Civil Practice Guidelines

I. General

  1. Professionalism: All persons shall show respect for the law, parties, counsel, deputies and staff. Appropriate dress is required.
  2. Cell phones: Cell phones must be turned OFF (not vibrate) in the Courtroom.

II. Status Conferences

  1. Scheduling: Counsel should make all reasonable efforts to resolve discovery and/or scheduling disputes between themselves before involving the Court. If that is impossible, parties may request a status conference before filing a motion by contacting the Court’s Staff Attorney. Normally, the Court will require the party and/or counsel requesting the conference to confer with other parties and/or counsel to find an agreeable date before setting the conference.
  2. Telephonic Appearances: Status conferences generally are conducted in the afternoons and may be telephonic or in-person, depending on the case. If appearance by telephone is permitted, arrangements should be made with the Staff Attorney for counsel to initiate the telephone call.

III. Pre-Trials

  1. Attendance: If a party is represented by counsel, only counsel need attend the pretrial conference unless otherwise ordered by the Court. Pretrial Conferences are normally conducted in-person and in the afternoons. Permission to conduct a pre-trial telephonically must be requested in advance and will be decided on a case-by-case basis. If appearance by telephone is permitted, arrangements should be made with the Staff Attorney for counsel to initiate the telephone call. Only counsel of record may participate in the pretrial conference.
  2.  Pretrial Statements: Pretrial statements are not required; however, parties may file short memoranda outlining the legal issues presented.
  3. Jury Instructions and Motions in Limine: All proposed jury instructions and motions in limine are due on or before the date of the final pretrial conference.
  4.  Topics: Counsel should be prepared to discuss: parties’ willingness to waive a jury and/or have the case heard by Magistrate Elizabeta Saken, the number of days anticipated for trial, number of parties and witnesses participating at trial, any special scheduling needs, jury instructions, outstanding issues and motions, and status of settlement negotiations. Counsel shall come with full settlement authority.
  5. Courtroom Technology: Parties are encouraged to visit the courtroom in advance of trial to familiarize themselves with the technology for displaying evidence. If the courtroom is unavailable following the final pretrial, parties may make an appointment with the Court’s Secretary to becomes familiar with the technology.

IV. Motion Practice

  1. Agreed/Unopposed Motions: Agreed/unopposed motions should be submitted electronically with a proposed order signed by all attorneys who have approved the order. These proposed orders shall be submitted in Microsoft Word format through e-filing. Please indicate in both the title of the motion and order that they are agreed/unopposed.
  2. Rulings: Civil motions filed under ordinary practice with the Clerk’s office normally will, approximately 30 days after filing, be forwarded to chambers for review and decision. Motions are decided without oral hearing, with very few exceptions. Motions under submission will be prioritized with consideration of the trial date or other time urgency. If there is some unusual urgency regarding a particular motion, please contact the Staff Attorney so the matter may be expedited.
  3. Proposed Orders: Please submit proposed orders as separate, stand-alone, Microsoft Word documents. Please do not include the proposed order as the last page of your motion, which will be filed as a PDF document. The title of the proposed order should not include the word “PROPOSED.”
  4. E-Filing: Questions regarding technical issues with the Court’s e-filing system should be directed to the Court’s E-filing Hotline at (614) 525-2600.
  5. Filing Motions Out of Rule: Counsel must obtain leave of Court before filing a motion or memorandum out of rule or beyond the case schedule deadline. Leave to file motions late in a case may jeopardize the trial date and may be denied for that reason alone. Do not expect that a Stipulation among counsel will change any deadline absent Court approval.
  6. Page Limits: Page limits (Local Rule 12) are essential, due to the Court’s heavy docket. The Court reserves the right to truncate motions and memoranda that exceed the page limits in the Local Rules, absent prior leave granted pursuant to Local Rule 12.

V. Mediation

  1. If the parties wish to mediate, they shall inform the Court by the discovery cut-off date that they have scheduled a date with a private mediator OR that they are requesting mediation with the Court’s Magistrate. Plaintiff’s counsel shall notify the court in writing whether the mediation was successful, within forty-eight (48) hours of its completion. Any requests for mediation made after this deadline shall require a showing of extraordinary circumstances.
  2. If the parties agree to submit their case to mediation with the Magistrate, please contact Magistrate Saken directly to schedule a mediation date on her calendar.

VI. Settlement

  1. Counsel must call the Court’s Secretary (614-525-7200) as soon as possible to indicate a case has settled. A formal notice will be filed by chambers confirming settlement, and advising that counsel have 20 days to file a final Entry or stipulation of dismissal. In matters requiring approval from the Probate Court or other unusual circumstances, a reasonable amount of additional time will be allotted by this Court.
  2. If, despite good-faith efforts, counsel are unable to submit the final Entry by the deadline, additional time may be requested by contacting the Secretary or Staff Attorney before the deadline. 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.

VII. Continuances or Amended Case Schedules

  1. Content of Motions: Agreed requests are preferred. Motions to continue must specify: (1) the reason for the continuance; (2) the number of prior continuances granted; (3) whether the continuance is opposed; and (4) the length of time requested.
  2. Trial Dates: If a case appears likely to require a trial, counsel shall alert chambers as soon as possible so that we may assign a “firm” trial date after allowing enough time for pretrial proceedings.
  3. Continuance of Trial Date: The Court will not entertain Motions for Continuances within fourteen (14) days of trial.

VIII. Discovery

  1. Please follow the deadlines set in the Case Management Schedule. Counsel shall make all reasonable efforts to resolve disputes between themselves before involving the Court. If those efforts fail, counsel may request a status conference before filing a motion by contacting the Court’s Staff Attorney.
  2. Pursuant to Local Rule 47, the discovery cutoff date is the final date for any party to seek the involvement of the Court in the discovery process, absent extraordinary circumstances.

IX. Foreclosure Cases

  1. Because many documents submitted in residential foreclosures have not been properly authenticated under the Rules of Civil Procedure, additional safeguards are necessary to protect the validity of any judgment that might ensue. Accordingly, before any judgment is granted on any dispositive motion (such as default or summary judgment) in a residential foreclosure action, plaintiff’s counsel must personally certify the authenticity and accuracy of all documents submitted in support of judgment. A model certification form will be filed by the Court attached to a “Case Management Order.”
  2. Where no certification is submitted, or where the submitted certification is not acceptable to the Court, the dispositive motion will be overruled and the case will be scheduled for trial.

X. Trials

  1. Hours/Breaks: Trials normally commence at 9:00 and recess for the day at 5:30 p.m. While pleas in criminal cases and other Court business may be conducted during breaks or over the noon hour, once a jury is sworn, the Court makes it a priority to move jury trials to timely completion.
  2. Trial Exhibits: All exhibits shall be pre-marked and exchanged 7 days before trial. The Court reserves the right to exclude Exhibits not pre-marked and exchanged accordingly.
    • Parties are responsible for determining which side will utilize numbers and which side will utilize letters to mark their exhibits.
  3. Jury Selection: Each party shall have one hour for voir dire, unless an extended period is requested and granted in advance.
  4. Motions in Limine: As noted above, motions in limine are due on or before the final pretrial conference. Motions in limine may only be filed after good-faith efforts among counsel to resolve the issues. Normally, the Court will not issue a written ruling on a motion in limine before trial. Instead, the Court will issue a preliminary ruling on the morning of trial, and then issue a final ruling when and if the issue arises during trial.
  5. JAVS Info: Instead of a human court reporter, the Court utilizes JAVS (“Justice AV Solutions”) technology to digitally record courtroom proceedings.