United States District Judge for the District of New Jersey
Chambers - 973-297-4851
Courtroom Deputy - RoseMarie Olivieri, 973-645-2157
Court Reporter - Lisa Larson, 973-776-7741
Courtroom - PO 03
HONORABLE JOHN MICHAEL VAZQUEZ
United States District Judge
MAGISTRATE JUDGE ASSIGNMENT:
In Newark, cases are randomly assigned among the Magistrate Judges.
PROCEDURE TO ADMIT COUNSEL PRO HAC VICE
Motions are referred to the Magistrate Judge for disposition.
Motions: Oral argument will not automatically be held on the listed return date. If the Judge grants the request for oral argument, or wishes to hear oral argument on a matter where no request has been made, an order setting forth the date and time for the argument will be entered via CM/ECF.
Sur-replies: Pursuant to Local Civil Rule 7.1(d)(6), no sur-replies are permitted without leave of the Court. Any request to file a sur-reply must be accompanied by an exhibit consisting of the proposed sur-reply. If the proposed sur-reply is not included as an exhibit, the request will be summarily denied. The Court generally rules on a motion to file a sur-reply when deciding the underlying motion.
Summary Judgment Practices: Parties may not file a motion for summary judgment without leave of the Court. A party will only be permitted to file one motion for summary judgement absent extraordinary circumstances, such as a change in the controlling law.
When seeking leave, the moving party must first submit a letter, no longer than three (3) pages, summarizing the party’s substantive argument. The party must also submit the party’s statement of material facts not in dispute pursuant to Local Civil Rule 56.1. Within two weeks of the moving party’s filing, the party opposing the motion must also submit a letter, no longer than three (3) pages, summarizing the party’s substantive argument in opposition. The party opposing the motion must also submit its responsive statement of material facts and supplemental statement of disputed material facts pursuant to Local Civil Rule 56.1. When submitting the initial three (3) page letter, no party has to review the standard for summary judgment. In addition, when submitting the statements of facts pursuant to Local Civil Rule 56.1, the parties shall not attach the underlying material in the record.
Upon receipt of the moving party and opposing party’s submissions, the Court will either grant leave to file by way of text order or hold a conference call with the parties. If leave is granted, the parties are bound by their respective statements of facts pursuant to Local Civil Rule 56.1 that were submitted with the request seeking leave to file the motion, and the Court will disregard any facts relied on in the motion that were not included the their respective statements of facts. As to the motion for summary judgment, Judge Vazquez requires compliance with the length limitations and format requirements for briefs set forth in Local Civil Rule 7.2.
Motions to Seal: In civil cases, motions to seal concerning pre-trial matters are referred to the Magistrate Judge.
Telephone Conferences: Judge Vazquez may convene telephone conferences in lieu of formal in-court hearings on relatively simple motions and disputes.
Adjournments/Extensions: All requests for adjournments or extensions must be made in writing and, in the normal course, should be filed via CM/ECF.
COMMUNICATIONS WITH THE COURT:
Judge Vazquez permits submission of papers via email or fax upon prior approval by the Court. Communications with the Judge’s law clerks are permitted as to requests for additional briefings or any relevant procedural matter. Communications concerning scheduling, extensions, and adjournments are handled by the Deputy Clerk.
COPIES OF PAPERS:
Two courtesy copies of proposed orders, motion papers, briefs, and exhibits must be sent by regular mail to Chambers. Please do not send courtesy copies of letter correspondence.
Trial Submissions: Trial briefs, proposed voir dire questions, lists of pre-marked exhibits, witness lists including the name and address of each potential witness, and requests to charge are generally required to be submitted by counsel 14 days before trial.
Judge Vazquez has standard voir dire questions that he asks in civil and criminal cases. Counsel should first obtain a copy of the questions from the Deputy Clerk before submitting counsel’s proposed voir dire questions.
Judge Vazquez first looks to the Third Circuit’s Model Civil and Criminal Instructions (or the model instructions from the relevant state if state law applies) when considering requests to charge. If counsel’s requests to charge vary from the model instructions, then the requests to charge should be submitted in both a clean and redlined format from the model instructions, accompanied by a computer disc or flash drive with both the clean and redlined format in Word format.
Jury Selection: Written voir dire questions are distributed to the entire jury panel, and each member of the panel will first verbally answer all written questions. Necessary follow-up is conducted in open court or at side bar. The jury panel is then excused from the courtroom. Judge Vazquez will first consider all for cause challenges. Peremptory challenges will then be made. All for cause and peremptory challenges are made outside the presence of the jury panel. Judge Vazquez does not require that a party forfeit any peremptory challenge that could have been, but was not, used in any round where the adversary continues to exercise peremptories, except that back strikes will not be permitted.
Jury Note Taking: Judge Vazquez may permit jurors in lengthy and/or complicated trials to take notes.
Juror Questioning: Absent a joint request by counsel, Judge Vazquez does not permit jurors to submit questions to the Court to be posed to witnesses.
Jury Charges: Judge Vazquez may occasionally charge the jury on substantive matters at the beginning of the trial. At the conclusion of the case, he charges the jury on the substantive law before the closing arguments of counsel. Judge Vazquez provides the jurors with a written copy of the jury charge.
Exhibits: Judge Vazquez normally sends all exhibits admitted into evidence into the jury room except for firearms, narcotics, currency, and the like. If jurors wish to view such exhibits during deliberations, they are permitted to do so in open court.
Use of Evidence that is Electronically Stored and Presented: If counsel intends to present evidence that is electronically stored, counsel must notify the Deputy Clerk at least three weeks prior to trial. Counsel must inform the Deputy Clerk by letter as to any equipment requested from the Court, any equipment counsel will provide (and set up, if necessary), and a list of all electronic devices that counsel intends on bringing into the courthouse.
Conference with Jurors: Judge Vazquez meets privately with the jury after discharge to answer questions and receive suggestions regarding jury service.
Judge Vazquez does not permit the defendant or counsel to review the Probation Department’s recommendations as to sentence.
Judge Vazquez requires that the attorney who is actually assigned responsibility for the litigation appear at all conferences.