Civil Practice Guidelines

I. General

  1. Please always file a proposed entry when filing a motion other than the following: motion for summary judgment; motion to dismiss pursuant to 12(B)(6); or motion for judgment on the pleadings.
  2. When a filing is submitted to the Clerk’s Office, the filing does not instantaneously reach Chambers and could take up to three days to be received. Please contact the Secretary or Staff Attorney if more timely service is necessary.
  3. Counsel and unrepresented parties are reminded that Court staff are unable, both legally and ethically, to engage in unilateral, or ex parte communications, or to provide advice regarding legal rights or duties.
  4. Opposing counsel and unrepresented parties should be "cc’d" on all emails with Court staff.
  5. Evidence Cart: If an evidence cart will be used during trial, counsel should contact the Bailiff or Staff Attorney no later than one week prior to the trial date to reserve one. Attorneys unfamiliar with the Court’s courtroom technology are encouraged to contact the Court’s IT staff at 614-525-7587 to schedule a tutorial session.

II. Case Scheduling

  1. Please make all motions for continuance of the case schedule or trial in writing.
  2. Any motions affecting scheduling should affirmatively state:
    • Whether the change is opposed or agreed to
    • The reasons supporting a continuance
    • The proposed time frame for the continuance (example: 30 days)
  3. If you are seeking a continuance greater than 90 days please contact the court to schedule an in-person status conference.

III. Initial, Status, and Final Pretrial Conferences

  1. Conferences are conducted in-person at 9:00 a.m. Monday-Thursday during designated civil weeks.
  2. Parties can request status conferences through written motions or by contacting the Court’s staff attorney.
  3. Telephone conferences are only available to established cases and only on brief follow-up matters.
  4. Only counsel is permitted at conferences (including final pretrials). If a party insists on being present for the conference, they may wait for their attorney in the courtroom or exterior hallway.
  5. Pre-trial Statements are accepted, but not required.
  6. Prior to the Final Pretrial Conference trial counsel must confer about:
    • Any Motions to be addressed prior to commencing trial
    • Deposition transcripts or videotapes filed with the Clerk’s office that need to be retrieved, and for which evidentiary rulings must be made before presentation during trial
    • 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
    • Their willingness to waive a jury and/or have the case heard by the Magistrate and a jury
  7. In the event of the failure of counsel to appear, failure to be prepared, or other non-compliance with Local Rule 41, the Court may dismiss the action for want of prosecution, enter default judgment, and/or impose sanctions.

IV. Discovery

  1. The discovery process should be extra-judicial. Pursuant to Civil Rule 37, before filing any discovery motions, counsel shall make reasonable efforts to resolve the dispute.
  2. Please contact the Court prior to filing a motion to compel, in the event an in-person conference can resolve the matter.

V. Motions and Memoranda

  1. It is necessary to obtain leave of court prior to filing a Motion or Memorandum out of rule or beyond the deadline set in the Case Schedule.
  2. Stipulation among counsel to a new deadline will assist the Court in making its decision, but cannot change any deadline absent court approval.
  3. Page limits (Local Rule 12) are necessary given the heavy docket. Counsel should only request extensions under extreme circumstances.
  4. The Court reserves the right to disregard pages of memoranda beyond the limits set in the Local Rules, absent prior leave to file longer documents.
  5. Except as provided in Local Rules 21 and 55, briefing of motions is controlled by Local Rule 21. Accordingly, motions are generally not reviewed until 28 days after they are filed.
    • In the event that the matter requires more urgent attention, counsel shall promptly notify the Staff Attorney.
  6. Stipulations of fact are encouraged.

VI. Mediation

  1. If counsel desire to submit their case to mediation with the Magistrate, please call the Staff Attorney and advise that counsel are in agreement. The court also encourages use of private mediators whose schedules may be more accommodating.
  2. Do not wait until an approaching trial date to initially ask for mediation or other ADR.

VII. Trial Procedures

  1. Trials typically commence at 9:30 a.m. and recess for the day around 5 p.m. These hours can be altered somewhat to accommodate witness schedules.
  2. Trial witnesses can be taken out of sequence for the convenience of the witness, subject to objection by opposing counsel.
  3. Motions in Limine are due the Monday before trial absent a showing of extraordinary circumstances. Such motions are strongly discouraged. They may only be filed after discussion in good faith among counsel, and after counsel certify they have met and exhausted efforts to resolve the issue(s).
  4. Trial briefs are only required for trials to the Bench. Counsel may submit short memoranda addressing novel legal issues or highlighting specific statutes or appellate decisions deemed central to deciding the case.
  5. Trial Exhibits:
    • Must be pre-marked, copied, and exchanged prior to trial.
    • Trial counsel are responsible for eliminating duplicate exhibits (and should consider appropriate use of "Joint Exhibit" designations) and discussing formal matters such as authenticity well before the start of trial.
    • Please bring a separate list of your trial Exhibits for the court’s use to trial.
    • The court reserves the right to exclude Exhibits not pre-marked and exchanged among trial counsel.
  6. Jury Instructions & Interrogatories
    • Jury instructions and interrogatories are required to be exchanged and agreed upon by counsel prior to trial.
    • One set of instructions shall be submitted to the Court’s staff attorney the morning of trial.
    • In the event a few instructions contain objections, said objections must be included in a red-lined version of the document.
    • The Court prefers OJI instructions. Those instructions not approved by OJI and not agreed to will be highly scrutinized.
  7. Jury
    • Review Local Rule 27.13 (F) for the "Rules on Voir Dire." Because juror questionnaires are available, lengthy voir dire is unnecessary. Thirty to forty minutes per side normally is adequate.
    • The court usually empanels 8 jurors plus 2 alternates in civil cases.
    • Challenges are normally exercised outside the presence of the jury.
  8. Stipulations should be presented as early as possible during trial to avoid unnecessary questioning thereafter.
  9. Juror note-taking is permitted.
  10. Questions from jurors during trial are not permitted.
  11. The court does not rule on the qualification of expert witnesses absent specific objection to specific questions. If there are Daubert issues counsel should address them with each other and, barring agreement, with the court at the Final Pretrial Conference.
  12. Display of Exhibits to the jury in opening statement, or before formal admission is permitted absent objection by opposing counsel. Again, be certain to share all such matters with all other counsel before displaying any exhibit.
  13. Trial counsel are expected to be available on ten minutes notice during jury deliberations. Always leave your cell phone number with the Staff Attorney.
  14. The Court reserves the right to impose time limitations on the presentation of evidence where counsel are unable to manage the anticipated duration of their presentations. The court discourages presentation of duplicative expert witnesses.

VIII. Settlement Conferences

  1. Consistent with Local Rule 22, Counsel must call the Staff Attorney or Secretary as soon as possible to advise when a case has been settled.
  2. This Court normally has multiple trials scheduled every day and such notice will enable the Court and attorneys in other pending cases to plan appropriately.
  3. Normally a formal notice will be sent by chambers confirming settlement, and advising that counsel have 30 days to file a final Entry or stipulation of dismissal. In matters requiring approval from the Probate Court or other unusual circumstances, more time will be allotted. If the final Entry or stipulation is not timely received, the Court will dismiss the case from the active docket, pursuant to Local Rule 25.03.

IX. Foreclosures

  1. Counsel are reminded of the obligations in Local Rule 96 regarding title insurance. Firms representing clients in foreclosure actions should note that once a Judgment Entry is journalized the case is terminated from our active trial docket. This does not mean that it is dismissed.