Judge Profile

Alan N. Bloch

Judicial Experience:

  • Senior District Judge, U.S. District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania, Appointed

Other Professional Experience:

  • Wirtzman, Sikov & Love, 1958 to 1969
  • Flaherty & Bloch, 1969-1979

Education:

  • JD, University of Pittsburgh School of Law, 1958
  • BS, University of Pennsylvania, 1953

Professional Civic Activities/Honors/Awards:

  • Academy of Trial Lawyers of Allegheny County
  • American Bar Association

Staff:

  • Karen Wilson, Administrative Assistant

Rules/Procedures:

  • Do you have any special rules governing courtroom decorum (e.g., addressing the court, dealing with opposing counsel and witnesses, proper attire, etc.)? Judge Bloch requires counsel to be on time for each court session. He also requires counsel to stand as court is opened, recessed, or adjourned; when the jury is sent out for deliberations; and when addressing, or being addressed by, the court. Judge Bloch also requests that counsel does not greet or introduce themselves to witnesses, and that counsel refers to all persons, including witnesses, other counsel and the parties, by their surnames and not by their first or given names. Counsel may either approach the clerk’s desk for purposes of handling or tendering exhibits or may approach witnesses for purposes of identifying and interrogation concerning exhibits without requesting permission from the court, but they must request permission to approach the jury. Counsel should request permission before approaching the bench and any documents counsel wish to have the court examine should be handed to the clerk. Judge Bloch requires counsel address all remarks to the court, not to opposing counsel, and avoid disparaging personal remarks or acrimony toward opposing counsel and remain wholly detached from any ill feeling between the litigants or witnesses. Counsel is not allowed to pace about the courtroom when questioning witnesses.

  • Describe motions practice in your court. Are there any local practices that attorneys should be aware of? Judge Bloch does not permit oral argument with respect to legal issues, but expects briefs for all motions except continuances or extensions of time to file briefs. Judge Bloch will allow counsel to file reply briefs and sur-reply briefs without permission, but these briefs will not be considered if they delay resolution of the motion. While there are no page limitations on briefs, the court encourages counsel to be concise. The Judge prefers that no courtesy copies of motions papers be sent to chambers.

  • Are there any special practices or procedures lawyers appearing before you should know about? Judge Bloch is "fairly liberal" about allowing counsel to re-open a case to present additional evidence, because he believes that cases should be decided on the merits rather than on technicalities. Judge Bloch allows joint counsel to divide their responsibilities with respect to witnesses, but will not allow two lawyers to question the same witness. Also, the lawyer who handles a particular witness must also conduct any redirect or cross examination, make objections, and handle the side bar conferences.

  • Any suggestions, admonitions or recommendations you would make to lawyers appearing before you? Judge Bloch suggests that when counsel makes objections, they should state the objection and the legal basis for said objection. They then should not argue with the ruling of the court on said objection.

  • Can the court be contacted by e-mail? Yes

  • Can the court be contacted by fax? Yes