Status Hearings and Scheduling Conferences
The court will set all cases for an initial status or scheduling conference within 30 days of the filing of the complaint. At the initial status conference, the parties should be prepared to inform the court of the status of service and report on the possibility of early settlement. A scheduling conference will be usually set at the initial status. Before the scheduling conference, the parties are encouraged to discuss the items set out in the court’s [See Proposed Scheduling
The court recognizes that in some cases, the initial status conference will take place before defendants have filed responsive pleadings. The court, however, expects all defendants who have been served to participate in this process regardless of whether they have yet filed a responsive pleading.
Counsel participating in any manner in the case are required to have filed an appearance (and shall not rely on the appearance of one or more members of the attorney’s law firm) before the date of their appearance in court. See Local
Civil motions will be heard Tuesday and Thursday, 9:30 a.m.
Criminal motions will be heard Wednesday, 9:30 a.m.
The electronic filing of motions must be completed no later than the third business day preceding the day the motion is to be heard.
On the date of filing, a courtesy (paper) copy of any electronically-filed document must be delivered to the Clerk’s Office drop-box next to the north elevator banks on the 20th Floor OR to the drop-box located on the wall next to the door outside the office of Judge Lefkow’s Courtroom Deputy, Room 1932.
Joint, uncontested, and agreed motions shall be so identified in the title and body of the motion. The court will attempt to rule on routine motions without requiring counsel to appear. After checking the website posting after 4:00 the day prior, if a motion is granted or a briefing schedule is entered, the movant should notify anyone else who would be appearing in court on the motion that an appearance is not required. Unless notified by telephone or by posting on the call sheet, counsel are expected to appear in court, even on an agreed motion.
All requests for extension of time must be made upon written motion and noticed for hearing according to the procedures outlined above. Please do not call chambers or the Courtroom Deputy to request an extension of time to file a pleading.
Requests to set a hearing on an emergency motion must be made to the Courtroom Deputy with as much advance notice as possible. All reasonable efforts must be made to give actual notice to opposing counsel. Emergency motions must recite that the movant has made good faith efforts to resolve the emergency with opposing counsel or that despite good faith efforts the movant has been unable to resolve it, and the issue is of such a nature that a delay in hearing it would cause serious harm to a party in interest.
Motions to reconsider should not be routinely filed and will generally be granted only in a narrow set of circumstances. See, for example, Whitten v. ARS Nat’l Servs., Inc., 2002 WL 1332001, at *1 (N.D.Ill. June 18, 2002).
Order of Dismissal
Original paper copies of signed stipulations to dismiss must
be delivered directly to chambers
Dismissal Orders Pursuant to Settlement Agreements
In connection with any settled matter in which counsel desire to have this court retain jurisdiction to enforce any future obligations under the settlement agreement, the parties' stipulation for dismissal of the action with such retention of jurisdiction
must not refer to dismissal "with prejudice" (see Blue Cross v. Am. Express
Co., 467 F.3d 634 (7th Cir. 2006); Shapo v. Engle, 463 F.3d 641 (7th Cir. 2006); and
Lynch v. SamataMason, Inc., 279 F.3d 487 (7th Cir. 2002)).
Unless specifically authorized, or [unless all counsel agree that a letter is the appropriate form of communication under the circumstances] neither counsel nor pro se litigants may communicate about a case by letter to Judge Lefkow. All communications must be made in the form of a motion, brief, or a status report, served on opposing counsel.
Parties are reminded that there is no “order” in which discovery must occur, and that one party’s failure or inability to respond to discovery will not excuse any other party’s prompt compliance. All motions to compel must comply with Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(a)(2). Certification required by the rule shall be made separately from the text of the motion and shall set out specific actions taken towards resolution. Parties are also reminded that the pendency of a motion, such as a motion to dismiss, does not operate as a stay or extension of discovery.
Counsel are reminded that a motion for summary judgment, if denied, imposes additional, avoidable cost on the client. See George v. Am. Airlines, Inc., 378 F. Supp. 2d 870 (N.D. Ill. 2005). Furthermore, trial lawyers need not be loath to try cases. Before a motion for summary judgment is due, the court will set a status hearing to inquire whether the case is truly appropriate for summary disposition. At that status hearing, the parties, having exchanged offer and demand letters, shall be prepared to report on the possibility of settlement. If settlement is not reached or reachable, the movant shall be prepared to identify the legal issues on which judgment as a matter of law would rest, the essential undisputed facts, and the reasoning why these facts entitle the movant to judgment. The parties should expect to be referred to a magistrate judge for settlement discussions before filing a motion for summary judgment.
The court disfavors motions to strike that routinely accompany summary judgment briefs. Motions to strike needlessly complicate and prolong the summary judgment process. If a responding party believes a statement of fact, document or other item submitted in connection with a motion for summary judgment is inadmissible, the party shall object within the Local Rule 56.1 statement, and may briefly so argue within the response brief. The proponent may support the admissibility of the evidence in a reply brief.
Statement of Uncontested Material Facts
Compliance with Local Rule 56.1 is expected. Before preparing a statement of uncontested material facts under Rule 56.1(a), counsel are expected to read Malec v. Sanford, 191 F.R.D. 581, 583-85 (N.D. Ill. 2000); and Buttron v. Sheehan, 2003 WL 21801222 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 4, 2003), for guidance away from the pitfalls that tend to provoke motions to strike, which add unnecessarily to the cost and burden of the litigation.
Memoranda of Law
A memorandum of law that exceeds the page limit of Local Rule 7.1 may be stricken without advance notice to the filer. The parties are expected to make diligent effort to conform to the page limit and file a motion for leave to file an oversized brief only where cause can be demonstrated.
The court will entertain one memorandum of law in support of a motion for summary judgment. This memorandum of law must include and address all of the claims or issues on which the movant seeks summary judgment. Likewise, the court will entertain one memorandum of law in response to a motion for summary judgment, and, when necessary, one reply memorandum of law.
Parties must attach to their memoranda copies of any cited authority that is unpublished in the West National Reporter System and unavailable on Westlaw.
Citations should substantially conform to the format prescribed in
"A Uniform System of Citation ("the Bluebook").
Illinois cases should be cited to both N.E.2d and Ill. App. reports,
and citations should indicate the district of decision. All
citations should include a pin-point citation to the precise
page on which the language appears.
Courtesy copies of exhibits in support of or in opposition to a motion for summary judgment should be tabbed.
Summary Judgment Deposition Testimony Evidence
Parties submitting deposition testimony in support of or in opposition to summary judgment motions are to provide a cover sheet to the deposition stating the name of the witness, the date of the deposition, and the deponent’s title and/or role in, or relationship to, the pending litigation (e.g., “John Doe, plaintiff’s human resources manager” or “Jane Doe, plaintiff’s union representative.”) Also, parties are to provide the court with an entire transcript of deposition testimony submitted in support of their respective positions if not particularly voluminous (i.e., under 100 pages, preferably in the condensed transcript format where multiple deposition transcript pages are reduced to one page). If the entire transcript cannot be submitted in accordance with the above-stated limitation, parties are to provide at least ten pages of testimony before and after the proffered testimony.
This court urges parties to undertake settlement negotiations at the earliest practicable point in the litigation. Parties who desire a settlement conference should request one in open court or by telephone from the Courtroom Deputy.
to Proceed Before a Magistrate Judge
The court strongly encourages counsel to inform their clients of the benefits of having their cases tried before a United States Magistrate Judge. Magistrate
Judge Consent Form
Upon notification of the filing of a bankruptcy appeal, the court will set a status hearing in the case approximately 14 days from the filing date.
Unless directed otherwise by Judge Lefkow, in preparing the Final Pretrial Order, follow the form specified in the final pretrial order appended to Local General Rule 16.1 and Form Local Rule 16.1.1.
The jointly prepared, proposed final pretrial order is to be filed via electronic filing, and should be captioned on the case docket as “Proposed Final PreTrial Order.”
At the same time the proposed final pretrial order is electronically filed, three paper courtesy copies shall be delivered to Judge Lefkow’s chambers. Both these actions are to commence in advance of the pretrial conference date.
A final pretrial conference is held prior to all trials. Trial counsel shall attend and shall have authority and be fully prepared to discuss all aspects of the case including settlement and resolution of all disputes in the pretrial materials. If the parties desire to discuss settlement, they must have a party representative present who has full authority to approve a settlement. The parties will have exchanged demand and offer letters, and engaged in good faith negotiations prior to the pretrial conference.
Trial procedures and final scheduling will also be discussed at the final pretrial conference time.
Counsel participating in any manner in the case, including settlement and pretrial conferences, are required to have filed an appearance (and shall not rely on the appearance of one or members of the attorney’s law firm) before the date of said conference. All attorneys who participate in the trial of the case shall ensure that an appearance has been filed and shall comply with the trial bar requirements of Local Rule 83.11.
At the time of the final pretrial conference, parties who anticipate requesting a daily or hourly transcript of the trial should relay this information to Judge Lefkow’s Court Reporter, Pamela Warren, who can be reached at 312-294-8907. If advance arrangements are not made, the reporter may not be able to accommodate such a request.
Trial procedures shall follow those set forth in this court’s separate Standing Order "Procedures for Trial Preparation."
Instructions and Trial Exhibits
Counsel shall use the Pattern Civil Jury Instructions for the Seventh Circuit, copies of which are available on the court’s website (www.ilnd.uscourts.gov).
Devitt & Blackmar, Federal Jury Practice and Instructions is the preferred source for state law claims. Verdict forms shall be captioned with the case name and number.
The parties are expected to negotiate in a good faith effort to agree on all jury instructions.
If the parties elect to permit jurors to ask questions during the trial, the following jury instruction shall be included with all instructions submitted to the court:
During the trial, written questions by some members of the jury have been submitted to be asked of certain witnesses. Testimony answering a question submitted by a juror should be considered in the same manner as any other evidence in the case. If you submitted a question that was not asked, that is because I determined that under the rules of evidence the answer would not be admissible, just like when I sustained any objection to questions posed by counsel. You should draw no conclusion or inference from my ruling on any question, and you should not speculate about the possible answer to any question that was not asked or to which I sustained an objection.
If counsel requires the use of sound or video equipment, arrangements should be made in advance of the trial date with the District Court Systems Department at 312-435-6045.
After completion of the trial, counsel are directed to make arrangements with the judge’s staff for removal of all exhibits, including binders, easels and audio/video equipment. The cloak room adjacent to the courtroom is not a storage room for counsel’s trial exhibits after the verdict is returned. Any trial materials not removed within 14 days after the trial is finished will be discarded.
All protective orders submitted to Judge Lefkow shall contain the following language:
“No document treated as confidential under this protective order may be filed under seal with the court in reference to a dispositive motion or submitted as evidence at trial under seal, unless the court, on separate motion for good cause shown, grants leave to file or submit into evidence such documents under seal.”
A party who is granted leave to file a document under seal, must file a redacted copy of the document for the public file. A copy of the redacted version must be submitted along with the motion for leave to file.
Arraignments in criminal cases will be conducted by Judge Lefkow on Wednesdays at 9:00 a.m.
To avoid unreasonable scheduling conflicts, counsel must contact Judge Lefkow’s Courtroom Deputy at least one day in advance of a change of plea hearing if the plea is not going forward. In addition, a draft copy of the proposed plea agreement should be delivered to the judge’s chambers at least one day in advance of the date of the hearing.
The same requirements pertain to sentencings - please notify Judge Lefkow’s clerk as soon as possible if a sentencing date needs to be rescheduled.
Persons requesting a daily or hourly transcript of a trial or other evidentiary hearing that may reasonably be expected to last more than one day should contact the Court Reporter at least five business days prior to the first day of such proceedings. Judge Lefkow’s Court Reporter, Pamela Warren, can be reached at 312/294-8907.
|Electronic Submission of a Proposed Order, Agreed or Otherwise
Proposed Orders are technically not to be “filed.” Rather, they are to be “submitted” to the judge to consider, to modify, if appropriate, and to enter electronically. (For example, proposed orders such as stipulated protective orders require court approval before actually being given full effect.) To prevent confusion, such proposed orders must be attached to an e-mail sent to Judge Lefkow’s e-mail address for this purpose:
The subject line of the e-mail must include the case number and name, the docket number of the corresponding motion, if any, and the title or the order that is proposed as indicated on the Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF).
All such documents must be submitted to the court in a format compatible with WordPerfect, which is a “Save As” option in most word processing software. Such proposed orders should also be served on all parties.
In civil cases, proposed draft orders are disfavored other than orders to show cause, scheduling orders and pretrial orders.