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Stearns, Richard G.

Born 1944 in Los Angeles, CA

Federal Judicial Service
Judge, U. S. District Court, District of Massachusetts

Nominated by William J. Clinton on October 27, 1993, to a seat vacated by John Joseph McNaught; Confirmed by the Senate on November 20, 1993, and received commission on November 24, 1993.

Education
Stanford University, B.A., 1968
Oxford University, Balliol College, M.Litt (Political Philosophy), 1971
Harvard Law School, J.D., 1976

Staff
Chambers
Career Law Clerk Marsha Zierk
Clerk's Office
Courtroom Clerk Terri Seelye 617-748-9162 terri_seelye@mad.uscourts.gov
Docket Clerk Elaine Flaherty 617-748-9812 elaine_flaherty@mad.uscourts.gov
Court Reporter James GIbbons   jmsgibbons@yahoo.com

Courtroom Number
21, 7th Floor

Courtroom Technology
Contact the courtroom clerk regarding use of this equipment.

The courtroom is equipped with two 50" plasma display carts. One is for the jury, and the other near the witness box in the well for viewing by the rest of the courtroom. There is a DVD/VCR player connected to one of the plasma carts for video playback. In addition, there is a document camera in each courtroom that can connect to the same monitor for displaying physical evidence. If the evidence is electronic, the computer can either be chained into the system through the document camera or connected directly by removing the document camera. Portable video conferencing equipment can be brought in upon request for remote appearances.

Internet access is available upon request and with the consent of the presiding Judge. Click here for more information.

Chambers Procedures/Standing Orders/Sample Orders

Standing Order - Courtesy Copies
Standing Order Re: Related Actions
Standing Order Re: Default Protective Order

Order Setting Civil Case for Jury Trial
Order Setting Criminal Case for Jury Trial
Order Regulating Non-Jury Trial
Notice of Scheduling Conference
Special Order re: Proposed Jury Instructions
Form Jury Instructions (Civil)
Form Jury Instructions (Criminal)

 

USDC Judicial Forum Survey


Match word(s).

    Civil - Case Management

  • RGS Q1: Do you have any specific scheduling order or any particular topics that counsel must address in the joint statement in addition to/or in lieu of the topics required to be addressed under Local Rule 16.1(D) for the initial scheduling conference?
  • RGS A1: Whether the parties expect to utilize experts, and if so, identify the issue requiring expert testimony
  • RGS Q2: If you have a specific scheduling order, please attach your order.
  • RGS A2: Respondent skipped this question.
  • RGS Q3: Do you have any additional requirement(s) as to the attorneys' obligation that they confer with their client(s) about case budget and ADR pursuant to Local Rule 16.1(D)(3)?
  • RGS A3: No
  • RGS Q4: What, if any, inquiries do you make about settlement prospects and/or interest in mediation at the initial scheduling conference?
  • RGS A4: Typically identify a date near the end of the fact discovery to notify the court whether both parties are interested in referral to the court's mediation program.
  • RGS Q5: What, if any inquiries do you make about the liklihood of trial at the initial scheduling conference?
  • RGS A5: None.
  • RGS Q6: What schedule do you set at the initial scheduling conference?
  • RGS A6: Complete pretrial schedule
  • RGS Q7: After the initial scheduling conference, do you hold status conferences?
  • RGS A7: No.
  • RGS Q8: If so, when do you hold status conferences?
  • RGS A8: Respondent skipped this question.
  • RGS Q9: If so, what issues do you address at status conferences?
  • RGS A9: Respondent skipped this question.
  • Civil - Discovery

  • RGS Q10: Other than the requirements under Local Rule 16.1(D) for addressing certain discovery topics in the parties' joint statement, what, if any, discovery issues do you like counsel to be prepared to address at the initial scheduling conference?
  • RGS A10: Willingness to participate in the court's mediation program at the close of fact discovery; willingness to proceed before the magistrate judge; intention to utilize expert witnesses.
  • RGS Q11: What, if any, issues related to electronically stored information should counsel be prepared to address at the initial scheduling conference?
  • RGS A11: Form and extent of discovery
  • RGS Q12: If the parties intend to file a proposed protective order, do you require any particular format and/or a specific time for doing so?
  • RGS A12: Suited to the litigation -- execute one sooner rather than later to facilitate timely discovery
  • RGS Q13: Under what circumstances would you consider a bifurcation of discovery ?
  • RGS A13: sizeable class discovery; MDL
  • RGS Q14: Given the new requirement under Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1) regarding the proportionality of the scope of discovery, what, if any inquiry do you make about this issue at the initial scheduling conference?
  • RGS A14: none; considered in analyzing a motion to compel
  • RGS Q15: Other than the requirement that the parties confer in good faith to narrow the issues before filing any discovery motion under Local Rule 37.1(A), what, if any, additional requirements do you make of counsel before considering discovery motions?
  • RGS A15: As members of the bar, to have made best efforts to produce all appropriate discovery.
  • RGS Q16: Typically, do you resolve discovery motions or do you refer them to the magistrate judge?
  • RGS A16: I typically resolve them.
  • RGS Q17: Do you typically hold a hearing on discovery?
  • RGS A17: No.
  • RGS Q18: Please describe your general practice regarding the resolution of discovery motions.
  • RGS A18: Timely ruling on the papers.
  • RGS Q19: Under what circumstances will you consider emergency motions regarding discovery matters?
  • RGS A19: A party can make a request, as part of their filing, for a shortened response period.
  • RGS Q20: Do you have any particular practices or requirements about expert disclosures?
  • RGS A20: Experts are limited, at trial, to testify within scope of their reports. Treating physicians not considered experts in that they can produce their relevant records early in fact discovery in lieu of a Rule 26 report.
  • RGS Q21: What, if any, expert discovery deadlines do you set at the initial scheduling conference? When do you typically set a schedule for the filing of Daubert motions?
  • RGS A21: If a case appears to require expert discovery or if the parties agree, the court will typically permit a period for exchange of reports and expert deposition following the completion of fact discovery. If the use of experts is uncertain, the court may set alternative dates for dispositive motions. I have not set deadlines for Daubert motions.
  • RGS Q22: If the case involves a pro se litigant, do you typically have any different practices in regard to scheduling conferences, status conferences or discovery matters?
  • RGS A22: Depends on the case.
  • Civil - Dispositive Motions

  • RGS Q23: Other than the presumptive pages limits for memoranda under Rule 7.1(b), do you have any other requirements or preferences about the filing of dispositive motions?
  • RGS A23: Reply briefs are permitted only with leave of court.
  • RGS Q24: In connection with dispositive motions, do you require the filing of any courtesy copies of exhibits, depositions and/or other materials in addition to the electronic versions that are filed on ECF?
  • RGS A24: Yes, if the papers exceed 25 pages, I expect courtesy copies delivered to the Clerk's office identifying Stearns Chambers
  • RGS Q25: Do you typically allow reply briefs and/or surreply briefs?
  • RGS A25: Yes, with leave of court.
  • RGS Q26: If you allow reply and/or surreply briefs, do you impose a page limit?
  • RGS A26: Yes, under ten pages
  • RGS Q27: Do you typically hold a hearing on motions to dismiss?
  • RGS A27: Yes
  • RGS Q28: Do you typically hold a hearing on summary judgment motions?
  • RGS A28: If, based on a review of the papers a hearing will be helpful
  • RGS Q29: If you typically hold hearings on dispositive motions, what, if any, time limits do you impose on counsel for their arguments?
  • RGS A29: Depends on the subject matter.
  • RGS Q30: Under what, if any, circumstances, would you allow the filing of post-argument briefs?
  • RGS A30: If the state of the law is in flux or if the case depends on additional circumstances not reasonably ascertainable at the time of the hearing; the court typically seeks briefs and arguments after the testimony in a bench trial
  • Civil - Patent Cases

  • RGS Q31: Do you have any standing order and/or any particular practice regarding the management of patent cases? If so, please describe them.
  • RGS A31: typically follow the local rule 16.6 schedule of events - will enter a scheduling order through Markman, and thereafter a second order through summary judgment. Parties will be permitted a period to exchange contentions and engage in fact discovery prior to, and a short period after, claim construction.
  • RGS Q32: If applicable, please upload your standing order regarding the management of patent cases.
  • RGS A32: Respondent skipped this question
  • RGS Q33: Do you have particular practice about Markman hearings? If so, please describe them including but not limited to whether you allow tutorial(s).
  • RGS A33: parties are requested to rank the disputed terms by importance and proceed from the most to least important at the hearing, typically parties will be permitted to each give a technical tutorial (if necessary) and proceed alternating term by term.
  • Criminal Matters

  • RGS Q34: Do you handle matters regarding discovery in criminal cases?
  • RGS A34: No.
  • RGS Q35: Do you have any particular practices as to scheduling in criminal cases? If so, please describe them.
  • RGS A35: No.
  • RGS Q36: If a defendant files a motion for release and/or modification of conditions of release after the case has been referred back to the district judge, is it your typical practice to resolve the motion or refer it back to the magistrate judge?
  • RGS A36: I refer it to the magistrate judge.
  • RGS Q37: Do you typically hold a hearing on motions for review of a detention order?
  • RGS A37: Yes.
  • RGS Q38: Do you have any particular practices regarding the filing of suppression motions or hearings on suppression motions?
  • RGS A38: No.
  • General Trial Practice - Pretrial Matters

  • RGS Q39: Do you require the filing of a trial brief?
  • RGS A39: Yes, in both civil and criminal cases
  • RGS Q40: If you do not require the filing of a trial brief, under what circumstances do you think it would be helpful to the Court?
  • RGS A40: Respondent skipped this question.
  • RGS Q41: Do you typically hold an initial pretrial conference in criminal cases? If so, what issues do you want counsel to be able to address at each conference in addition to those addressed under Local Rule 117.1(a)?
  • RGS A41: No.
  • RGS Q42: Do you typically hold an initial pretrial conference in civil cases?
  • RGS A42: No.
  • RGS Q43: When do you set a deadline for the filing of proposed voir dire, proposed jury instructions and/or special verdict form, witness and exhibits lists, motions in limine? Typically, how far in advance of trial are these deadlines?
  • RGS A43: One week before trial (witness list production is not compulsory for the defendant.)
  • RGS Q44: Do you require that proposed voir dire, verdict forms and/or jury instructions be filed in any particular form (i.e., courtesy electronic copy to your deputy clerk in Word or WordPerfect format, etc.)?
  • RGS A44: I prefer jury instructions to be submitted in a Word accessible format.
  • RGS Q45: Do you set a page limit for motions in limine? If so, what is it?
  • RGS A45: No.
  • RGS Q46: Do you typically hear motions in limine at the final pretrial conference?
  • RGS A46: Only if a hearing is deemed helpful.
  • RGS Q47: Do you typically resolve motions in limine at the final pretrial conference?
  • RGS A47: Typically in advance.
  • RGS Q48: Do you typically hear and/or resolve Daubert motions at the final pretrial conference?
  • RGS A48: Typically well prior to trial
  • RGS Q49: Do you require the parties to provide a courtesy copy of trial exhibits to the Court before trial?
  • RGS A49: Yes.
  • RGS Q50: If courtesy copies of trial exhibits are required, when do you require them?
  • RGS A50: Only those agreed to by the parties a week prior to trial
  • RGS Q51: If courtesy copies of trial exhibits are required, what particular form is required?
  • RGS A51: In the form they will be offered at trial.
  • RGS Q52: Do you require trial exhibits to be pre-marked? If so, please describe your practice?
  • RGS A52: Yes, agreed to exhibits in numerical order. Objected to exhibits to be identified by sequential letter.
  • Criminal - Scheduling Trials

  • RGS Q53: Typically, when do you set a trial date in criminal cases?
  • RGS A53: Upon the completion of discovery
  • RGS Q54: Typically, when do you set a trial date in civil cases?
  • RGS A54: On a final determination that a dispute of fact exists.
  • RGS Q55: What is your typical trial schedule?
  • RGS A55: There is no typical schedule -- it depends on the circumstances and complexities of the case.
  • RGS Q56: In civil cases, do you set time limits for counsel for opening statements, the presentation of evidence and/or closing arguments? If so, please describe your practice?
  • RGS A56: Opening statements are typically limited to 25 minutes, closing statements to 45 minutes. All civil trials of more than a week's duration are subject to strict time limits.
  • Criminal - Jury Selection

  • RGS Q57: Please describe your jury selection process.
  • RGS A57: In conformity with the applicable federal rules and statutes.
  • RGS Q58: Under what circumstances, if any, have you or would you consider using a juror questionnaire?
  • RGS A58: In a case of unusual duration or notoriety.
  • RGS Q59: If you would consider the use of a jury questionnaire, when and in what form should it be proposed?
  • RGS A59: It depends on the circumstances of the case.
  • RGS Q60: Have you or would you consider allowing attorney voir dire?
  • RGS A60: No.
  • RGS Q61: In civil trials, typically what number of jurors do you seat?
  • RGS A61: 8.
  • RGS Q62: In criminal trials, typically how many alternate jurors do you seat?
  • RGS A62: 2.
  • General Trial Practice - Trial Practices

  • RGS Q63: Do you require counsel to use the podium during openings, examination of witnesses and/or closings?
  • RGS A63: No.
  • RGS Q64: How many rounds of examination do you typically allow?
  • RGS A64: Recross.
  • RGS Q65: Under what, if any, circumstances, will you allow a rebuttal case?
  • RGS A65: If circumstances make it fair and just
  • RGS Q66: Do you have any preferences about the use of chalks during openings and closings?
  • RGS A66: Encouraged if consistent with Rule 1006 and/or 611.
  • RGS Q67: Do you have any particular practice in regard to jury charge conferences? If so, please describe it.
  • RGS A67: Attorneys receive a written copy of the proposed instructions prior to the conference.
  • RGS Q68: Do you provide a written copy of your jury charge to the jury?
  • RGS A68: Yes.
  • RGS Q69: Will you consider counsel's proposals of a special verdict form? If so, should it be in any particular format?
  • RGS A69: Yes. No.
  • RGS Q70: If you have any preferences or practices about pretrial or trial matters that has not been solicited by the prior questions, please describe them here.
  • RGS A70: The court does not hold side bar conferences during trial.
  • RGS Q71: If you have any particular practices as to bench trials, please describe them.
  • RGS A71: I will allow counsel to file proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law.
  • Criminal - Sentencing/Revocation Hearings

  • RGS Q72: Do you require a sentencing memorandum in every case?
  • RGS A72: No.
  • RGS Q73: If you do not require a sentencing memorandum in every case, when would it be helpful to you?
  • RGS A73: When there are extenuating or aggravating factors at issue.
  • RGS Q74: Under what, if any, circumstances, would you consider an expedited sentencing?
  • RGS A74: Minor offenses; immigration matters
  • RGS Q75: Do you have any particular practices regarding the presentation of victim impact statements at sentencing?
  • RGS A75: No.
  • RGS Q76: Under what, if any circumstances, would you consider the postponement of a sentencing hearing?
  • RGS A76: When justice so requires.
  • RGS Q77: Do you have any particular practices as to revocation matters?
  • RGS A77: No.
  • Standing Orders & Miscellaneous Matters

  • RGS Q78: If your session has any standing orders, please attach them here.
  • RGS A78: Standing Order re: Electronic Filing
  • RGS Q79: Order #2
  • RGS A79: Standing Order re: Related Actions
  • RGS Q80: Order #3
  • RGS A80: Respondent skipped this question.
  • RGS Q81: If there is any other guidance about your court practices and preferences that you would like to share with counsel that has not been solicited by any of the prior questions, please provide it here.
  • RGS A81: Respondent skipped this question.

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