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Judge Guy L. Reece, II

Common Pleas Courthouse, Courtroom 6A
345 S. High St., 6th Floor
Columbus, Oh 43215
Term Expires: January 2019
Fax: 614-525-5888
Local Rules
Clerk of Courts' on-line records




Sarah Brandon
Secretary
614-525-6288
To inquire about general court info
To report that the parties have reached a settlement in a civil case
To call-in for a telephone status conference
To schedule a classroom visit to the courtroom

Carla Dawkins
Bailiff
614-525-5889
To ask procedural questions on any criminal matters before the Court
To request a continuance
To schedule a status conference
To request referral to Magistrate for mediation and/or trial

Elizabeta Saken
Staff Attorney
614-525-4511
To check on status of pending civil actions and/or motions
To ask procedural questions on any civil matters before the Court
To report that the parties are engaging in settlement (even if one not reached yet) and address
how that may impact any pending motions
To request a status conference

Jo-Retta Grooms, RPR
Court Reporter
614-525-3765
To order transcripts

Ed Skeens
Magistrate
614-525-4281
To schedule mediation, Magistrate trials or damages hearings
To inquire about the status of pending administrative appeal actions and/or motions in such actions
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GENERAL:

Courtroom 6A has an open door policy for any procedural matters that require assistance but no ex parte communication is allowed.

Procedural questions on civil matters should be directed to the Staff Attorney; for criminal matters, counsel should contact the Bailiff.

The Court expects professionalism and proper courtroom decorum at all times. Be on time, be prepared, and be courteous and respectful toward each other and the Court.

When possible (provided it does not adversely affect your client’s interests), work with each other to agree on procedural and scheduling requests but avoid unnecessary delay. The client’s interests are best served by a timely resolution of a legal dispute.

STATUS CONFERENCES:

If an initial status conference is listed on the Clerk of Courts’ original case schedule, we expect you to appear for it. Initial status conferences afford attorneys and unrepresented parties an opportunity to sit down with the Judge or Staff Attorney and discuss the subject matter of the case. These conferences facilitate the start of exchange of information and documents, and allow counsel and the Court an opportunity to highlight areas of concern and/or anticipated dispositive motions. They are also a good time to review and discuss alternative resolution options (settlement; mediation – private or with Judge/Magistrate).

If service has not been perfected on the defendant(s) one week prior to the scheduled initial status conference, plaintiff’s counsel should contact the Bailiff or Staff Attorney to advise of this fact and request that the conference be postponed.

If a dispute (discovery-related or otherwise) can be resolved via a status conference or with input from the Court, attorneys are encouraged to request a status conference.

Out-of-town counsel may participate in status conferences via telephone with advance notice to the Court and opposing counsel. If any additional attorneys wish to participate via telephone, the out-of-town counsel (or anyone with the capability to do so) should set up the conference call and have all attorneys on the line before contacting the Court.

PRE-TRIALS:

Trial briefs are to be e-filed no later than the morning of the final pre-trial conference.

Parties represented by legal counsel need not attend the pre-trial conference but their attorneys must come fully prepared and authorized to discuss settlement options.

Motions in Limine are to be e-filed no later than the morning of the final pre-trial conference. If counsel intends to make an oral motion only, such a motion can be made at the start of trial or before a specific witness testifies. However, if a motion will be
e-filed or the issue involved is complicated and/or needs briefing, the motion must be e-filed by the pre-trial conference date.

MOTIONS PRACTICE:

On August 24, 2011, the Franklin County Clerk of Courts and the Franklin County Common Pleas Court began a phased implementation of a new electronic filing system (“the e-Filing System”). Please consult the latest version of the Administrative Order pertaining to issues and questions related to motions practice and e-Filing in civil cases.
3rd Civil e-Filing Administrative Order Current as of 11/13/2012.


Please also refer to Loc.R. 11.05 for proper titles of motions, memoranda contra and replies.

Motions are ripe for consideration 28 days after they are filed and are decided without oral hearing (with very few exceptions). If a decision on a motion is needed prior to the expiration of the 28-day period (and especially if a decision is needed prior to the expiration of the 14-day response period), the attorney filing said motion must alert opposing counsel and the Court of that fact, and must schedule a status conference to address this issue.

Agreed/unopposed motions should be accompanied by proposed orders signed by all attorneys who have approved the same. These proposed orders should be submitted through the e-Filing System for the Judge’s signature. Please submit proposed orders as separate, stand-alone, word documents. Please do NOT include the proposed order as the last page of your motion, which will be e-filed as a PDF document – doing so will result in a blank proposed order being filed, unsigned. Please also make sure that the motion being granted (or denied) is clearly identified in the title of your proposed order.

All motions must be accompanied by a Certificate of Service reflecting the type of service associated with all identified parties and/or attorneys (a notation of “service to all parties” is not sufficient).

Please note that the submitting counsel is responsible for the prompt service of any proposed orders submitted through the e-Filing System upon unregistered parties. According to the terms of the Administrative Order related to e-Filing, the party submitting a proposed order/entry shall, after the order/entry has been signed by the Judge and e-Filed, print out a copy of the same and mail it to all non-registered parties on the case. The only orders/entries served by the Court upon unregistered parties are those that are generated by the Court.

Counsel should make all reasonable efforts to resolve disputes between themselves. If that is not possible, counsel should consider requesting a status conference prior to filing a motion, especially if it is a discovery-related dispute. All parties involved are happier when filing wars are avoided.

Please refer to the Local Rules for proper motions practice procedures and requirements, including page limitations.

As of April 11, 2013, Chambers 6A is also participating in e-Filing with respect to criminal cases. Please consult the latest version of the Administrative Order pertaining to issues and questions related to motions practice and e-Filing in criminal cases:
Criminal Adminstrative Order Current as of April 11, 2013.

MOTION-SPECIFIC CONSIDERATIONS AND GUIDELINES:

Motion for Default Judgment:

  • Ensure proper service before filing motion.
  • If counsel submits a proposed entry granting default, the same should include language (with appropriate blank space) for the scheduling of a damages hearing (if needed).

Motion to Dismiss:
  • In the context of motions to dismiss based on pleading deficiencies, be mindful of opposing counsel’s ability to file a motion for leave to amend. Leave to amend will be granted when justice requires such leave.
  • Everyone’s resources are better used when pleading deficiencies (of the type that can be corrected) are identified early on and amended by agreement.

Motion for Summary Judgment:
  • Be mindful of any additional discovery that may be needed before opposing counsel can respond.
  • A premature motion for summary judgment that prompts a Civ.R. 56(F) request (especially if the 56(F) motion is contested) further delays the process and does not result in the best use of judicial resources.

Foreclosure-Related Motions:
  • Prior to filing a motion seeking default in a foreclosure action, plaintiff’s counsel should ensure service on all applicable defendants.
  • If plaintiff is not the original lender/holder of mortgage, plaintiff’s counsel should provide an assignment of mortgage.
  • If the mortgage is lost/destroyed, counsel should provide affidavit that says so.
  • Motions seeking default judgment must be accompanied by affidavits pertaining to the defendant(s)’ military/minor/incompetent status and the account status (attesting to delinquent account, amount due, etc.).
  • Attorney certifications are required in all residential foreclosure cases except for tax-lien and condominium association lien-based foreclosures. Dispositive motions will be denied if the attorney certification is not provided or the certification submitted does not comply with the Court’s requirement. Please see link below:
Foreclosures Atty Certification

Discovery

Counsel must follow the discovery-related and other deadlines set forth in the original case schedule issued by the Clerk of Courts’ office.

Please bring discovery-related issues to the Court’s attention as soon as possible – do not wait until the final pre-trial conference to do so! However, counsel is required by Civ.R. 26 and Civ.R. 37(E) to make reasonable efforts to resolve the discovery-related dispute informally prior to seeking assistance from the Court. Counsel should clearly identify what those efforts were and attach copies of any follow-up letters to any motions to compel and/or for a protective order.

Please note, however, that the Court’s preferred method of resolving a discovery-related dispute (whenever possible) is through a status conference; filing of motions pertaining to discovery disputes should be a last resort.

Although the parties may engage in mutually agreed-upon discovery after the discovery cut-off date, please note that, pursuant to Loc.R. 47.02, the discovery cut-off date is the last date for any counsel to involve the Judge in a discovery-related dispute absent extraordinary circumstances.

SETTLEMENT CONFERENCES:

Settlement conferences are favored. The possibility of settlement is usually addressed during the initial status conference. The action can be referred to mediation (with Judge, Magistrate or private mediator) or arbitration. If the parties agree to mediate, counsel should promptly advise the Court and request a referral to mediation.

If the parties are engaging in settlement talks (especially if there are any motions pending), counsel should notify the Staff Attorney of that fact as soon as possible. Once settlement has been reached, counsel must inform the Court as soon as possible and submit an appropriate entry as instructed by the Court.

Ordinarily, counsel has 20 days from the date of the Notice of Settlement issued by the Court to submit an appropriate entry. If the settlement requires approval from the Probate Court or other third-party, counsel should notify the Court of that fact and more time will be provided for the submission of the final judgment entry or stipulation of dismissal. Failure to submit a timely entry of dismissal after settlement will result in dismissal pursuant to Loc.R. 25.03.

CONTINUANCES AND AMENDED CASE SCHEDULES:

Continuances should be requested as soon as possible. Generally, a continuance will be granted for good cause shown.

Motions requesting continuance of trial must specify: 1.) the reason for the continuance; 2.) whether the continuance request is opposed; and 3.) the length of time needed. Counsel should submit a proposed entry granting the motion seeking continuance of trial, with blank lines for the new trial and pre-trial dates to be filled in by the Bailiff.

Although continuances are to be sought at the earliest time possible through a written motion, the Court realizes that extenuating circumstances may require a “last minute” continuance request. If that is the case, the continuance request may be made via telephone and all counsel should be on the telephone line at the time of the request. This expedites matters and avoids the need to re-schedule due to time conflicts with proposed dates. If it is not possible to have opposing counsel on the telephone, counsel requesting a continuance must be able to inform the Court about: 1.) the reason for the request;
2.) the length of continuance requested; and 3.) whether the request is opposed.

Every effort must be made to complete a case within the designated time period set forth in the original case schedule issued by the Clerk of Courts’ office. If a situation arises such that the schedule must be modified beyond that time period, counsel must promptly notify the Court and request a status conference (in person or via telephone) to discuss an amended case schedule and set forth the reasons/explain why it is needed.

If counsel submits an agreed amended case scheduling order, counsel should include in it all agreed-upon dates except for the trial and pre-trial dates. Those are to be left blank and will be filled in by the Bailiff.

TRIAL:

The trial date may be confirmed with the Bailiff.

Jury instructions are to be e-mailed (in Word document format) to the Secretary by the morning of trial at the following address: Sarah_Brandon@fccourts.org

Voir dire: The Court will initially question jurors before counsel conducts voir dire. Challenges are generally out of the hearing of the jurors.

Jury procedures: Jurors will be allowed to take notes and ask questions of the witnesses. Questions will be reviewed by the Court and counsel.

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.