Honorable Michael W. Fitzgerald

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District Judge

First Street Courthouse, 350 West First Street, Courtroom 5A, Los Angeles, California 90012

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Recording, copying, photographing and rebroadcasting of court proceedings is prohibited by federal law. A violation of this prohibition may result in sanctions, including suspension of your license to practice before this court, referral to the state bar, denial of the right to appear by video or telephonically at future proceedings, criminal prosecution, contempt, denial of admission to future hearings, and any other sanctions deemed necessary by the Court.

If a hearing will be held on Zoom or by telephone, that information will be docketed prior to the hearing date. Absent such a notification, the hearing will be conducted in person.

Law and Motion Schedule: 

​Civil motions are heard on Mondays at 10:00 a.m.

Criminal motions are heard on Mondays at 1:30 p.m.

(If Monday is a holiday, the next motion date is the following Monday.)

It is not necessary to clear a motion date with the Courtroom Deputy Clerk ("CRD") before filing the motion. Check Closed Motion Dates to the right.

Motions will be heard two weeks after the deadline for filing the Reply. L.R. 7-10. Therefore, Motion papers must be filed and served not later than 28 days before the hearing date. Opposition papers must be filed and served not later than 21 days before the hearing date. Reply papers must be filed and served not later than 14 days before the hearing date. Prior to filing a motion, counsel shall comply with the requirement of conference of counsel under L.R. 7-3.

Judge's Procedures: 

Counsel are advised to review and adhere to the Central District's Civility and Professionalism Guidelines. See www.cacd.uscourts.gov, Attorneys, Attorney Admissions, Civility and Professionalism Guidelines.

All filings should conform to the applicable requirements specified by Local Rule 11. All papers filed with the Court must conform to Local Rule 11-3.1.1, which generally requires typeface of 14 point or larger for Times New Roman and 12 point or larger for Courier.

All discovery motions and stipulations, including those relating to protective orders, are to be calendared before the magistrate judge whose initials appear in parentheses after the case number.

If counsel has a conflicting appearance in the court of a more senior district judge, counsel must e-mail the CRD indicating the time of the appearance, the case name and number, and the name of the other judge. On the day of the appearance, if possible, request the other district judge's CRD to update Judge Fitzgerald's CRD as to when counsel will be appearing in Judge Fitzgerald's courtroom.

Calls regarding the status of submitted motions, stipulations or proposed orders will not be returned. Counsel may determine the status of any submitted motion, stipulation, or proposed order by accessing the docket report through PACER.

Electronic Filing: Counsel shall e-file all criminal and civil filings pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 5(d)(3) and Local Rule 5-4 as follows: Step 1: All non-signature items shall be E-FILED in PDF format. All proposed signature items shall be E-FILED as an attachment to the main document in PDF format. Step 2: All proposed signature items shall be E-MAILED to the chambers' e-mail address at mwf_chambers@cacd.uscourts.gov in Word or WordPerfect format. The case number should be reflected in the subject line. ONLY proposed order signature items should be emailed to the chambers' e-mail address. Do NOT e-mail other associated documents, and do NOT use this e-mail address for communication with the Court or the Clerk.

Under Seal Filings in Civil Cases:  Counsel are ORDERED to follow the procedures outlined in L.R. 79-5. 79-6 and 79-7. See http://www.cacd.uscourts.gov/e-filing/sealed-documents.

Documents may not be filed under seal in matters pending before the district judge based on a discovery protective order signed by the magistrate judge. A separate and additional showing of good cause as to each category of document or information is required. Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(c); Phillips ex rel. Estates of Byrd v. General Motors Corp., 307 F.3d 1206, 1212 (9th Cir. 2002).

An application to file documents under seal must meet the requirements of Local Rule 79-5 (Confidential Court Records).  Documents that are not confidential or privileged in their entirety should not be filed under seal if the confidential portions can be redacted and filed separately with reasonable amount of effort.

There is a strong presumption of access in civil cases.  Foltz v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 331 F.3d 1122, 1135 (9th Cir. 2003).  For each document or other type of information sought to be filed under seal, the party seeking protection must identify and discuss the factual or legal justification for the Court to find "good cause" or "compelling reasons," as appropriate, that such document or type of information should be protected.  Kamakana v. City and County of Honolulu, 447 F.3d 1172, 1179-80 (9th Cir. 2006).

Sealing must be justified for each individual item to be sealed or redacted; blanket claims of confidentiality are not allowed and will result in the denial of the application to seal.  Counsel is strongly encouraged to consider carefully whether sealing or redacting is required for a given piece of evidence or argument.  The inclusion of clearly meritless requests to seal or redact documents may result in the complete rejection of an application to seal.

The Court does NOT require mandatory chambers copies of under seal filings. If a chambers copy is needed, counsel will be advised to provide it.

Under Seal Filings in Criminal Cases:

     Request to Seal Document(s) Only, Not the Application and Order:  Electronically file the application to seal and/or declaration giving notice or proof of service.  During the electronic filing process, attach the proposed order to the application.  (Standard filing procedure for filing any application with a proposed order.)

The proposed order shall have alternative proposed orders and a signature line in the event the application is denied:

     1.  Counsel shall publicly file the document(s), if the party wants the Court to consider the document(s);

     2.  Attorney shall retrieve the chambers copy of the document(s); or

     3.  Clerk shall destroy the chambers copy of the document(s).

After electronically filing the application and proof of service, send an email to the chambers generic email at MWF_Chambers@cacd.uscourts.gov containing the .pdf versions of the application to seal and declaration giving notice or a proof of service, a Word version of the proposed order (with proposed alternative denied instructions), and a .pdf of the document(s) to be filed under seal with a caption page clearly marked "UNDER SEAL."  The subject line of the email should have the case number and the words "UNDER SEAL REQUEST."

     Request to Seal the Application, Order and Documents:  Electronically file a NOTICE OF MANUAL FILING indicating that an application to seal, declaration giving notice or a proof of service, proposed sealing order, and under seal document(s) have been submitted to the Court.

Send an email to the chambers generic email at MWF_Chambers@cacd.uscourts.gov containing the .pdf versions of the application to seal and declaration giving notice or a proof of service, a Word version of the proposed order (with proposed alternative denied instructions), and a .pdf of the document(s) to be filed under seal with a caption page clearly marked "UNDER SEAL."  The subject line of the email should have the case number and the words "UNDER SEAL REQUEST."

See the Court's requirements regarding mandatory chambers copies which also applies to under seal documents.

PLEASE NOTE:  The title of the pleadings will be placed on the public docket entry.  For example, "Declaration of John Doe, Exhibit A."  If approved, the document itself will be sealed and not viewable by the public, but the entry (title) will be viewable.  If the title should not be viewable on the public docket, title the document "Sealed Document."

Ex Parte Applications: Ex parte applications can be submitted for routine exceptions to the Local Rules. Ex parte applications solely for extraordinary relief are rarely granted. See Mission Power Engineering v. Cont'l Casualty Co., 883 F. Supp. 488, 490-91 (C.D. Cal. 1995). Applications must be e-filed pursuant to the Local Rules. All ex parte applications shall be sent in PDF version to chambers' e-mail at mwf_chambers@cacd.uscourts.gov along with a Word or WordPerfect version of the proposed order. Both the e-mail to the Court and the application should advise whether opposing counsel will be filing opposition. Applications that fail to conform to Local Rule 7-19 and 7-19.1, including a statement of opposing counsel's position, will not be considered. In addition to the requirements of Local Rules 7-19 and 7-19.1, the moving party shall serve the opposing party by e-mail, facsimile transmission or personal service and shall notify the opposing party that opposition papers must be filed no later than 24 hours (or one court day) following such service. The Court considers ex parte applications on the papers and usually does not set these matters for hearing. The CRD will notify counsel of a hearing date and time, if the Court determines a hearing is necessary. Rulings on ex parte applications will be e-filed by the Court. Sanctions may be imposed for misuse of ex parte applications.

Motions for Default Judgment:  Motion for default judgment papers MUST be served upon all defendants upon whom default judgment is sought at least 28 days before the hearing on the motion.  This requirement applies regardless of whether the relevant defendants have appeared in the action or not.

Continuances: Continuances are granted only on a showing of good cause. Requests for continuances must be by motion, stipulation or application and must be accompanied by a declaration setting forth the reasons for the requested continuance. The declaration also should include whether there have been any previous requests for continuances and whether these requests were granted or denied by the Court. Stipulations extending dates set by this Court are not effective unless approved by the Court. Continuances will not be granted routinely.

Telephonic or Zoom Appearances: The Court may permit appearances by Zoom or telephone for status conferences, scheduling conferences, and motion hearings upon a showing of good cause and/or undue hardship. Any request to appear remotely must be submitted by EMAIL to the Courtroom Deputy Clerk AND all opposing counsel. Alternatively, a Request may be FILED on the docket, and it shall include any opposing party’s objection. All requests must be submitted at least THREE COURT DAYS before the scheduled appearance. If approved, the Courtroom Deputy Clerk will docket the method of appearance (Zoom or telephone) and the necessary login information. Counsel must be available for at least one-half hour before and one-half hour after the time of the scheduled hearing.

Tentative Rulings: Generally, prior to argument, written tentative rulings are provided to counsel on the date of the scheduled hearing. The courtroom is open to the public before calendar call, during which time counsel may obtain such written tentative rulings from the CRD, if available.

Exhibit Tags: Exhibit tags are available on the Court's website: http://www.cacd.uscourts.gov/forms/exhibit-tags-plaintiff-defendant.

Transcripts: For general information on how to order a transcript of any reported or digitally recorded proceeding, contact (213) 894-3015 or visit Court Reporter/Recorder Transcripts section. If you require an estimate of cost for the preparation of a transcript, contact the court reporter/recorder for the desired proceeding. To determine the court reporter/recorder for a particular proceeding, visit www.cacd.uscourts.gov, Clerk Services, Court Reporting Services, Court Reporter Schedule and select "By Date." Once you have determined the correct court reporter/recorder for the desired proceeding, select "Phone List" for contact information.

Interpreters: It is the responsibility of counsel in a civil case to arrange for the services of an interpreter. A list of interpreters can be found at Local Roster of Interpreters section.

In a criminal case, the Court will provide an interpreter at no charge to the parties. The CRD requires advance notice of no less than 24 hours for Spanish language and 48 hours for any other language. The more notice the better, as the CRD cannot guarantee an interpreter on less than one day's notice.

ADR Program: If counsel has received a "Notice to Parties of Court-Directed ADR Program" (form ADR-08), please see General Order 11-10, § 5, which is located in the "General Orders" section on the home page of the Court's website. For information about the Court's ADR Program and Mediation Panel, visit the "ADR" page of the Court's website.

Trial Hours: After the first day of trial, trial days are Tuesday through Friday each week, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., with two 20-minute breaks.


Counsel should not contact Judge Fitzgerald's law clerks or judicial assistant unless responding to an inquiry initiated by chambers.

Law Clerk and Extern Applicants:

Law clerk applicants may submit applications through the OSCAR electronic system (preferred). Applications also may be mailed to The Honorable Michael W. Fitzgerald, United States District Judge, 350 West First Street, Room 4311, Los Angeles, California 90012. Applications are to include a cover letter, resume, law school and undergraduate transcript, and writing sample. Letters of recommendation are also to be directed to this address.

Extern applicants may submit applications to MWF_ExternApps@cacd.uscourts.gov (preferred). Applications also may be mailed to The Honorable Michael W. Fitzgerald, United States District Judge, 350 West First Street, Room 4311, Los Angeles, California 90012. Applications are to include a cover letter, resume, law school and undergraduate transcript, and writing sample.