocanelli's Administrative Specialist if the complexity of the motion requires a longer hearing. Routine Motions must be filed 10 days (excluding weekends and holidays) prior to the noticed date. Responses are due the Wednesday before the noticed hearing. A courtesy copy of both the motion and response must be filed in chambers. If no response is timely filed, the Court may deem the motion unopposed and grant the motion without a hearing. 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 so notify the court by letter. If possible, an unopposed motion should represent that the motion is not opposed in the motion itself (if such non-opposition is known to the movant) 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. Judge Rocanelli'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.
Pretrial/Evidentiary Matters
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. Proposed jury instructions should be submitted with the pre-trial stipulation so they may be discussed at the Pre-Trial Conference. Legal issues raised in the pretrial stipulation will be resolved at the pretrial conference if possible.

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. Pre-trial conferences are reported.

MOTIONS IN LIMINE: Any particularly significant evidentiary issue, including Daubert issues, should be raised by motion in limine. The Court's scheduling order will address deadlines for filing motions in limine. Motions in limine are typically decided on a paper record.

Trials
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 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 other shorter recesses).

Counsel desiring a courtroom with specific technology support should contact the Bailiffs' Office 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. (However, in cases involving a high volume of exhibits, hard copies may not be feasible.)

The Court encourages the use of joint exhibits, whenever possible. Witness binders are helpful. All 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.

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 Judge Rocanelli's Administrative Specialist and Case Manager. Jury instructions should be submitted with a Table of Contents.

Counsel should avoid 'speaking' objections. Judge Rocanelli ordinarily will address substantive objections at sidebar. Objections as to form will be resolved immediately in the presence of the jury.
Courtroom Proceedings
COURTROOM PROCEEDINGS: 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.)

Settlements
COURTROOM PROCEEDINGS: If a pending case is resolved, Plaintiff's counsel should notify Chambers immediately via email to Judge Rocanelli's Administrative Specialist, Case Manager and Law Clerk. As a general rule, proper documentation should be submitted to the Court within (30) thirty days of settlement. If a case resolves within (30) thirty days of a scheduled trial, the Court may require the documentation by the close of business on the day prior to the scheduled trial.