Magistrate Elizabeth Watters
Common Pleas Courthouse
345 South High Street, Courtroom 5C
Columbus, OH 43215
Direct (614) 525-4283
Facsimile: (614) 525-3476
Magistrate for Judge Holbrook and Judge Russo
This Courtroom has an Audio/Video Digital Recording System.
Appointed in 2012
Education: B.A. OSU 1987; J.D. OSU 1990
PREFERENCES AND PRACTICES
Professionalism expected, including with the Court, Court personnel, attorneys and litigants.
Please be prepared to proceed as scheduled.
Please contact opposing counsel first before contacting the Magistrate about your issue. If you contact the Magistrate, you must automatically copy opposing on the same correspondence or e-mail.
When you settle a case, please contact the Magistrate and inform her that the case has been settled
If you are not an attorney and you are representing yourself pro se, Ohio law mandates that you be held to the same standard as an attorney in presenting your case to the Court by following the rules of civil procedure and evidence.
On occasion, the Magistrate will be asked if an attorney or a client can appear for a matter via telephone. Barring exigent circumstances, these requests are routinely denied. All attorneys and all litigants shall be present in the courtroom for any scheduled matters.
Please provide your e-mail address on all documents filed with the Court.
|Courtroom Decorum and Dress|
Professional attire is expected, including by pro se litigants.
Held upon request or when deemed necessary. In-person or telephone status conferences can be scheduled.
The Magistrate will adhere to Civil and Local Rules.
A courtesy (hard) copy of all motions and briefs are appreciated and should be delivered to the Court.
When seeking an extension of time, leave to file an answer, leave to amend and/or continuance, the parties are encouraged contact opposing counsel to determine whether a formal objection to the motion is going to be filed. In all cases of agreed motions and unopposed motions, a proposed entry should be filed electronically with the motion.
Please be aware of the policies of the referring Judge on continuances. Continuances will be granted upon the approval of the Judge assigned on the case.
|Amendment to Case Scheduling Order|
Reasonable requests will be granted upon approval of the Judge assigned to the case.
If there is an adequate remedy at law (i.e. money damages), then a request for a preliminary injunction is not appropriate. Counsel should be prepared to demonstrate proof of service of the complaint and proof of service of the motion for preliminary injunction, as ordered by the Court, per Civil and Local Rules.
Please be prepared to have a witness present testimony and evidentiary documents to justify your request for damages. Please remember that you must meet the burden of proof even if you were granted a default judgment and that these are evidentiary hearings where the Rules of Evidence apply. Affidavits are accepted only upon a showing of hardship or unavailability of the affiant. If you are requesting attorneys' fees as part of your damages request, please itemize and document the amount and be prepared to demonstrate to the Court whether the request for attorneys' fees emanates from a contract or statute.
Please be prepared to have a witness present testimony and evidentiary documents to meet your burden of proof if you are the plaintiffs. Please be prepared to have a witness present testimony and evidentiary documents to defend against the claims asserted against you if you are the defendant.
Done with instruction from the Judge assigned to the case or by agreement of parties and counsel.
Mediation statements are not required, but if they are submitted they will be reviewed by the Magistrate prior to the mediation. If the case involves an insurance claims adjustor or a corporate client, those representatives must be present with authority to settle. Participation via telephone will be granted only under exigent circumstances with prior approval of opposing counsel and the Court. If one side is unwilling to negotiate, please let me know in advance.
|Stenographic and Recording Equipment|
Courtroom Audio/Video Digital Recording System
Stenographer subject to availability and on a limited basis
Evidence cart must be requested in advance. Please do not assume that equipment will be available for playing depositions.
|Objections to Magistrate’s Decision|
Objections to the Magistrate's decision are governed by Civil Rule 53 and Local Rule 99.
If the matter is a bench trial, the Magistrate formulates her own findings of fact and conclusions of law. However, attorneys and litigants are encouraged to submit proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law and may be ordered to do so by the Court depending on the issues presented for adjudication.
The Magistrate does not schedule more than one trial per day, so be prepared to try your case on the assigned date.
|Final Pre-Trial Conferences/Final Pre-Trial Orders|
Pre-trial conferences will be held when deemed necessary or when requested.
Trial briefs are not required unless otherwise noted. Courtesy (hard) copies should be provided to the Magistrate.
A final pre-trial order will be issued for each scheduled jury trial. Proposed jury instructions should be submitted to the Court electronically pursuant to the pre-trial order.
Please mark exhibits to trial after consultation with opponent and make three copies of each exhibit prior to trial.
Lists and copies of exhibits should be exchanged by counsel prior to trial
Stipulations on exhibits preferred.
Counsel is responsible for electronically filing proposed exhibits prior to trial and/or admitted exhibits following the trial.
Plaintiff should use a letter designation on all exhibits and defendant should use a number designation on all exhibits.
If the matter is a bench trial, the Magistrate will rule upon the admission of Plaintiff's exhibits once the Plaintiff rests and will rule upon the admission of Defendant's exhibits once the Defendant rests. However, if the matter is a jury trial, the Magistrate will rule upon the admission of each individual exhibit at the conclusion of all the witnesses' testimony once the defendant rests. The attorneys will have an opportunity at the conclusion of all witness testimony, and outside the presence of the jury, to place their objections to any exhibits on the record.
|Use of Videotapes|
Any mechanical needs should be addressed with the Court before the trial date. At least 3 days advance notice is required for an evidence cart, subject to availability.
Videotapes cannot be edited by the Court and must be edited by the parties in advance of trial. Attorneys and litigants are required to present deposition objections to the Magistrate prior to trial so that they may be ruled upon and not interrupt the flow of the trial. Also, if there are objections in depositions that will be presented via video testimony, those objections will need to be ruled upon by the Court prior to the start of trial and redacted by the parties if necessary.
|Motions in Limine|
Motions in limine should be in writing and filed with the Court. Courtesy (hard) copies should be provided to the Magistrate.
Generally motions in limine will be ruled upon by the Court on day of trial commencement, prior to voir dire, except with regard to videotaped depositions.
|Method for Voir Dire|
The Magistrate will inquire with respect to the statutory "for cause" questions set forth in R.C. 2313.42 and present a brief description of the case. Counsel/parties will then be afforded a reasonable amount of time to conduct voir direct and fully examine the panel. Counsel/parties are encouraged to avoid chatting with panel members about personal lives. Counsel/parties will voir dire the entire panel of eighteen jurors (not just the first 8 "in the box") and then exercise challenges outside the presence of the panel.