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Preamble 1

RULE 1 – Terms and Sessions of the Court

RULE 2 – Filing, Removal, Service of Process, and Records Retention by the Clerk

RULE 3 – Facsimile Filings

RULE 4 – Electronic/Internet Filings

RULE 5 – Security for Costs

RULE 6 – Presiding and Administrative Judge

RULE 7 – The Assignment System

RULE 8 – Notice

RULE 9 – Time Limitations

RULE 10 – Civil Case Management Procedure

RULE 11 – Trial Witnesses

RULE 12 – Trial Continuances

RULE 13 – Alternative Dispute Resolution

RULE 14 – Arbitration

RULE 15 – Mediation

RULE 16 – Foreclosure, Quiet Title, and Partition of Actions

RULE 17 – Sheriff’s Sale

RULE 18 – Jury Commissioner System








The General Division of the Common Pleas Court for Lorain County, Ohio adopts the following rules for the conduct, government and management of business operations, court proceedings, and other functions and services of the Court. These rules govern the procedure in the Lorain County Common Pleas Court , General Division, and supersede all previous rules promulgated by the General Division. These rules do not govern the procedure in the Probate, Juvenile, and Domestic Relations Divisions.


These rules shall supplement and complement the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure, the Ohio Rules of Criminal Procedure, the Rules of Superintendence for the Courts of Ohio, the Ohio Revised Code and any other applicable authority.  These rules are effective January 31, 2007 .







I.          Terms of Court

The Court shall be in continuous sessions for the transaction of judicial business, but each calendar year shall be divided into four (4) terms, designated as the January, April, July and October terms of Court.

II.        Responsibility During Term of Court

The Judge assigned to each term of Court shall supervise the grand jury. The assignment shall be rotated among the several judges of the General Division in the order of their seniority upon the bench.  The grand jury Judge shall handle criminal matters that may arise in individual cases prior to indictment and arraignment, including setting of bonds, extraditions and habeas corpus actions pertaining to extraditions.  The grand jury Judge shall be responsible for handling arraignments, judgment lien executions, and miscellaneous docket cases filed during the Judge’s term. 

III.       Hours of Session

The hours for the regular sessions of the Court shall be from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon and from 1:00 to 4:30 p.m. , Monday through Friday of each week, except for those days designated by law as legal holidays. Each Judge may establish earlier opening or later closing times to handle civil pre-trials or motions and may extend the closing hour during trials when deemed necessary.


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I.          FILING


            A.        Duties of Clerk


In accordance with these rules the Clerk of Courts shall file and maintain all documents delivered to the Clerk’s Office.  The Clerk is instructed to refuse to accept for filing any document or case that does not conform to these rules.


            B.        Filing Requirement in General


All pleadings, motions, brief and other similar documents that are filed with the Clerk shall meet the following requirements:

1.         Be typewritten or legibly printed on 8 ½ x 11 paper, securely bound and without backing;

2.         Contain a blank space of at least 2 ½ inches at the top of the first page for endorsements;

3.         Contain a short title indicating the nature of the document (complaint, answer, motion, brief, etc.);

4.         Be signed by the attorney of record or party when not represented by counsel;

5.         Include the attorney registration number, if applicable, along with the address, telephone, fax, and email of the individual filing the document. 


            C.        Complaint


Every complaint shall be accompanied by a case designation sheet which may be obtained from the Clerk of Courts.  In addition, the complaint shall include the name and address, if known, of each party.


            D.        Subsequent Documents


All pleadings, motions, briefs, and documents subsequent to the complaint shall include the following:

1.         The name of the first party plaintiff and the first party defendant;

2.         The name of the Judge to whom the case is assigned;

3.         The case number.


            E.         Discovery Papers


The Clerk of Courts shall not accept for filing depositions, transcripts, interrogatories, requests for documents, requests for admissions, answers and responses thereto unless they are accompanied by a certification that said documents are being filed on order of the Court, or for use as evidence in a motion or proceeding.




A.        Removal


No person except a Judge, or a member of a Judge’s staff shall remove any documents or case files from the custody of the Clerk. Originals of papers or pleadings in this Court shall not be taken from the courthouse, except upon order of the Court.


B.        Examination


Upon request, the Clerk of Courts shall allow any person to examine, but not remove, any original document or case file that is maintained by its office.  Examination shall be allowed during regular business hours.


C.        Duplication


Upon request and the payment of a photocopy fee, the Clerk shall provide copies of any original document, excluding transcripts, maintained by its office. Copies shall be provided during regular business hours within a reasonable period of time as determined by the Clerk of Courts. A reasonable period of time shall be based upon the extent of the request with efforts toward a 24-hour response time.




The Clerk may utilize service of process methods as outlined in Civil Rule 4.1, which methods shall include “virtual” service of process utilizing advanced postal technology for service by certified mail, including but not limited to, certified electronic return receipt technology.  This advanced postal technology does not modify Civil Rule 4.1(1) Service by Certified Mail, but merely provides for advanced electronic and website technology in the sending of certified mail and receipt of confirmation utilizing the Court’s website to show to whom the mail was delivered, the date of delivery and address where delivered, all in accordance with the Civil Rules currently in existence.


All service of process of complaints or other documents served with virtual service of process are subject to review and/or challenge as further outlined in Civil Rule 4.1, with confirmation of service of process being made available through the Clerk of Court’s office.




            A.        Exhibits and Depositions


Exhibits and Depositions in the custody of the Clerk of Courts and/or the Official Court Reporter may be returned to the offering party after the expiration of the appeal process.  Upon notification, the offering party and/or counsel of record may obtain their exhibits and depositions at the Lorain County Justice Center .  If exhibits and depositions are not obtained within sixty days of notification they may be destroyed.



B.        Records


Records in the custody of the Clerk of Courts and/or the Official Court Reporter may be destroyed after notice and in accordance with Ohio Revised Code.   


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I.          In General

This rule has been instituted solely for the convenience of those filing documents with the Clerk of Courts.  Neither the Clerk of Courts nor the Court assumes any new or additional responsibilities, obligations, or liabilities by virtue of this rule.  This rule pertains only to the method of filing; it does not override, alter, amend, revoke or otherwise change any Local Rule or Ohio Rule of Civil or Criminal Procedure. 

II.        filings not accepted

Except for the following documents, this rule authorizes the filing of facsimile transmissions of pleadings, motions, and other documents that may otherwise be filed with the Clerk of Courts.


A.        Commencement of an Action


            Any filing commencing an action (e.g., a complaint, a third party complaint, a post-decree motion, a motion for injunctive relief) for which the Clerk of Courts must collect an initial case deposit against costs or a specific filing fee and/or for which the Clerk of Courts is required to effectuate service or summons;


B.        Journal Entry


            Any entry which must be signed by a Judge.


III.       Cover Page


Any faxed document must include a cover page containing the following information:


-          Case number;

-          Caption of the case;

-          Assigned Judge;

-          Description of the documents being filed;

-          Date of Transmission;

-          Transmitting fax and contract number; and

-          Number of pages, including cover.


If the cover page does not contain all required information, the faxed documents shall not be entered on the docket and shall be considered a nullity.  The Clerk of Courts is not required to send any form of notice to the sender of a failed fax filing.



The facsimile machine available for receiving fax filing for Common Pleas Civil Cases is (440) 328-2416 and for Criminal Cases is (440) 329-5404.  These lines are available twenty-four hours per day, seven days per week.  Fax filings may not be sent directly to the Court for filing but may only be transmitted through the Clerk of Courts.  Transmissions sent to any other location are neither covered by nor permitted under this rule.  However, copies of filings otherwise properly filed with the Clerk of Courts, such as courtesy copies for the Court, may with Court approval be sent by facsimile directly to the Court.  Facsimiles sent direct to the Court shall not be considered as having been filed thereby. 




A fax transmission may contain more than one document but may not apply to more than one case number per transmission.  Motions and other filings making reference to or incorporating other documents attached to the motion or other filing as an exhibit thereof shall be considered as part of a single file.  If exhibits are impossible or burdensome to send by facsimile the original exhibits may be separately filed if done so within forty-eight hours of the related transmission.  If the exhibits are filed separately, then an insert page describing the exhibit must be included in the facsimile transmission.  Facsimile transmissions must comply with the filing requirements under Local Rule 2 and may not exceed twenty pages regardless of the number of documents being sent.




Subject to the other provisions of the rule, all documents filed by fax shall be considered filed with the Clerk of Courts as of the date and time that the fax transmission has been received by the Clerk of Courts.  For purposes of this provision and for entering such filings into the docket system, a facsimile filing shall be deemed to have been received by the Clerk of Courts as of the date and time printed at the top of each page of the incoming fax as printed out by the Clerk of Courts’ facsimile equipment.  There shall be no other date and time stamp required for the filing of a fax document with the Clerk of Courts.  The risks of transmitting a document by fax to the Clerk of Courts shall be borne entirely by the sender. 




A document filed by fax shall be accepted as the original filing provided all the requirements set forth in this rule are satisfied.  The source document shall not be filed with the Clerk of Courts.  However, until the case is closed and all opportunities for post-judgment relief are exhausted, any source documents filed via facsimile shall be retained and available for production at the Court’s request.




Facsimile filings shall contain a signature or a /s/ notation followed by the name of the person signing the source document. 





The Clerk of Courts is hereby authorized to reject and will not docket any facsimile transmission which fails to comply with these rules. 

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(To Be Established)


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I.          In General

No civil action or proceeding shall be accepted by the Clerk of Courts for filing unless the party or parties offering same for filing shall have first deposited a sum to secure the payment of costs that may accrue in such action or proceedings, except as otherwise provided by law. Such advance deposit shall be in accordance with the schedule approved by the Court and prepared and published by the Clerk of Courts.  The Court may also order the deposit of additional funds depending on the nature of the case.  All costs associated with the case may be deducted from the security deposit regardless of which party is ordered to pay the costs. 

II.        Cases Transferred from Municipal Court

On cases transferred to the Common Pleas Court in which the demand of the cross-claim or counter-claim exceeds the monetary jurisdiction of the Municipal Court, the cross-claimant and counter-claimant shall post security for costs in a sum equal to the amount required if the case were originally filed in this Court.

III.       Multiple Parties

In cases with multiple parties, the Clerk of Courts may require the party requesting service to advance an amount estimated by the Clerk to be sufficient to cover the costs thereof.

IV.       Bond in Lieu of Cash

In lieu of case deposit, costs may be secured by bond with surety approved by the Clerk, provided, however, that no member of the Bar shall be accepted as such surety.



V.        Poverty affidavits

A poverty affidavit filed in lieu of a cash deposit must state the reasons for the inability to prepay costs and is subject to Court review at any stage of the proceedings.

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Judicial administration of the General Division shall be in accordance with the Rules of Superintendence for the Courts of Ohio.


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I.          In General


Except as otherwise provided, all cases shall be assigned to a Judge by a random computer selection process.  Civil cases shall be assigned at the time and in the order of filing or transfer from another Court.  Criminal cases shall be assigned following preparation of the arraignment list by the Clerk of Courts.  Secret indictments shall be assigned following service upon the Defendant.


II.        Civil Refiling and Consolidation


            A.        Refiling – Civil Rule 41


When a previously dismissed case is refiled, the attorney or party shall so indicate on the case designation sheet, whereupon the Clerk of Courts shall assign the refiled case to the Judge assigned at the time of the original dismissal.  Any case filed beyond the guidelines established by Civil Rule 41 is a new action not subject to this rule.


            B.        Consolidation


When actions involving a common question of law or fact have been filed as separate cases, a motion for consolidation shall be filed with the Court to whom the lowest case number has been assigned.  If the motion is granted, the cases shall be consolidated and go forward under the lowest case number.


III.       Criminal Companion and Capital Cases


            A.        Pending Case


When a Defendant has a pending case, any new case shall be assigned to the judge with the pending case.



B.        Multiple Defendants


When cases involving multiple Defendants are related, all cases shall be assigned to the Judge with the lowest pending case number.


            C.        Dismissal and Re-indictment


When an individual is indicted for offenses that were pending in a case that was previously dismissed, the new case shall be assigned to the Judge who was presiding over the original matter. 


D.        Capital Case


All capital cases shall be assigned randomly through a process where each Judge, after receiving an assignment, is excluded from the assignment pool until all Judges have received a capital case.


IV.       Reassignment


Any cases requiring reassignment shall be referred to the Administrative Judge along with reason for reassignment.  When merited, the Administrative Judge will reassign the case.  The Judge receiving the reassigned case may transfer a case of similar import to the Judge requesting reassignment.

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In general notification of the assignment of a case for any purpose shall be by ordinary mail.  In the event mail delivery would be untimely because of a scheduling adjustment, telephone, fax or electronic communication may be utilized. 


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The time allowed or permitted for the performance of any act shall be as established by the Ohio Rules of Civil and Criminal Procedure, the Rules of Superintendence, or as otherwise established by order of the Court.  Any request for an extension shall be in writing and state the number of prior extensions granted. 


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The purpose of this rule is to ensure the efficient and comprehensive management of civil cases.   


I.          Case Management Conference


A.        Timing


Within ninety days of the filing of responsive pleadings, the case shall be set by the Court for a case management conference.  Except as otherwise ordered by the Court, the parties’ attendance is not required.


B.        Notice


Notice of the case management conference shall be mailed to all counsel of record at least fourteen days prior to the conference.


C.        Procedure


1.         The case management conference shall be conducted in person, or by telephone

with prior Court approval.   All counsel attending shall have full authority to enter into a binding case management order.  Failure of counsel to appear will result in counsel’s forfeiting the right to have any input into the scheduling order.   

2.         Counsel shall consult with their client(s) and opposing counsel in advance of the

case management conference and be prepared to confer practically and earnestly on all matters as may aid in the disposition of the action.  The following matters will be considered at the case management conference: 


a.         The possibility of settlement of the action or referral to ADR;

b.         The necessity of amendments to the pleadings;

c.         Itemization of expenses and special damages;

d.         Deadlines for the exchange of expert reports, completion of discovery,

and filing of motions;

e.         Dates for further pretrial conference and trial.


Failure of counsel to be fully prepared for the case management conference may result in sanctions. 



II.        Final Pre-trial


A.        Purpose


The purpose of this Conference is to effect an amicable settlement, if possible, and to narrow factual and legal issues by stipulation or motions.


B.        Final Pre-trial Statement


All counsel shall cooperate with Plaintiff’s counsel who shall file a joint statement at least one day before the final pre-trial, setting forth the following:


1.         Statement of agreed facts and issues, with disputed facts and issues of law noted;

2.         Jury instructions including a list of non-OJI contemplated by any party;

3.         Plaintiff’s demand and Defendant’s offer;

4.         List of expert and non-expert witnesses;

5.         Legal or evidentiary problems anticipated;

6.         Estimated length of trial;

7.         Each party’s anticipated pre-trial motions;

8.         Equipment needs for trial.


Failure of any party to cooperate in the joint statement may result in sanctions.


            C.        Attendance


All parties and chosen representatives must be present, or in exceptional circumstances with prior Court approval, be available by telephone, with full settlement authority.  If the real party in interest is an insurance company, corporation, or other artificial entity, then the chosen representative must have full authority to negotiate the claim to the full extent of Plaintiff’s demand.   


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I.          Expert Witnesses


A.        Reports


Each counsel shall exchange with all other counsel written reports of medical and expert witnesses expected to testify in advance of the trial.  The parties shall submit expert reports in accord with the time schedule established at the case management conference.  The party with the burden of proof as to a particular issue shall be required to first submit expert reports as to that issue.  Thereafter, the responding party shall submit opposing expert reports within the schedule established by the Court.  Upon good cause shown, the Court may grant the parties additional time within which to submit expert reports.  All experts must submit reports, including any party who will testify as an expert.


B.        Testifying


A party may not call an expert witness to testify unless a written report has been procured from the witness and provided to opposing counsel in accordance the schedule established by the Court.  It is counsel’s responsibility to ensure that each report adequately sets forth the expert’s opinion, including if necessary the procurement of supplemental reports.  The report of an expert must reflect his opinions as to each issue on which the expert will testify.  An expert will not be permitted to testify or provide opinions on issues not raised in his expert report.


            C.        Discovery Depositions


A party may take a discovery deposition of their opponent’s medical or expert witness only after the mutual exchange of reports has occurred.  Upon good cause shown, additional time after submission of both sides’ expert reports will be provided for these discovery depositions.  If a party chooses not to hire an expert in opposition to an issue, that party will be permitted to take the discovery deposition of the proponent’s expert.  In this situation, the taking of a discovery deposition of the proponent’s expert constitutes a waiver of the right on the part of the opponent to call an expert at trial on the issues raised in the proponent’s expert’s report. 


II.        Non-expert Witnesses


All parties are required to submit a trial witness list, including the full name and address of all witnesses expected to testify at the trial on their behalf, no later than fourteen days prior to the final pre-trial.  Thereafter, upon a showing of good cause, the opposing party may take the discovery deposition of any witness contained on the opposing trial witness list who has not been previously deposed during the normal discovery period.  This extension of discovery cutoff is specifically restricted to depositions not previously taken of individuals listed on the opponent’s trial witness list.


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Continuances of civil and criminal cases shall be in accordance with Rule 41 of Super-intendence for the Courts of Ohio.


I.          Failure to Proceed with Trial


If a party or counsel seeking affirmative relief fails to appear or is not ready to proceed with trial, the Court may in its discretion dismiss the claim for want of prosecution.  With respect to the Defendant or their counsel, the Court may proceed with the case and determine all matters ex parte. 


II.        Settlement or Dismissal Prior to Trial


If a case set for trial is settled or dismissed, the trial counsel shall immediately notify the Court.  Failure to timely provide notice may result in the imposition of additional costs.


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I.          ADR Methods


The Court recognizes these ADR methods: mediation, arbitration. The Court may approve any other ADR method the parties suggest or the Court believes is suited to the litigation. All ADR methods are important. Parties and counsel are expected to meaningfully participate.  Failure to comply with the rules will result in appropriate sanctions, including the possibility of dismissal, default or waiver of the right to file an appeal de novo.  Mediation is a non-binding process involving a neutral mediator who acts as a facilitator to assist the parties to craft a mutually acceptable resolution for themselves.  Arbitration is an adjudicative process by which a neutral person or persons decide the rights and obligations of the parties. It may be consensual, mandatory, non-binding, or binding.

II.        Timing of ADR Decision


Before the initial pre-trial conference in a case, counsel shall discuss the appropriateness of ADR in the litigation with their clients and with opposing counsel.  At the initial pre-trial conference the parties and counsel shall advise the Court of the results of their discussions concerning ADR. At that time and at subsequent conferences, if necessary, the Court may explore with the parties and counsel the possibility of using ADR.


III.       Opposition to ADR Referral


A party opposing either the ADR referral or the appointed mediator/arbitrator must file a written objection with the Court within seven days of receiving notice of the referral or provider and explain the reasons for any opposition.

IV.       Attendance and Authority to Settle


Unless otherwise provided by the Court, party representatives with authority to negotiate a settlement and all other persons necessary to negotiate a settlement, including insurance carriers, must attend any ADR session.  In the event the parties and or their attorneys do not attend the ADR session, or do not meaningfully participate in the process, the ADR provider(s) may recommend to the Judge appropriate sanctions, including but not limited to dismissal, default judgment, attorney fees and or costs.


V.        Binding Nature


The result of ADR proceedings are not binding unless the parties agree otherwise.

VI.       Confidentiality, Privileges and Immunities


All communications made during ADR procedures, other than by witnesses testifying under oath, are confidential and protected from disclosure, except as otherwise provided by law, and do not constitute a waiver of any existing privileges and immunities. ADR providers shall be prohibited from being called as witnesses in any subsequent legal proceeding, except as to the terms of the settlement agreement.


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I.          Arbitration Referral


In referring a case to arbitration, the Court considers the following conditions:

-  The case should be at least six months old; and

-  The apparent value of the claim or claims of each Plaintiff or Plaintiffs should not exceed fifty thousand dollars ($50,000.00) exclusive of interest and costs (this condition may be waived by agreement of all parties; and

-  Cases involving title to real estate or actions in equity are usually not suitable for arbitration unless the determination of a sum of money is a matter at issue, and it will substantially dispose of an action.


II.        Arbitrators


An arbitration panel shall consist of two members and a chairman.  The Court will select the chairman and provide the parties with a list of available arbitrators from which the remaining panelists may be drawn.  Attorneys desiring to be added or removed from the list shall notify the Court Administrator, who shall be responsible for maintaining the master list of all arbitration panelists.


A.        Qualifications


In order to serve as an arbitrator, one must have been admitted to the practice of law for more than two years and have consented to act as an arbitrator. 


            B.        Appointment of Arbitrators


Each side may request the appointment of an arbitrator from the list provided.  In addition both sides will each select two alternates who will serve in the event that the individual first selected is unavailable on the scheduled date.  Where there is more than one Plaintiff or more than one Defendant, each side shall nominate one arbitrator and two alternates.  In the event of a conflict the Court shall make appropriate rulings.


III.       Duties of Arbitrators


The arbitrators’ function is to consider the evidence, to apply the facts to the law in a fair and impartial manner, and to render a just decision.  The arbitrators shall:


-  Perform their duties fairly, impartially and diligently;

-  Be patient, dignified and courteous to all who come before them;

-  Be faithful to the law;

-  Be unswayed by personal interests or fear of criticism;

-  Not identify themselves as Plaintiff or Defendant's arbitrator.




When all the arbitrators are assembled and before the hearing begins, each arbitrator shall in the presence of the parties take an oath or affirmation, as follows:


"I solemnly affirm that I will faithfully and fairly hear and examine the matter in controversy and that I will make a just award to the best of my understanding and ability."


This oath shall not be waived.  Any arbitrator who fails to take this oath shall not be entitled to any compensation for serving as an arbitrator.




There shall be no communications by counsel or the parties with any arbitrator concerning the merits of the controversy prior to the commencement of the arbitration hearing nor following the conclusion of the arbitration hearing until the Report and Award has been filed and served on all parties.


VI.       Compensation of Arbitrators


Each member of arbitration panel who has sworn the oath, signed an award, or files a minority report shall receive as compensation for his or her services in each case a fee of one hundred dollars ($100.00). When more than one case arising out of the same transaction is heard at the same hearing or hearings, it shall be considered as one case insofar as compensation of the arbitrators is concerned.   In cases requiring hearings of unusual duration involving questions of unusual complexity, the assigned Judge, on motion of the members of the panel and for cause shown, may allow additional compensation. The members of a panel shall not be entitled to receive their fees until after filing the Report and Award with the Court. Fees paid to arbitrators shall not be taxed as costs.




The arbitration fee shall be split equally among the parties and be in accordance with the schedule on file with the Clerk of Courts.  Payments shall be made to the Clerk of Courts no later than fourteen days before the date set for the arbitration hearing.  Failure to pay by the time period prescribed may result in an order for the delinquent party to pay the entire cost of the arbitration and a refund of the sums deposited by the non-delinquent parties.  In the event that one or more parties are unable due to poverty to make the payment for arbitrators' fees, they may file a motion and affidavit of indigency.


VIII.    Settlement OR Dismissal Prior to Scheduled Arbitration


The parties are responsible for immediately notifying all members of the arbitration panel and the Court of a settlement or dismissal.  If a case is settled or dismissed more than two Court days prior to the date scheduled for the hearing, the panel members shall not be entitled to any fee except in cases where the arbitrators are not notified of the settlement or dismissal by that date. If a case is settled or dismissed within that two-day period, the panel members shall be entitled to receive the fee.


IX.       Continuances or Cancellations


Continuances of arbitrations are counter productive and requests are discouraged absent exigent circumstances.  Under no circumstances shall an arbitration be continued or cancelled by the parties.  Arbitrations may be rescheduled only by order of the Court.  Court approval shall be conditioned upon a written motion filed forty-eight hours prior to the scheduled arbitration.  Said motion shall contain the new arbitration date and time, which the moving party has confirmed with the arbitrators and opposing counsel.  In the event a party requests a continuance within two Court days of a scheduled arbitration, the panel members shall be entitled to receive their fee.  The party requesting a continuance shall deposit the entire arbitration fee no later than seven days after the continuance request.  The arbitration fee for the new arbitration date shall be in accordance with VII above.  Failure to appear at a scheduled arbitration may result in a dismissal or default against the non-attending party.


X.        Conduct of Hearing – General Powers


            A.        Evidence


Although strict conformity to legal rules of evidence is not necessary, the panel shall receive only relevant and material evidence. All evidence shall be taken in the presence of the arbitrators and the parties except where any of the parties is absent, is in default or has waived the right to be present. The panel shall receive evidence in the following forms:


1.         Sworn testimony by competent witnesses;

2.         The product of all discovery completed prior to the hearing;

3.         Affidavits, documentary evidence and/or written reports, provided that such evidence has been served upon the adverse parties or their counsel at least fourteen days before the hearing, unless counsel otherwise agree.


Notwithstanding the above, the panel may receive additional evidence as it deems proper.  All evidence received shall be given such weight as the board deems it is entitled to after consideration of any objections, which may be made.




B.        Powers


The arbitrators shall have the general powers of a Court including, but not limited to, the following powers: 


1.         Subpoenas - to cause the issuance of subpoenas to witnesses to appear before the panel.  Counsel shall whenever possible produce a party or witness at the hearing without the necessity of a subpoena.

2.         Production of Documents - to compel the production of all books, papers and documents which they shall deem material to the case.

3.         Administering Oaths; Admissibility of Evidence - to administer oaths or affirmations to witnesses, to determine the admissibility of evidence, to permit testimony to be offered by depositions and to decide the law and the facts of the case submitted to them.


            C.        Documentary Evidence


In actions involving personal injury and/or damage to property, the following documents may be offered and shall be received into evidence without further proof, for purposes of proving the value and reasonableness of the charges for services, labor and material, or items contained therein, and, where applicable, the necessity for furnishing the same.  The foregoing is conditioned upon the adverse party receiving a copy of same at least fourteen days before the hearing, unless counsel otherwise agree.


1.         Medical bills, including the following:


a.         Health Care Providers - bills of hospitals, doctors, dentists, nurses, therapists, and all other health care providers, on the proper form or letterhead, when itemized and dated;

b.         Bills for Medicines, etc. - bills for medicines, eye glasses, prosthetic devices, medical appliances, or similar items.


2.         Property Repair Bills or Estimates - property repair bills or estimates, when identified and itemized setting forth the charges for labor and material used in the repair of the property, provided that sufficient proof of ownership is offered by the party seeking to introduce such bill or estimate.

3.         Procedure in Case of Estimate - in the case of an estimate, the party intending to offer the estimate shall forward with his or her notice to the adverse party, together with a copy of the estimate, a statement indicating whether or not the property was repaired, and if it was, whether the estimated repairs were made in full or part, attaching a copy of the receipted bill showing the items or repair made and the amount paid.  

4.         Records and Reports:


a.         Police, sheriff and highway patrol reports. 

b.         Hospital, medical, therapy, doctor's reports, and x-rays. 

c.         Employer's reports on lost wages and economist reports.


5.         Similar Materials - any reports and/or records and/or other materials that are substantially similar to any of the items specifically set forth may be offered and shall be admitted into evidence.


XI.       Supervisory Powers of Court


The assigned Judge shall have full supervisory powers with regard to any questions that arise in all arbitration proceedings and in the application of these rules.


XII.     Witness Fees


Witness fees in any case referred to arbitration shall be in the same amount as now or hereafter provided for witnesses in trials in the Common Pleas Court of Lorain County, Ohio. These costs may be ordered taxed in the case and the costs in any case shall be paid by the same party or parties by whom they would have been paid had the case been tried in the Common Pleas Court of Lorain County, Ohio.


XII.     Transcript of Testimony


The arbitrators shall not be required to make a transcript of the proceedings before them. If any party shall desire a transcript, that party at its own costs shall provide a reporter and cause a record to be made. Any party desiring a copy of any transcript shall be provided with it by the reporter upon payment, based upon the usual charges made for a copy of a deposition.


XIV.    Default - Failure to Appear


An arbitration may proceed in the absence of any party who, after due notice, fails to be present or fails to obtain an adjournment. An award shall not be made solely on the default of a party. The arbitration panel shall require the other party to submit such evidence as they may require for the making of an award.  The failure of a party to appear either in person or by counsel and participate in an arbitration proceeding shall be considered a waiver of the right to file an appeal de novo and a consent to the entry by the Court of judgment on the report and award of the panel.  The Court to whom a case is assigned may for good cause shown, grant leave to file an appeal de novo to a party who has failed to appear and participate in an arbitration.  The party requesting leave shall do so by motion within ten days after the filing of the arbitrators’ Report and Award.


XV.     Report and Award


Within seven days following the hearing, the arbitration panel shall file a report and award with the Court. An award may not exceed fifty thousand dollars ($50,000.00) per Plaintiff and/or cross-claimant, exclusive of interest, unless the parties have waived the monetary limits. The report and award shall be signed by all of the arbitrators.  In the event all three arbitrators do not agree on the finding and award, the dissenting individual shall write the word "dissents" before the signature.  A minority report shall not be required unless the dissenting arbitrator elects to submit a report due to unusual circumstances.  The Report and Award, unless appealed, shall be final and shall have the attributes and legal effect of a verdict.  If no appeal is taken within the time and in the manner specified, the Court shall enter judgment. After entry of judgment, execution process may be issued as in the case of other judgments. 


XVI.    Appeals

Except as otherwise provided in these rules, any party may appeal from an arbitration. No appeal can be withdrawn without consent of all parties. The filing of a single appeal shall be sufficient to require a de novo trial of the entire case on all issues and as to all parties without the necessity of each party filing a separate appeal de novo.  The right of appeal shall be subject to the following conditions, all of which shall be complied with within thirty (30) days after filing of the arbitrators’ Report and Award.


A.        Appeal de Novo

An appellant shall file a notice of appeal de novo, in the office of the Clerk, together with an affidavit indicating that the appeal is not being taken for delay but because the appellant believes an injustice has been done. Arbitrations shall not be substituted for discovery.  Frivolous appeals of arbitration decisions shall be subject to sanctions.  In addition to payment of the sum mentioned below, the appellant shall serve a copy of the notice of appeal and affidavit upon all parties or their counsel.


B.        Appeal Filing Fee


The appellant shall pay an appeal filing fee in accordance with the schedule on file with the Clerk of Courts contemporaneously with the filing of the notice of appeal de novo.  An appeal shall not be considered so filed until said fee has been paid or an affidavit of indigency filed.  With respect to the appeal filing fee, the sum of one hundred fifty dollars ($150.00) shall not be taxed as costs in the case and shall be recoverable by the appellant only if: 


1.         Upon a trial de novo, the appellant secures a judgment: (a) which reverses the decision of the arbitrators, or (b) which is more favorable to the appellant than the award of the arbitrators; or

2.         Prior to a trial de novo, the appellant secures a settlement which is more favorable to the appellant than the award of the arbitrators and such settlement is evidenced by an entry of dismissal, which recites that the Court has been advised of the amount of settlement and orders the Clerk of Courts to refund the aforementioned sum.


C.        Affidavit of Indigency


A party, desiring to appeal an award, may concurrently with the filing of a notice of appeal de novo file with the assigned Judge a written motion and affidavit averring that by reason of poverty the party is unable to make the payments required for an appeal and requesting the Court to allow an appeal de novo without payment of the amount specified above.  If after due notice to the opposing parties, the Judge is satisfied with the truth of the statement in the affidavit, the Judge may order that the appeal of such party be allowed although the amounts are not paid by the appellant.  If, however, the Plaintiff or party appealing, who has filed a poverty affidavit as described above, receives a settlement, or judgment in the case, the Defendant or party who agrees to or is ordered to pay the judgment, shall pay first to the Clerk of Courts out of the settlement or judgment, before making payment to anyone else, an amount equal to all arbitration compensation fees and appeal de novo fees previously waived by an affidavit of poverty.


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I.          Case Selection for Mediation


Any civil case may be referred to mediation.  Mediation shall not be used as an alternative to the prosecution or adjudication of domestic violence, to determine whether to grant, modify, or terminate a protection order, to determine the terms and conditions of a protection order, or to determine the penalty for violation of a protection order.


II.        Referral to Mediation


A case is referred to mediation by order of the Court.  The Court may issue the order on its own motion, upon the motion of counsel, upon referral by the mediator or upon agreement of the parties. 


III.       Continuances


Continuances shall be granted only for good cause shown.  Except as authorized by the Court, the existence of pending motions shall not be good cause for a continuance and no continuance will be granted unless the mediation can be scheduled prior to the final pre-trial.


IV.       No Stay of Proceedings


All remaining court orders shall remain in effect. No order is stayed or suspended during the mediation process.  


V.        mediation privilege


Mediation communications are privileged as described in Ohio Revised Code 2710.03-2710.05. If the parties believe that confidentiality beyond the scope of the privilege is necessary, then the parties shall effect a written confidentiality agreement prior to the mediation.




Mediator is defined to mean any individual who mediates cases pursuant to an order of this Court, regardless of whether that individual is an employee, an independent contractor or a volunteer.  The mediator shall inform the Court who attended the mediation, whether the case settled, and whether efforts to settle the case through mediation are being continued or if the case is being returned to the Court for further proceedings.  No other information shall be directly or indirectly communicated by the mediator to the Court, unless all who hold a mediation privilege, including the mediator, have consented to such disclosure.  The mediator shall keep mediation communications confidential unless all who hold a mediation privilege, including the mediator, have consented to such disclosure.




Trial counsel who is primarily responsible for each party’s case personally shall attend the mediation conference and shall be prepared and authorized to discuss all relevant issues and settlement terms.   All parties, or if applicable, the principal insurance adjuster for the claim, shall personally attend all mediation conferences with authority to settle.  A party other than a natural person must be represented by a person, other than counsel, with authority to settle.


If counsel or any mediation party becomes aware of the identity of a person or entity whose consent is required to resolve the dispute, but who has not yet been joined as a party in the pleadings, they shall promptly inform the mediator as well as the assigned Judge of such fact. 


If the opposing parties to any case either resided in a common residence or are related by blood, adoption, or marriage and have known or alleged domestic abuse at any time prior to the mediation, then the parties and their counsel have a duty to disclose such information to the Mediation Office and have a duty to participate in any screening required by the Supreme Court of Ohio’s Rules of Superintendence Rule 16 both prior to and in the mediator’s discretion, during the mediation session.


Individuals who participate in a mediation as non-party participants, by such participation, are bound by this rule and submit to the Court’s jurisdiction to the extent necessary for enforcement of this rule.   Any non-party participant shall have the rights and duties under this rule as are attributed to parties, except that no privilege shall be expanded.


VIII.    Immunity


A mediator acting pursuant to this local rule shall have all immunity conferred by statute, rule and common law.


IV.       No Legal Advice


The efforts of the mediator shall not be construed as giving legal advice.  The mediator is authorized to provide resource information for legal or other support services available in the community; however, such distribution shall not be construed as a recommendation of or referral to such resource.  The recipient of that information is charged with the duty to evaluate those resources independently.


X.        Sanctions


Failure to attend mediation without good cause may result in sanctions being imposed by the Court.  Such sanctions may include attorney’s fees or such other sanctions as the Court deems appropriate.

XI.       Administrative Dismissal


If the parties fail to dismiss a settled case within the earlier of 60 days or the time noted in the entry that gave the Court notice of the settlement, then the Court may dismiss the case administratively.


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In actions to quiet title, partition, and for marshaling and foreclosure of liens on real property, the attorney for the Plaintiff shall procure and file with the Clerk, within 30 days after the filing of the complaint, evidence of the record title to the premises in question, including but not limited to, the names of the owners of the property to be sold and the names of all lienholders.  Evidence of the title may be demonstrated by a preliminary opinion of the attorney in a form and to such extent as would satisfy the requirements of the Marketable Title Act or a preliminary judicial report issued by a title insurance company.  Such opinion or report shall be rendered as of a date which is 14 days after the date of the filing of the complaint, and shall include all matters affecting the title up to and including a date which is 14 days after the filing date of the complaint.  Upon failure of the attorney for the Plaintiff to comply with the foregoing requirement within 60 days after filing of the complaint, any cross-complainant or other interested party, upon notice to Plaintiff’s attorney, may procure leave to furnish and file such evidence of title within the ensuing 30 days.  Such evidence of title or copy thereof shall become and remain a part of the files in the case.  Where the evidence of title indicates that necessary parties have not been made Defendants, the attorney for the party filing the same shall proceed without delay to cause such new parties to be added and served.




Prior to or contemporaneously with the submission of the final entry of judgment in any such case, a final opinion of attorney or final judicial report shall be prepared and filed in accordance with the foregoing requirements showing the description of the property and the record state of title as of the day following the filing of the decree.  Such extension shall also become and remain a part of the files in the case.




Failure to comply with the foregoing requirements shall be grounds for dismissal of an action.  Dismissal may be granted on motion of any party or upon the motion of the Court.




The reasonable expense of the title work required under this rule for each property involved may be taxed as part of the costs in favor of the Plaintiff unless otherwise ordered by the Court.




For purpose of reporting by trial Judge to the Supreme Court in foreclosure cases, the entry granting final judgment will determine the date of case closure.  All other proceedings in foreclosure cases will proceed according to law.




All judgment orders of foreclosure and sale shall contain the legal description of the property to be sold, together with the permanent parcel number, and address, if applicable.




In all foreclosure actions and Sheriff’s sales, the purchaser shall pay all required real estate taxes directly to the Lorain County Treasurer.  Real estate taxes shall include delinquent, tax certified liens, and current taxes.  The purchaser shall obtain a verification form from the Treasurer’s office to be delivered to the Sheriff’s civil division.  No deed will be issued without proper verification from the Treasurer’s office.


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In every Sheriff’s sale of real property, the purchaser, immediately following the acceptance of bid, shall deposit in cash, certified check, or personal check payable to the Sheriff, 10% of the amount of such accepted bid, but in no event less than $1,000.00.  The purchaser shall be required to pay interest on said unpaid balance at 10% per annum from the date of confirmation of the sale to the date of payment of the balance unless the balance shall be paid within 8 business days from the date of confirmation of sale.  Any interest received shall be distributed by the Sheriff to the parties entitled to distribution of the proceeds of the sale in the proper order of priority.  The provisions of this paragraph shall not be applicable when the purchaser is the plaintiff or in tax foreclosure cases for non-payment of real estate taxes.




Within 10 days of the date of sale, the Sheriff shall make his return to the Court.  Counsel for Plaintiff shall submit a proposed journal entry confirming the sale and file a motion requesting the Court to confirm the sale, stating in the motion the date the sale was held, and send copies to all parties or their counsel by regular U.S. mail, no later than 14 days following the day on which the sale was held.  It shall not be necessary to have approval of any parties or their counsel prior to filing such entry.  The failure of Plaintiff’s counsel to submit a confirmation order within the time provided may result in sanctions, including any damages, costs, or fees incurred by the purchasing party.   





In the event a purchaser fails to pay the balance due on the purchase price and complete the purchase within 30 days after confirmation of sale, the purchaser shall be in contempt of this court, and the Sheriff shall forthwith cause a citation to issue commanding such defaulting purchaser to appear and show cause why an order of contempt should not issue. 




In each advertisement of sale, the Sheriff shall cause to be included a notice that the full purchase price shall be paid within 30 days from confirmation of sale and unless paid within 8 business days after confirmation of sale, shall bear interest at 10% per annum until paid, otherwise the purchaser shall be adjudged to be in contempt of court.  The Sheriff shall forward to each attorney of record in every judicial proceeding a copy of the advertisement of sale.




Appraisal fees shall be based on the Auditor’s last tax appraisal of the property as shown by his duplicates and be scaled in accordance with the schedule on file with the Clerk of Courts.   


VI.       CANCELLATION OF SALE           


Except in the case of bankruptcy, no Sheriff’s sale will be cancelled prior to all costs and fees being paid in full.  The cancellation of Sheriff’s sale shall be by written motion filed 24 hours prior to the date of sale and include a copy of the receipt evidencing payment of costs. 


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            The responsibility for the administration of the jury system will be vested in the Court’s Jury Management Division under the supervision of the Administrative Judge of the Lorain County Court of Common Pleas.  All procedures concerning jury selection and service are governed by the Ohio Revised Code and the Ohio Rules of Court.


A.  Grand Jury


1.  Grand jury meets twice a week for three consecutive months.  There are two groups of grand jurors which will meet weekly as provided by the schedule established by the Judge presiding over the grand jury for that term.

2.  The foreperson(s) may be appointed by the Judge presiding over the grand jury for that term.

            3.  100 grand jurors shall be pulled for each three month term; 50 for each grand jury.

4.  In addition to the foreperson, the jury commissioner shall provide 11 additional grand jurors for each session, or as provided by the schedule established by the Judge presiding over the grand jury for that term.

B. Petit Jury - Selection.


            1.  Petit jury is for three weeks.

            2.  450 jurors may be pulled for each three week period.

3.  The Jury Commission prepares the summons to jury duty not less than three weeks prior to the date of service.  The summons includes the juror’s group number, term of service, and a questionnaire which is to be returned within 5 days.

4.  As jurors return their questionnaires, the Jury Commissioner must sort the responses according to the date upon which the juror is to begin his/her service, juror group number, and whether the person is a qualified or unqualified candidate to be a juror.


                        a.  A qualified candidate is one who meets the statutory qualifications.

b.  If a candidate fails to meet the statutory criteria, the Jury Commissioner shall notify the candidate that he or she is exempt.

c.  In the event that a candidate seeks exemption that is not resolved by statutory exemption, such request will be sent to the Judge currently presiding over the grand jury, or that Judge’s representative, for review.


5.  The Jury Commissioner retains the juror questionnaires for a period of 4 years for capital cases; all others may be destroyed upon completion of the venire period.


C.  Petit Jury – Trial preparation.


            1.  Each day the Jury Commissioner must do the following to prepare for trial:


a.  Determine the jury needs for each court.  The Jury Commissioner will list whether jurors are needed for civil or criminal cases and whether any extra jurors are needed.

b.  Determine how many trials will be starting the next day and the number of jurors to send to each courtroom.


                                    1.  A minimum of 20 jurors are needed for a civil case.

                                    2.  A minimum of 30 jurors are needed for a criminal case.


c.  Create a list for each judge with the juror group number assigned to their courtroom for the next day.

d.  Sort the questionnaires, arranging the stacks to be sent to the courtrooms for the next day.

e.  Prepare the message for the jury recording.  Jurors shall be on call Monday through Friday.


            2.  The Jury Commissioner must perform the following on the day of trial:


a.  After the jurors sign in, determine which jurors did not show up and move their questionnaires to the bottom of the pile.

b.  Print the finalized list with one copy for the courtroom and two copies for the Jury Commission office.

                        c.  Send copies of the list and questionnaires to the courtrooms.

                        d.  Inform the bailiff when the jurors are prepared and available for service.

                        e.  Call any juror who did not show up for service.

f.  Record those jurors who have been seated on a case so as not to call those jurors for a trial in another courtroom that day.

g.  Sort questionnaires, placing all jurors in one pile and not seated in another pile should there be a need for jurors in another courtroom that day.

                        h.  If a juror is not seated, that juror goes back into the pool.


D.  Jury orientation.


            1.  The Jury Commissioner must perform the following in order to orient new jurors:


                        a.  Introduce self as Jury Commissioner and explain duties briefly.

                        b.  Check the sign in sheet to determine who is present.

c.  Explain that petit jury is for three weeks and that in circumstances in which civil cases will be heard, eight jurors will be seated, and in criminal cases with crimes classified as felonies, twelve jurors will be seated, with one or two alternates.

                        d.  Inform the jurors about parking.

                        e.  Answer any questions which jurors may have.