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Ponsor, Michael A.

Born 1946 in Chicago, IL

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

Nominated by William J. Clinton on November 19, 1993, to a seat vacated by Frank H. Freedman; Confirmed by the Senate on February 10, 1994, and received commission on February 14, 1994.

U.S. Magistrate, U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, 1984-1994

Assumed senior status on August 15, 2011

Education
Harvard University, B.A., 1969
Yale Law School, J.D., 1975
Oxford University, M.A., 1979

Staff
Chambers
Judicial Assistant Elizabeth Collins
Clerk's Office
Courtroom Clerk Bethaney Healy 413-785-6803

bethaney_healy@mad.uscourts.gov

Docket Clerks Maurice Lindsay
Mary Finn
413-785-6805
413-785-6806
maurice_lindsay@mad.uscourts.gov
mary_finn@mad.uscourts.gov
Court Reporter Alice Moran 413-731-0086  

Courtroom Number
Springfield, Hampden Courtroom

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

Both the District and Magistrate Judge courtrooms are equipped with a fully integrated evidence presentation system with 15" viewing monitors for each attorney table, the witness, the Judge and their staff, and two 40" in wall mounted plasma displays for the gallery. The jury box also has 15" monitors built into the front and back rows of the jury box, one for every two jurors. Evidence being displayed from any source can be annotated from the witness, lectern, and Judges monitors. All attorney tables have the ability to connect both audio and video from a computer through a standard VGA port [laptop/desktop and even Mac/Apple if you have the VGA adapter]. In addition, there are two computer audio and video inputs located at the lectern location. Also at the lectern, is a document camera for displaying physical evidence that is not electronic and a VCR unit. Each courtroom has built-in video conferencing cameras for remote appearances, but only one conference can be made at the same time. A portable video conference unit can also be brought in.

Chambers Procedures/Standing Orders/Sample Orders

Consent Procedures

Standing Order

USDC Judicial Forum Survey


Match word(s).

    Civil - Case Management

  • MAP 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?
  • MAP A1: No. For my session, the Magistrate Judge handles these conferences.
  • MAP Q2: If you have a specific scheduling order, please attach your order.
  • MAP A2: See response to Question 1.
  • MAP 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)?
  • MAP A3: No
  • MAP Q4: What, if any, inquiries do you make about settlement prospects and/or interest in mediation at the initial scheduling conference?
  • MAP A4: See response to Question 1.
  • MAP Q5: What, if any inquiries do you make about the liklihood of trial at the initial scheduling conference?
  • MAP A5: See response to Question 1.
  • MAP Q6: What schedule do you set at the initial scheduling conference?
  • MAP A6: Generally, I expect the Magistrate Judge to schedule the Final Pretrial Conference before me, to take place no more than a year following the Rule 16 conference.
  • MAP Q7: After the initial scheduling conference, do you hold status conferences?
  • MAP A7: Yes
  • MAP Q8: If so, when do you hold status conferences?
  • MAP A8: Timing varies according to the needs of the case.
  • MAP Q9: If so, what issues do you address at status conferences?
  • MAP A9: The court will address issues delaying or complicating the case and assist in moving the litigation to trial or settlement.
  • Civil - Discovery

  • MAP 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?
  • MAP A10: See response to Question 1.
  • MAP Q11: What, if any, issues related to electronically stored information should counsel be prepared to address at the initial scheduling conference?
  • MAP A11: See response to Question 1.
  • MAP 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?
  • MAP A12: No
  • MAP Q13: Under what circumstances would you consider a bifurcation of discovery ?
  • MAP A13: I would consider bifurcation when both counsel suggest it for good cause, or where it held out a good chance of moving the case more quickly or more economically.
  • MAP 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?
  • MAP A14: See response to Question 1.
  • MAP 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?
  • MAP A15: Most discovery motions in my session go to the Magistrate Judge. When I handle them, I have no additional requirements.
  • MAP Q16: Typically, do you resolve discovery motions or do you refer them to the magistrate judge?
  • MAP A16: I typically refer them to the magistrate judge.
  • MAP Q17: Do you typically hold a hearing on discovery?
  • MAP A17: No.
  • MAP Q18: Please describe your general practice regarding the resolution of discovery motions.
  • MAP A18: 1. These motions usually go to the MJ. 2. When I handle them, I almost always rule on the papers.
  • MAP Q19: Under what circumstances will you consider emergency motions regarding discovery matters?
  • MAP A19: I have considered emergency motions when there is a clear showing of need.
  • MAP Q19: Do you have any particular practices or requirements about expert disclosures?
  • MAP A20: Generally, I do not permit experts to testify outside the boundaries of their written pretrial disclosure.
  • MAP 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?
  • MAP A21: See response to Question 1.
  • MAP 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?
  • MAP A22: No.
  • Civil - Dispositive Motions

  • MAP 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?
  • MAP A23: I do not.
  • MAP 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?
  • MAP A24: No.
  • MAP Q25: Do you typically allow reply briefs and/or surreply briefs?
  • MAP A25: Yes, but only with a motion for leave to file.
  • MAP Q26: If you allow reply and/or surreply briefs, do you impose a page limit?
  • MAP A26: Yes, If I impose a page limit, it is usually 10 pages.
  • MAP Q27: Do you typically hold a hearing on motions to dismiss?
  • MAP A27: Yes
  • MAP-Q28: Do you typically hold a hearing on summary judgment motions?
  • MAP A28: Yes
  • MAP Q29: If you typically hold hearings on dispositive motions, what, if any, time limits do you impose on counsel for their arguments?
  • MAP A29: I usually do not impose an explicit time, but generally I find that a half hour for each side is enough, except where the hearing presents unusually complicated issues.
  • MAP Q30: Under what, if any, circumstances, would you allow the filing of post-argument briefs?
  • MAP A30: Rarely and only when a matter that counsel could not have anticipated comes up during oral argument.
  • Civil - Patent Cases

  • MAP Q31: Do you have any standing order and/or any particular practice regarding the management of patent cases? If so, please describe them.
  • MAP A31: No, other than the district's practice.
  • MAP Q32: If applicable, please upload your standing order regarding the management of patent cases.
  • MAP A32: Respondent skipped this question
  • MAP Q33: Do you have particular practice about Markman hearings? If so, please describe them including but not limited to whether you allow tutorial(s).
  • MAP A33: No particular practice. I have allowed tutorials in some patent cases.
  • Criminal Matters

  • MAP Q34: Do you handle matters regarding discovery in criminal cases?
  • MAP A34: No.
  • MAP Q35: Do you have any particular practices as to scheduling in criminal cases? If so, please describe them.
  • MAP A35: Exercising my discretion as a Senior Judge, I no longer take new criminal cases.
  • MAP 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?
  • MAP A36: See response to Question 35.
  • MAP Q37: Do you typically hold a hearing on motions for review of a detention order?
  • MAP A37: See response to Question 35.
  • MAP Q38: Do you have any particular practices regarding the filing of suppression motions or hearings on suppression motions?
  • MAP A38: See response to Question 35.
  • General Trial Practice - Pretrial Matters

  • MAP Q39: Do you require the filing of a trial brief?
  • MAP A39:Yes, in civil cases, I do not always require a trial brief, but will do so when it is helpful. This is especially true in non-jury cases, where it is my practice to hear final argument and render my decision immediately upon the close of the evidence.
  • MAP 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?
  • MAP A40: See response to Question 39.
  • MAP 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)?
  • MAP A41: I no longer handle new criminal cases.
  • MAP Q42: Do you typically hold an initial pretrial conference in civil cases?
  • MAP A42: Yes, I will do this, or the Magistrate Judge will handle the initial pretrial conference.
  • MAP 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?
  • MAP A43: Usually one to two weeks before trial. I may set the deadline for motions in limine earlier to accommodate oral argument, if it is needed.
  • MAP 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.)?
  • MAP A44: I have no particular form requirements. They should simply be electronically filed.
  • MAP Q45: Do you set a page limit for motions in limine? If so, what is it?
  • MAP A45: No, I have no specific limit, but I expect these motions and their supporting memoranda to be short.
  • MAP Q46: Do you typically hear motions in limine at the final pretrial conference?
  • MAP A46: Sometimes I hear these motions at the FPTC, but more often closer to trial
  • MAP Q47: Do you typically resolve motions in limine at the final pretrial conference?
  • MAP A47: It is unusual for me to hear and resolve motions in limine at the FPTC. More often, I hear these motions just before trial.
  • MAP Q48: Do you typically hear and/or resolve Daubert motions at the final pretrial conference?
  • MAP A48: Daubert motions may be heard before or after the FPTC depending on circumstances.
  • MAP Q49: Do you require the parties to provide a courtesy copy of trial exhibits to the Court before trial?
  • MAP A49: No.
  • MAP Q50: If courtesy copies of trial exhibits are required, when do you require them?
  • MAP A50: If there are many exhibits, I may want to have courtesy copies a few days prior to trial.
  • MAP Q51: If courtesy copies of trial exhibits are required, what particular form is required?
  • MAP A51: I do not require a particular form.
  • MAP Q52: Do you require trial exhibits to be pre-marked? If so, please describe your practice?
  • MAP A52: No, If counsel wish to pre-mark exhibits, I allow it. My preference, however, is to mark exhibits in the order they are offered at trial.
  • Criminal - Scheduling Trials

  • MAP Q53: Typically, when do you set a trial date in criminal cases?
  • MAP A53: See answer to Question 35.
  • MAP Q54: Typically, when do you set a trial date in civil cases?
  • MAP A54: At the status conference (once fact discovery is complete) if there is not going to be a motion for summary judgment. If there is a summary judgment motion, after I resolve the motion.
  • MAP Q55: What is your typical trial schedule?
  • MAP A55: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. I will extend the day, however, if the trial starts to run longer than expected.
  • MAP 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?
  • MAP A56: I try to keep opening statements to twenty minutes, closings to 30-45 minutes. These boundaries are flexible where the case is long or very complex.
  • Criminal - Jury Selection

  • MAP Q57: Please describe your jury selection process.
  • MAP A57: I put 14 jurors in the box and conduct voir dire myself, considering suggested questions from counsel. When I have 14 qualified jurors, counsel may exercise their challenges, usually three each.
  • MAP Q58: Under what circumstances, if any, have you or would you consider using a juror questionnaire?
  • MAP A58: Special circumstances are required, including for example a trial where racial issues may be prominent.
  • MAP Q59: If you would consider the use of a jury questionnaire, when and in what form should it be proposed?
  • MAP A59: I will set a schedule for counsel to submit their proposed questionnaire and respond to their adversary's proposal. I usually draft my own version of the questionnaire, using counsel's input.
  • MAP Q60: Have you or would you consider allowing attorney voir dire?
  • MAP A60: Yes, I've only used it in my death penalty trial. I do allow informal attorney voir dire, to a very limited extent, at side bar, where I am questioning an individual juror about a sensitive issue.
  • MAP Q61: In civil trials, typically what number of jurors do you seat?
  • MAP A61: 8.
  • MAP Q62: In criminal trials, typically how many alternate jurors do you seat?
  • MAP A62: See answer to Question 35.
  • General Trial Practice - Trial Practices

  • MAP Q63: Do you require counsel to use the podium during openings, examination of witnesses and/or closings?
  • MAP A63: I require use of the podium only during examination of witnesses, not during openings and closings.
  • MAP Q64: How many rounds of examination do you typically allow?
  • MAP A64: Direct & Cross, Redirect, Recross.
  • MAP Q65: Under what, if any, circumstances, will you allow a rebuttal case?
  • MAP A65: I allow this only where something truly unexpected has arisen at trial
  • MAP Q66: Do you have any preferences about the use of chalks during openings and closings?
  • MAP A66: I expect counsel to run them past opposing counsel and me before using them.
  • MAP Q67: Do you have any particular practice in regard to jury charge conferences? If so, please describe it.
  • MAP A67: The charging conference occurs directly upon the close of all the evidence.
  • MAP Q68: Do you provide a written copy of your jury charge to the jury?
  • MAP A68: Yes
  • MAP Q69: Will you consider counsel's proposals of a special verdict form? If so, should it be in any particular format?
  • MAP A69: I require counsel to submit a proposed special verdict form if they want the jury to use one. It should be submitted in a form suitable for submission to the jury.
  • MAP 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.
  • MAP A70: None
  • MAP Q71: If you have any particular practices as to bench trials, please describe them.
  • MAP A71: I like trial memoranda in non-jury cases. At the close of the evidence I expect counsel to be ready to offer final argument. Usually, I issue oral findings and rulings and my verdict immediately.
  • Criminal - Sentencing/Revocation Hearings

  • MAP Q72: Do you require a sentencing memorandum in every case?
  • MAP A72: I no longer handle new criminal cases.
  • MAP Q73: If you do not require a sentencing memorandum in every case, when would it be helpful to you?
  • MAP A73: See response to Question 72.
  • MAP Q74: Under what, if any, circumstances, would you consider an expedited sentencing?
  • MAP A74: See above.
  • MAP Q75: Do you have any particular practices regarding the presentation of victim impact statements at sentencing?
  • MAP A75: See above.
  • MAP Q76: Under what, if any circumstances, would you consider the postponement of a sentencing hearing?
  • MAP A76: See above.
  • MAP Q77: Do you have any particular practices as to revocation matters?
  • MAP A77: I do not handle revocation hearings.
  • Standing Orders & Miscellaneous Matters

  • MAP Q78: If your session has any standing orders, please attach them here.
  • MAP A78: Respondent skipped this question
  • MAP Q79: Order #2
  • MAP A79: Respondent skipped this question
  • MAP Q80: Order #3
  • MAP A80: Respondent skipped this question
  • MAP 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.
  • MAP A81: Respondent skipped this question

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