Civil Practice Guidelines
The following guidelines are preferences for this court and are not meant to be exhaustive or inflexible. If special circumstances exist, the court will take those into consideration.
II. Ex Parte Communications
- Counsel and unrepresented parties are reminded that court staff are unable, both legally and ethically, to engage in unilateral, or ex parte, communications.
- Court staff cannot, and will not, provide legal advice.
III. Case Scheduling
- Motions for continuance of a trial date, absent true emergency, must be in writing and should be sought well before the final pre-trial conference. If you have a case that appears likely to require a trial, alert Chambers as soon as possible. We will do our best to allow enough time for pre-trial proceedings and try to assign a “firm” trial date.
- When filing motions to amend the Case Schedule, please be sensitive to the Local Rules governing presumptive time to trial for various types of cases, and invest your best effort to comply. Be certain to talk to all other Counsel regarding conflicting vacations or court assignments before approaching the court.
- Any motions impacting scheduling should affirmatively state:
- whether, following consultation with all other counsel, the change is opposed or agreed to;
- the reasons supporting a continuance; and
- the proposed time frame for the continuance (ex. 30 days).
- Decisions regarding trial continuances or changes to the Case Schedule are made solely by the Judge, giving consideration to the complexity and age of the case, plus prior efforts to move the case to timely resolution.
IV. Status and Pre-trial Conferences
- Civil pre-trial or status conferences may be conducted by either the Judge, Magistrate, or Staff Attorney.
- Prior to the final pre-trial conference, trial counsel must confer about the following:
- their willingness to waive a jury and/or have the case heard by the Magistrate;
- the minimum number of days anticipated to conclude the trial and whether time limits will be useful to keep matters moving;
- the number of parties and witnesses participating in trial and any special scheduling needs; and
- any motions to be addressed prior to commencing trial.
- Unless otherwise ordered, clients and insurance representatives need not attend pre-trial proceedings.
- To make a unilateral request to appear by telephone at a pre-trial proceeding, file a motion to the docket. The motion shall indicate whether opposing Counsel objects or agrees.
- If all parties agree to hold a pre-trial proceeding by telephone, they shall contact the Staff Attorney by e-mail, with all parties copied, at least two business days in advance of the scheduled date.
- Loc. R. 47.01 requires Counsel to make every effort to resolve discovery disputes prior to involving the court. This obligation is enforced.
VI. Motions and Memoranda
- All motions should be accompanied by a separate proposed entry. Such proposed entry shall be prepared in Word format and uploaded in the e‑filing system as a separate filing from the motion. Proposed entries attached to motions in pdf format cannot be signed by the Judge.
- When a filing is submitted to the Clerk’s Office, the filing does not instantaneously reach Chambers and could take several days to be received. Please consider this when timely attention is necessary. If immediate attention is genuinely necessary, please phone the Secretary or Staff Attorney and provide the case number and title of the filing.
- Counsel must obtain leave of court prior to filing a motion or memorandum out of rule or beyond the motion deadline in the Case Schedule.
- The court does not routinely hold oral argument on motions.
- Page limits, as set forth in Loc. R. 12, serve a salutary purpose. Counsel should edit tightly and abide by the page limitations.
- To assist in meeting page limits, Counsel may assume no briefing is necessary on the legal standards applicable under Civil Rules 12, 56, or 60(B).
- Incorporations by reference to argument contained in other filings is not appropriate and will not be considered. That practice frustrates the purpose of the page limitations set in Loc. R. 12.
- In responding to a Civ.R. 56 Motion, it is valuable to have Counsel specifically identify precisely what, if any, material disputes of fact are asserted to exist. Specific citations to witness depositions or other parts of the record that demonstrate such disputes are essential.
- Conditional orders of revivor will not be granted. The plain language of R.C. 2325.15 and 2325.17 does not provide for them. Columbus Check Cashers, Inc. v. Jordan, 10th Dist. Franklin No. 13AP-980, 2014-Ohio-2541.
- To revive a dormant judgment, a judgment creditor shall file a motion to revive and ensure compliance with Civ.R. 4(F).
- If the judgment creditor fails to file a response within the time provided in the Civil Rules, the judgment creditor shall upload a proposed entry in word document format through the e-filing system.
- If all parties agree to submit their case to mediation with Magistrate Petrucci, notify the Staff Attorney. The court will prepare the appropriate reference paperwork.
- If the request for mediation is unilateral, file a motion to the docket. This will allow other parties to object to a referral, if they so choose.
- The use of private mediators, whose schedules may be more accommodating, is also encouraged.
IX. Trial Procedures
- Trial briefs are not required.
- For jury trials, ensure that a jury deposit has been paid to the Clerk’s Office in accordance with Loc. R. 9.7.
- Ordinarily, trials commence at 9:00 a.m. and recess for the day around 4:30 p.m. These hours can be altered somewhat to accommodate witness schedules. Once a jury is sworn, we make it a priority to move trials to completion. Please plan accordingly.
- If an evidence cart is needed, counsel shall contact the Bailiff to request one at least a week before trial.
- If counsel would like to practice with the evidence cart in advance of trial, the Bailiff can arrange a time to do so.
- Motions in limine are discouraged. They may be filed only after good faith discussion by Counsel and upon certification that reasonable efforts to resolve the issue(s) were exhausted. All motions in limine shall be filed 30 days prior to the trial date or, if a final pre-trial order is entered, by the date set forth in that order.
- Marking exhibits during trial is not efficient. The court reserves the right to exclude any exhibits that are not pre-marked and exchanged among counsel prior to trial. Plaintiffs shall mark exhibits with numbers, and defendants shall use letters.
- If there are deposition objections that need to be ruled upon, the pertinent deposition transcripts shall be filed with the Clerk’s Office, and a courtesy copy shall be delivered to the court at least 14 days prior to the start of trial. A list of the deposition objections that need to be ruled upon shall also be filed to the docket at least 14 days prior to the start of trial. Please note that the above deadlines may be amended by a final pre-trial order, if one is entered.
- Loc. R. 27.13(F) sets out “Rules on Voir Dire.”
- Challenges for cause are normally exercised outside the presence of the jury. Peremptory challenges are exercised in the presence of the jury.
- Prior to opening statements, the court gives an oral charge to orient jurors to their role.
- The final jury charge is submitted to each juror in writing in all cases. The court has a standard set of “boilerplate” instructions covering burden of proof, credibility, rules for deliberating, and other matters common from case to case. However, trial counsel must consult and prepare case specific portions of the final charge. Counsel shall collaborate and submit one document with objections noted. Proposed jury instructions, interrogatories, and verdict forms should be filed to the docket, and emailed to the Staff Attorney in Microsoft Word format, at least 14 days prior to the start of trial or by the date set in the final pre-trial order, if one is entered.
- Stipulations should be presented as early as possible during trial to minimize confusion and avoid unnecessary questioning thereafter.
- Juror note-taking is not permitted.
- Questions from jurors during trial are not permitted.
- This court does not affirmatively qualify witnesses as “expert” in front of the jury because it suggests some endorsement of them by the court. Please do not ask during trial.
- If there is a Daubert challenge, Counsel should raise the issues as early as possible. If the issue arises late in the case, alert the court to voir dire the witness as to admissibility outside the presence of the jury.
- Display of exhibits to the jury in opening statement or before formal admission is permitted, absent objection by opposing Counsel. However, share all such material opposing Counsel before displaying it.
- The court sometimes imposes time limits on opening statements, voir dire, closing argument and the overall presentation of evidence where Counsel are unable to closely manage the anticipated duration of their case. Jurors in this Court are ordinarily summoned for a one week or one‑trial period, and staying within a tight time frame is essential in all but the most complex trials.
- Refer to all adult witnesses or participants, including your own client(s), as “Mr.” or “Ms.” or use other appropriate titles such as “Dr.” First names shall not be used.
- Trial Counsel are expected to remain available on 10 minutes notice during jury deliberations.
- Counsel shall notify the Secretary or Staff Attorney of settlement as soon as possible, consistent with Loc. R. 22.