Civil Practice Guidelines
I. Status Conferences
- Status conferences may be conducted either by the Court, the Staff Attorney, or both. Unless otherwise specified by the Court, status conferences may be attended in person or by telephone. If you wish to participate by telephone, you may do so by calling Kaila Hawk, the Judge’s Secretary, at 614-525-6288. If multiple parties wish to participate by telephone, they must all be in the same conference call before contacting Mrs. Hawk. Parties need not be present for status conferences. The Court does not generally hold oral arguments on legal issues unless specifically requested by the parties in a case of extreme legal complexity or on an issue of first impression.
- Counsel must appear in person for the Final Pre-Trial-Conference with full settlement authority. Pursuant to Loc.R. 41.04, Pre-Trial Statements must be filed on or before the day of the Final Pre-Trial Conference. Prior to the Final Pre-Trial Conference, counsel for the parties must confer and discuss their waiver of jury, consent to allowing the Magistrate to hear their case, and be prepared to discuss the length of the trial, the number of witnesses to be called, jury instructions, outstanding motions, or any other issues related to trial.
III. Courtroom Technology
- Parties wishing to utilize courtroom technology must call the bailiff to reserve an evidence cart no later than one week prior to trial. If a party is unfamiliar with how to use the evidence cart, he/she may schedule a time with the bailiff to go over the use of the evidence cart.
IV. Jury Instructions
- Jury instructions must be submitted to the Staff Attorney by email in a Microsoft Word format no later than one week before trial. Prior to this, the parties are to discuss jury instructions and make reasonable attempts to agree such that one set of instructions may be presented to the Court. If the parties cannot agree on jury instructions, the parties are to submit one set of instructions by email to the Staff Attorney as a Microsoft Word document. This document should be in the final formatting stage, ready to be read to the jury, with any sections where the parties disagree marked up to show the content of each parties’ request. The Court may then require the parties to participate in a status conference prior to trial to resolve issues with the proposed instructions.
V. Motion Practice
- Leave of Court is required to extend any time-period for filing motions. No stipulation or agreed entry will change any deadline without Court approval, except those filed pursuant to Loc. R. 13.01. Page limits (Loc.R. 12) will be enforced except with express leave of the Court. Pinpoint citations to legal authority or evidentiary materials help to ensure that such materials can be located when reviewing motions, and should be used. All discovery related motions must comply with Civ.R. 37 and state with specificity the efforts made prior to involving the Court. Parties are encouraged to contact the Staff Attorney and request a status conference prior to resorting to discovery related motions practice. All motions, including motions for default judgment, must include a certificate of service and counsel’s phone number and email address in the signature block.
VI. Foreclosure Cases
- All dispositive motions on foreclosure cases must be accompanied by an affidavit of counsel certifying the authenticity of any submitted documents, and that his/her client holds the original note.
- All motions for distribution of excess funds will be set for a hearing at which the party requesting disbursal of the excess funds must appear and provide evidence of their identity and their entitlement to the funds.
VII. Continuances or Amended Case Schedules
- If a continuance or amendment of the case scheduling order is requested, the party requesting the continuance or amendment must submit a proposed amended case scheduling order with their motion. Continuances of trial dates will be granted for good cause only.
VIII. Notice of Settlement
- Counsel must call the Staff Attorney or Secretary as soon as possible when a settlement has been reached. When notice of settlement is received, the Court will create an entry giving the parties twenty (20) days to file a final entry or dismissal of the case. This time period may be extended for good cause shown.
- Trials will commence at 9:00 a.m. and recess for the day around 5:00 p.m. These hours may be altered to accommodate witness schedules. Trial witnesses may be taken out of order for the convenience of the witness, subject to objection by opposing counsel.
- Trial exhibits must be pre-marked and exchanged with opposing counsel prior to the Pre-Trial Conference. Counsel shall make efforts to mark joint exhibits when possible. Each party must submit a separate exhibit and witness list to the Court prior to voir dire.
- Motions in Limine may only be filed after a good faith effort to resolve issues between counsel, and must be filed no later than fourteen (14) days before trial and responsive briefs must be submitted no later than seven (7) days before trial. Copies should be emailed to the Staff Attorney.
- Counsel must be available during jury deliberations on ten (10) minutes notice and are required to leave cell phone numbers with the Bailiff or Staff Attorney.
- Counsel will refer to participants, including their own client(s), as “Mr.” or “Ms.” or by other appropriate titles such as “Dr.” rather than by first names in open court.
X. Voir Dire
- The Court reserves the right to limit voir dire. One hour per side is usually sufficient. The Court allows counsel to question the entire venire one time, and all challenges will be done outside the presence of the jury. The Court will seat 8 jurors and 2 alternates in civil cases, and at least two alternates in criminal cases. The Court allows the taking of notes by jurors, but jurors are not permitted to ask questions.