Written correspondence from
counsel to the court.
Judge Mariani accepts correspondence submitted via ECF with copies to be
sent to all other counsel. Correspondence, however, should not be used for
communications to the court which request that the court take action on a
pending matter. In such case, the matter should be presented to the court in
the form of a motion with a proposed order.
Preference for the use of
telephone conferences rather than in-person conferences for any category of
conferences scheduled in connection with a case.
Telephone conferences will generally be
acceptable for case management conferences, status conferences, scheduling
and discovery conferences. All other matters which come before Judge Mariani
will normally be addressed through in-person presentations. Generally, the
court will require that all counsel participate in any conference with the
court by the same means, i.e., all counsel participate by telephone or all
counsel be present in person. Exception may be made where one or more
counsel must travel a substantial distance for a conference anticipated to
be of short duration.
Courtesy copies of motions,
briefs, and other writings for chambers.
Judge Mariani adheres to the electronic filing requirement pursuant to
Standing Order 05-6 Electronic Case Filing Policies and Procedures, as
amended. All documents should be filed according to these requirements.
Counsel should not forward any courtesy copies to the court, unless
otherwise directed to do so.
Federal Rule 26 and M.D. Pa.
Local Rule 26.1, et seq. (including your approach to initial disclosures,
discovery prior to the Rule 16 conference) and preferences as to the matters
encompassed within those Rules.
Judge Mariani adheres to Rule 26 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and
the local rules governing discovery.
The extent to which counsel
may influence the length of the discovery period, extensions, trial dates,
Judge Mariani gives counsel a case
management form, which is to be returned to him promptly. That form
establishes an estimated discovery time period, and addresses extensions of
time for litigation matters. Upon receipt of the form, Judge Mariani issues
a scheduling order for the case to proceed in a timely and orderly manner.
The average amount of time
allowed for discovery in a standard track case and the extent to which the
standard amount of time is varied.
Judge Mariani adheres to M.D. Local Rule 26.4, which permits a six-month
time limit on a standard track case. If there are any unforeseen or
unresolved discovery issues, Judge Mariani may make himself available for
Handling of confidentiality
agreements, particularly in light of the Third Circuit’s recent opinions on
the prerequisites for imposing confidentiality agreements.
Judge Mariani adheres strictly to the Third Circuit’s opinions regarding
confidentiality agreements. In addition, Judge Mariani seals most settlement
agreements, unless otherwise agreed to by counsel.
Procedure for scheduling
trials, including whether a date certain for trial is assigned; if so, the
amount of time prior to trial that such a date certain is assigned; and the
extent to which it may be moved during the month in which it has been
Judge Mariani schedules trials in accordance with discussions held with
counsel at the case management conference, where he and counsel agree to a
scheduling order. Except in more complex cases, Judge Mariani attempts to
schedule a trial date within one year of the filing of the action but the
trial date may be earlier, if all parties are amenable.
Trial briefs submitted by
Judge Mariani requires that all
counsel submit trial briefs at the time of the pre-trial conference
outlining all legal issues that may be reasonably anticipated to arise.
Counsel participation in voir
Voir dire is generally conducted by counsel in civil cases and by Judge
Mariani in criminal cases. These procedures may be modified by the court on
a case by case basis.
Whether more than one
attorney may handle trial for a party.
Judge Mariani will allow more than one attorney to participate, but only one
attorney may examine a witness.
Pre-marking of documentary
and photographic exhibits and other demonstrative evidence for trial and the
date upon which exchange of exhibits is to take place, if any.
In accordance with the local rules, Judge Mariani requires counsel to
pre-mark all exhibits, including any type of demonstrative or photographic
evidence, to be introduced at trial. He directs that exhibits be discussed
and exchanged prior to the final pre-trial conference, and if counsel
disagree as to the exchange, the court will discuss the disagreement at the
final pre-trial conference. A party offering more than 20 written exhibits
must provide the court with two copies of those exhibits in loose-leaf
binders. In addition, where a party is offering more than 20 written
exhibits, that party must provide the court with one copy in electronic
format for use in connection with the Jury Evidence Recording System.
Practice for the receipt of
proposed jury instructions, including the form of jury instruction, and any
divergence from the number of jury instructions permitted by the Middle
District local rules.
Judge Mariani follows the Middle District local rules with respect to
proposed jury instructions. In addition, proposed jury instructions should
be submitted in digital non-PDF format.
Written verdict forms (in the
form of interrogatory questions) to the jury.
Judge Mariani uses written verdict forms for the jury and encourages counsel
to submit proposed verdict forms prior to the conclusion of trial. He
reserves the right to formulate and use his own independent forms.
General approach to
settlement and non-jury cases and use of magistrate judges.
Judge Mariani pursues settlement thoroughly but refers all settlement
discussions in non-jury cases to a magistrate judge or mediator.