To inquire about scheduling a matter before Judge Sargent, counsel should contact Judge Sargent's case manager and scheduling clerk, Ella Surber (tel.: 276-628-5116, email:, fax: 276-628-1028), or, in her absence, Felicia Clark (tel.: 276-628-5116, email:, fax: 276-628-1028).

In criminal matters, counsel should appear at the initial appearance and arraignment with available dates for trial and final pretrial conference. At that time, a trial date within the time allowed by the Speedy Trial Act will be set. A date for a final pretrial conference before the magistrate judge approximately 14 days before trial also will be set.

Once an Answer has been filed in a civil matter, Judge Sargent’s judicial assistant, Robin Bordwine, will contact counsel by email to arrange a Scheduling Conference by telephone conference call. The Scheduling Conference is expected to result in a firm trial date, as well as the fixing of discovery and dispositive motions deadlines. Counsel are directed to confer prior to the Scheduling Conference and agree as to the following:

  1. The expected length of the trial;
  2. Suggested trial dates and discovery and dispositive motion deadlines; and 
  3. Whether mediation by a magistrate judge of this court may be helpful in attempting to resolve the case, and if so, when mediation should be ordered.

Counsel also are directed to confer regarding discovery and to file their Joint Rule 26(f) Report with the court prior to the Scheduling Conference. Please see the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 26(f) for further instruction. A copy of Judge Sargent’s Civil Scheduling Order may be found under the forms section

In civil matters, as soon as a case has matured, Judge Sargent will normally enter a proposed standard jury scheduling order, fixing the trial date and setting various pretrial deadlines.  If no jury has been demanded, a proposed standard nonjury scheduling order will be entered, setting a date for a bench trial. Unless objection is made within 10 days of the date of entry, the proposed order will constitute the scheduling order in the case, and may not be changed without the permission of the court.

If counsel desires to be heard on a motion, a request for hearing should be made in either the motion or the response to the motion.  If no such request for a hearing is made, the court will assume the matter is to be decided on the parties' written submissions. On request, Judge Sargent will permit counsel to appear by telephone or video conferencing.