Yes, you may. Often the judge will schedule one on his own motion. I seriously recommend using a lawyer. Lawsuits are not for the untrained. You will be dead meat if you don't know the rules of civil procedure, the rules of evidence, and the applicable law. Think long and hard about trying it pro se.
I am not intending this to be legal advice, because I don't know the particulars of your situation. Call me if you would like to discuss this or other isues.
Yes, but you will need to give a proper reason. Most matters are dealt with by other procedures before trial. The pre-trial is usually very brief and held just before jury selection to pre-admit evidence and discuss motions in limine. If you have some other issue, you need to put it in the form of a motion so the other side has notice of what you want to discuss and can respond. As I always say, you really need a lawyer to help you unless you are in small claims cort.
This is not legal advice. You should always discuss the specifics of your issue in person with an attorney. Be aware that there are time limits on all claims that depend on the kind of claim, so do not delay in seeking an attorney.