Table of Contents

Rules of the Court

Case Management

(A) Case Management. The purpose of this rule is to establish a system for case management that will provide the expeditious, fair, and impartial administration of cases. These rules shall be construed and applied to eliminate unnecessary delay and expense for all parties involved in the court justice system. For both civil and criminal cases, the Court will attempt to schedule hearings, pretrial conferences, and trials to accommodate attorney’s schedules and to avoid unnecessary conflicts with other courts. Although the Court will attempt to schedule trials and hearings to accommodate counsel and witnesses, it is the primary responsibility of the party or counsel to make diligent efforts to notify the witness, including police officers, building inspectors, or other city employees of the scheduled date and to also promptly file a motion to continue if a witness is not available.

(B) Traffic and Criminal Cases.

(1) Pretrial Conferences. After the initial appearance, all misdemeanors shall be timely scheduled for a pretrial conference by the assignment commissioner at the request of the defendant, prosecutor, or by the Court’s motion. The pretrial conference shall be conducted in accordance with Criminal Rule 17.1 and, if necessary or ordered, a memorandum of the matters agreed upon should be filed in the case. Any attorney who fails to appear for pretrial conference without just cause being shown may be subject to sanctions, including imposition of costs and/or removal from the case. Failure of the defendant to appear for pretrial conference may result in the issuance of a warrant for the defendant’s arrest. If the parties cannot resolve the case, then the case should be set for trial before the Court unless a jury is timely demanded. By request of counsel or by Court order, additional pretrial conferences may be conducted.

(2) Motions. All motions shall be made in writing and accompanied by a written memorandum containing the arguments of counsel. Motions must be filed within the time limits established by the Ohio Rules of Criminal Procedure. If a defendant or defense counsel intends to file a motion to suppress evidence, timely notice should be provided to the Court so that an evidentiary hearing can be scheduled, if applicable. Generally, the motion to suppress should be filed at least ten (10) days before the scheduled hearing, unless a different time is ordered by the Court.

(3) Trials. Each case not resolved at a pretrial conference shall be set for trial in Court. If a jury demand is timely filed, then the case will be moved to the jury trial schedule.

(4) Sentencing. Sentencing shall be conducted after the trial unless a pre-sentence report is requested. If the Court or counsel requests the pre-sentence report, the Court will set the hearing for sentencing as soon as practicable upon receipt of that report.

(C) General Civil Cases.

(1) Summons. The summons and complaint shall be served following the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure. In the event there is a failure of service, the Clerk of Court shall timely notify the counsel or the party if there is no counsel. Failure to instruct the Court and make good faith efforts to obtain service of summons within six (6) months from the date the case has been filed, then the case may be dismissed in accordance with Civil Rule 4(E).

(2) Service. Upon proof of service of the summons and complaint and no appearance by the defendant or other action taken by the parties on the case, the case may be set for trial, with notice to the plaintiff that a motion for default judgment may be filed at least seven (7) days before the date of trial.

(3) Responsive Pleadings. After any responsive pleading is filed, the case shall be scheduled for a hearing, pretrial conference, or trial.

(4) Motions. All motions must be in writing and accompanied by a written memorandum containing citations or the arguments of counsel. Opposing counsel shall respond in writing within fourteen (l4) days of service of the motion unless a different time is set by Court order. All motions will be considered submitted at the end of the required period unless time is extended by the Court.

(5) Pretrial Conferences. For this rule, “pretrial conference” shall mean a court-supervised conference chiefly designed to produce an amicable settlement. The term “party” or “parties” means the party or parties to the action, and/or their attorney of record. Notice of pretrial conference shall be timely given to all counsel of record by mail, electronic or facsimile transmission, or by telephone from the Assignment Commissioner. Counsel attending the pretrial conference must have complete authority to stipulate items of evidence and must have full settlement authority or have their clients available to do so. The primary purpose of the pretrial conference shall be to discuss settlement, discovery schedules and deadlines, and trial preparation. Pretrial conferences may be in person or by telephone, as ordered by the Court. The Court shall attempt to narrow legal issues, to reach stipulations of facts in controversy, and, in general, shorten the time and expense of the trial. The Court may file a pretrial statement to become part of the record and the case embracing all stipulations, admissions, and other matters that have come before it in the pretrial. The Court shall, at that time, determine whether trial briefs should be submitted and shall set a date when they are to be filed. If the case cannot be settled at pretrial, then the case will be set for trial at a time agreeable to all parties.

(6) Failure to Appear. The Judge or Magistrate presiding at a pretrial conference or trial shall have the authority to dismiss the action for want of prosecution on motion of the defendant upon failure of the plaintiff, and/or their counsel to appear in person at any pretrial conference or trial, or order the plaintiff to proceed with the case and to decide and determine all matters ex parte upon failure of the defendant to appear in person or by counsel at any pretrial conference or trial as required, or to make any other order as the Court may deem appropriate under all the circumstances.

(7) Continuances.

(a) Motions for Continuance. All motions for continuance shall be submitted to the Court in writing and shall include a brief statement explaining the reasons for continuance. No continuance shall be granted without reasonable notice or consent of the other party(s) or their counsel.

(b) Notice of Conflict. When a continuance is sought because counsel is scheduled to appear in another case assigned for hearing on the same date in another Court, counsel shall attach a copy of the notice received from the other Court. Motions for continuance sought due to a conflict in hearing or trial schedules shall be ruled upon in accordance with Rule 41(B) of the Rules of Superintendence for the Courts of Ohio.

(c) Good Cause. Motions for continuance, when submitted per the above, will be granted at the discretion of the Court for good cause shown. A motion for continuance that has not been ruled on by the date of the hearing shall be considered denied.

(D) Forcible Entry and Detainer Cases.

(1) Second Cause. Cases for forcible entry and detainer shall not include claims or counterclaims for monetary damages. Claims for money damages shall be filed as separate civil actions and will be assessed with a separate filing fee. The Court shall hear each case separately.

(2) Hearings. Forcible entry and detainer cases shall be set for hearing before the Judge or Magistrate according to the time limits outlined in the Ohio Revised Code. The Ohio Rules of Evidence and the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure apply to these hearings. The complaint shall be accompanied by evidence of current proof of ownership of the property. Summons in forcible entry and detainer cases will be served in accordance with the Ohio Revised Code.

(3) Move-Out. In forcible entry and detainer cases, in which the Court has issued a writ of restitution, the Bailiff shall schedule the move-out and shall attend the execution of the writ of restitution but shall not make advanced arrangements for movers or conduct the physical removal of the defendant’s personal property. The plaintiff or their agent shall be present at the move-out and either secure movers or make other arrangements for the removal of the defendant’s property. The plaintiff or their agent shall arrange for the storage of the post-move-out property for not less than 30 days. The plaintiff shall comply with Ohio Revised Code 1923. Nothing in this rule shall prevent a party from recovering the costs of restitution of the premises in a separate action for monetary damages.

(4) Jury Demand. If a jury demand is filed in a forcible entry and detainer case, the defendant requesting the jury trial shall be required to post a sufficient bond in accordance with R.C. 1923.08 and Local Rule 9.

(E) Small Claims Cases.

(1) Small Claims Complaint. A small claims action commences by filing a small claims complaint pursuant to R.C. 1925.04. No defendant is required to file an answer or statement of defense. If the defendant fails to appear for the hearing, after being duly served, then the hearing may proceed without the defendant present. All pleadings will be construed to accomplish substantial justice.

(2) Transfer of Case. Upon the filing of a motion and affidavit by the defending party, as required by R.C. 1925.10, and upon payment of the required cost, the small claim case may be transferred to the regular docket. No transfer will be granted until the filing fee is paid. Requests to transfer, which are made solely for delay, may result in sanctions including dismissal and/or default judgment, as well as attorney’s fees.

(3) Hearing. A small claims hearing may be conducted by the Judge or Magistrate. The Judge or Magistrate shall place all parties who plan to offer evidence under oath and then allow the plaintiff and defendant to state their case. The plaintiff and defendant may subpoena and call witnesses if they desire to do so. The Ohio Rules of Evidence and the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure will not apply to a small claims hearing unless ordered by the Court.

(4) Magistrate’s Reports. After a hearing before a Magistrate, the Magistrate shall review the evidence and issue a report and recommendation to the Court. The Magistrate may take additional time to write a report and recommendation with findings of fact and conclusions of law in support of the recommendation. The extent of the findings of fact and conclusions of law will depend upon the nature of the claims raised and evidence presented, and the sufficiency of the report and recommendation is within the discretion of the Magistrate. The Magistrate’s Report and Recommendation shall be served upon the parties with notice of the fourteen (14) day period to file written objections to the Court. The notice shall also advise the parties that failure to timely file objections is a waiver of any objections.

(5) Objections to Magistrate's Report. Objections to the Magistrate’s Report and Recommendation should be stated following Civil Rule 53, with specificity and supporting documents or transcript when applicable, and the reasons in support of the objections. The Court shall review the objections to the Magistrate’s Report and Recommendation and may issue an order based upon the objections or provide the opposing party the opportunity to respond. Unless the objections are overruled by the Court, the opposing party is permitted fourteen (14) days to respond to the objections unless a different period is ordered by the Court.

(6) Judgment. When no objections are timely filed, the Judge shall review the findings of the Magistrate, and enter the appropriate judgment.

(7) Collection of Judgments. The employees of the Court may assist the prevailing parties in collecting their judgments pursuant to R.C. 1925.13.