The new Franklin County Courthouse, scheduled for completion in 2010, will be the first LEED-certified building in the State of Ohio. Click here to learn more.The Franklin County Court of Common Pleas is a stong supporter of Green initiatives. Click here to learn more.

Commercial Docket

Franklin County Common Pleas Court Judges John P. Bessey and Richard A. Frye have been designated by Ohio Chief Justice Thomas J. Moyer as the first judges for the new commercial or business court docket in Columbus.

Effective January 2, 2009, Franklin County will participate with courts in Cincinnati, Toledo and Cleveland in a pilot project to streamline civil lawsuits between businesses, among shareholders or partners within a business, or addressing insurance coverage for such cases. Newly filed commercial cases falling into those categories will be transferred to the dockets of Judges Frye and Bessey; other civil cases in which businesses are involved, such as consumer claims, product liability disputes, or cases in which a government entity is involved will continue to be assigned through the normal fashion by random draw to all 17 Common Pleas judges. All 17 Common Pleas judges will also continue to hear criminal felony cases.

Franklin County judges voted to join the state’s pilot project in the hope that it will expedite handling of commercial cases in what is now the busiest common pleas court in Ohio in per-judge filings. The larger goal of local judges and state officials is to aid business development efforts, as Ohio competes with other states that already offer comparable business courts.

Judge John Bessey has served on the Common Pleas Court since 1994, following experience in private law practice, as a private business owner, and as a government lawyer. He is a member of the American College of Business Court Judges, and co-chaired the statewide task force that developed the commercial docket program at the request of the Ohio Supreme Court. Judge Bessey has also served as a member of the faculty at the National Judicial College.

Judge Richard A. Frye was elected to the Common Pleas bench in 2004. Prior to that, he was a partner in the Chester, Willcox & Saxbe law firm. While in practice Judge Frye was selected as a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers and as a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates, named in Best Lawyers in America, and was among the top 50 vote-getters in the 2004 Ohio Super Lawyers survey.

Judge Michael J. Holbrook has served on the Common Pleas bench since January 7, 2005.

Effective July 1, 2012, the Common Pleas Court - General Division has discontinued the Commercial Docket Program and will no longer accept new case filings for this docket.

Judge Holbrook has been appointed by the Supreme Court of Ohio to handle all existing Commercial Docket cases originally assigned to Judge Bessey.

All existing Commercial Docket cases will be resolved by Judge Frye, Judge Bessey (until December 31, 2012) and Judge Holbrook.

Local Rule

Local Rule 94-Commercial Docket


            Amendments to the Rules of Superintendence for the Courts of Ohio were adopted by the Supreme Court and become effective July 1, 2008.  The history of these amendments is as follows:
May 6, 2008Final adoption by conference
July 1, 2008Effective date of amendments




Temp. Sup. R. 1.01.              Definitions show

Temp. Sup. R. 1.02.              Designation and Organization show

Temp. Sup. R. 1.03.              Scope of the Commercial Docket show

Temp. Sup. R. 1.04.              Transfer of Case to the Commercial Docket show

Temp. Sup. R. 1.05.              Special Masters show
Temp. Sup. R. 1.06.              Commercial Docket Case Management Plan show
Temp. Sup. R. 1.07.              Rulings on Motions and Submitted Cases show
Temp. Sup. R. 1.08.              Commercial Docket Case Disposition Time Guideline show
Temp. Sup. R. 1.09.              Publication of Opinions and Orders show
Temp. Sup. R. 1.10.              Pilot Project Evaluation show
Temp. Sup. R. 1.11.              Term of Temporary Rules 1.01 through 1.11 show

Related Forms

Commercial Docket Case Designation Form

New Commercial Docket Procedure

Motion to transfer to Commercial Docket

Commercial Docket Journal Entry

Temporary Rules of Superintendence for the Courts of Ohio