Civil Info

Applicability; authority; citation
Commencement of Action
Case Management in Special Proceedings
Process; summons
Service and filing of pleadings and other papers subsequent to the original complaint
Use of depositions in court proceedings
Failure to make discovery; sanctions
Jury trial of right
Effective Date

WCH CIV R 1.1 Applicability; authority; citation

These rules prescribe local civil procedures to be followed in the Washington Court House Municipal Court adopted pursuant to the inherent authority as reserved in Rule 83 of the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure and establish, pursuant to Sup R 5, a system for civil case management which will achieve the prompt and fair disposal of civil cases.

These rules shall be known as the Local Civil Rules of the Washington Court House Municipal Court and shall be cited as "WCH CIV R ." Where possible, they have been numbered to correspond with the numbering of the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure.

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WCH CIV R 3.1 Commencement of Action

(A) The scheduling of a case begins when a civil case is filed. The clerk shall, upon receiving papers for filing, docket the same and place the original of said papers in the file jacket without delay. The court may order stricken any filed paper which does not comply with the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure. Thereafter, the case is managed in five (5) clerical steps.

(B) Clerical steps.

(1)Summons shall be served in accordance with the Ohio Rules of Procedure. In the event there is a failure of service, the clerk shall notify counsel immediately. If counsel fails to obtain service of summons within six (6) months from the date the cause of action has been filed, then the clerk shall notify counsel that the case will be dismissed in thirty (30) days unless good cause is shown to the contrary.

(2)Upon perfection of service, the clerk shall notify counsel of the default and that a failure to submit a motion and an entry within thirty (30) days may result in the case being dismissed.

(3)If a responsive pleading is required, and after any responsive pleading is filed, the clerk shall immediately forward said pleading and file to the judge so the matter may be set for a hearing.

(4)If no action has been taken on a file for a six (6) month period and the case is not set for trial, then the clerk shall notify the party that the matter will be dismissed within thirty (30) days unless good cause is shown.

(5)When a file has been marked "settlement entry to come" and the entry has not been received within thirty (30) days, then the clerk shall notify the party the case will be dismissed unless the entry is received within ten (10) days.

(C) Judicial steps:

(1)Pre-trial Reports. After the last responsive pleading is filed, the case will be forwarded to the judge. The court will then order pre-trial reports to be filed within 45 days if the claim is for $1,000.00 or more. If the claim is under $1,000.00, no pre-trial reports shall be ordered unless the court orders otherwise, and the case shall be set for trial within 60 days.

Upon receipt of the pre-trial order, it shall be the duty of counsel to contact each other, make a sincere effort to dispose of the matter by settlement, and agree on any matters of evidence about which there is not genuine dispute.

All discovery is to be completed by the date set for the filing of the pre-trial reports unless the court grants an extension of time upon filing a motion and judgment.

Failure to file the pre-trial report with the court, as ordered, may result in appropriate sanctions being taken against the party.

(2)Motions: All motions must be in writing and accompanied by a written memorandum containing citations or the arguments of counsel. Opposing counsel shall answer in like manner within fourteen (14) days thereafter. All motions will be considered submitted at the end of said fourteen (14) day period unless time is extended by the court.

(3)Pre-trials: A pre-trial conference may be ordered by the court and shall be ordered if a timely jury demand has been filed.

For the purpose of this rule, "pre-trial" shall mean a court-supervised conference chiefly designed to produce an amicable settlement. The term "party" or "parties" used hereinafter shall mean the party or parties to the action, and/or his, hers, or their attorney of record.

Any attorney for the party to the action who fails to attend a scheduled pre-trial conference, without just cause being shown, may be punished as for contempt of this court.

Notice of pre-trial conference shall be given to all counsels of record by mail and/or by telephone from the assignment commissioner not less than fourteen (14) days prior to the conference. Any application for continuance of the conference shall be addressed to the judge to whom the case has been assigned.

Counsel attending the pre-trial conference must have complete authority to stipulate items of evidence and must have full settlement authority. If counsel does not have such authority, then the parties must attend the pre-trial conference including representatives of any insurance companies which are involved in the case.

The primary purpose of the pre-trial conference shall be to achieve an amicable settlement of the controversy in the suit. The court shall attempt to narrow legal issues, to reach stipulations as to facts in controversy, and in general, to shorten the time and expense of trial. The court will file a pre-trial statement to become part of the record, embracing all stipulations, admissions, and other matters which have come before it in the pre-trial. The court shall, at that time, determine whether trial briefs should be submitted and shall fix a date when they are to be filed.

The court shall have the authority to dismiss the action for want of prosecution on motion of the defendant upon failure of plaintiff, and/or his counsel, to appear in person at any pre-trial conference or trial; to order the plaintiff to proceed with the case and to decide and determine all matters ex parte upon failure of the defendant to appear in person or by counsel at any pre-trial conference or trial as required; and to make such other orders as the court may deem appropriate under all the circumstances.

If the case cannot be settled at pre-trial, then the case will be set for trial at a time agreeable to all parties.

(5)Jury Trials: If a jury trial is requested, a timely written jury demand must be filed with the court and jury demand fees must be paid at the clerk's office. The Counsel for the party demanding a jury trial, within thirty (30) days after the pretrial conference, must prepare, file with the Court, and serve upon counsel of the other party, the proposed jury instructions pertaining to the specific isues of law including, but not limited to, the issue of damages. After receipt of the proposed jury instructions, counsel for the other party may, within twenty (20) days, file necessary amendments or changes to the proposed jury instructions. Failure to file the jury instructions and trial briefs will result in appropriate sanctions being taken against the party, including possible loss of right to a jury trial. If the jury demand fees are not filed, then the court may proceed to try the case without jury.

(6)Continuances: Procedures for continuances are set forth in Sup R 41 and WCH Local R 41.1 as well as Sup R 56.

(7)Judgment entries: Judgment entries shall be filed in accordance with Sup R 57 and WCH Local R 57.1.

Entries of settlement may be filed at any time. The avoidance of trial by settlement shall be allowed without the filing of any entry, but such entry shall be filed within fourteen (14) days or the case will be dismissed for want of prosecution.

Upon notification from the clerk that the case has defaulted, prevailing counsel shall submit an application for default judgment within fourteen (14) days or the case will be dismissed for want of prosecution.

The journal entry shall state which party will pay the court costs.
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WCH CIV R 3.2 Case Management in Special Proceedings

(A) The purpose of this rule is to establish, pursuant to Sup R 5, a case management system for special proceedings to achieve a prompt and fair disposition of these matters. The following civil matters are considered special proceedings and may be heard by a judge or magistrate, to wit: forcible entry and detainer, small claims, default hearings, trusteeships, rent escrow, replevin, motion to cite, garnishment hearings, and debtor's exams.

(1)Cases that have time limits established by the Ohio Revised Code shall be set within those time limits for hearing.

(2)In all other special proceedings, the case shall be set for hearing within a reasonable time not to exceed ninety (90) days, except Bureau of Motor Vehicle hearings which shall be set for a pre-trial conference.

(3)All applicable clerical and judicial steps provided in WCH CIV R 3.1 shall be followed in cases involving special proceedings.

(B) Forcible Entry & Detainer Hearings

(1)Jurisdiction in forcible entry and detainer actions is as established by Ohio Revised Code Section 1923.01. All forcible entry and detainer cases shall be set for hearing pursuant to the time limits set forth in the Ohio Revised Code. At that hearing, the Ohio Rules of Evidence and the applicable Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure will be applied.

(2)Complaints in actions in forcible detainer will be called on the appearance call day as indicated in the summons. Trial by jury will be waived unless demand is filed before the appearance date.

The time for serving a responsive pleading to any claim for relief, in addition to the possessory action, will be governed by the Civil Rules. A judge or referee of this court shall preside at the appearance call for forcible detainer cases.

(3)The Clerk shall refuse to accept for filing any forcible detainer case wherein the notice given by the landlord to recover residential premises does not contain the wording required by Section 1923.04 of the Ohio Revised Code printed in a conspicuous manner on said notice and wherein a copy of such notice is not attached to the complaint.

(4)If an answer or jury demand is filed in a forcible entry and detainer case, then the clerk shall forward the case to a judge so the case can be scheduled for the appropriate hearing.

(C) Small Claims Court

(1)A small claim division is established under authority of Section 1925.01 of the Ohio Revised Code. A small claim action is commenced by filing a small claims petition, pursuant to Ohio Revised Code Section 1925.04. No defendant is required to file an answer or statement of defense. However, should the defendant fail to appear for hearing, after being duly served, then a default judgment will be entered against said defendant. All pleadings will be construed to accomplish substantial justice.

(2)Upon filing of motion and affidavit and upon payment of the required cost, the small claim will be transferred to the regular docket pursuant to Ohio Revised Code Section 1925.10. No transfer will be granted until the filing costs are paid.

(3)The plaintiff and defendant may subpoena and call witnesses if they desire to do so. The Ohio Rules of Evidence and the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure will not apply to a hearing in small claims court.

(4)The employees of the court shall assist the prevailing parties in collecting their judgments pursuant to Ohio Revised Code Section 1925.13.

(D) Default Hearings

(1)This Court will not grant a default judgment unless it is in compliance with Civil Rule 54 (C). A judgment by default shall not be different in kind from, or exceed in amount, that prayed for in the demand for judgment. Except as to a party against whom a judgment is entered by default, every final judgment shall grant the relief to which the party in whose favor it is rendered is entitled, even if the party has not demanded the relief in the pleadings.

(2)When filing for default judgment on civil actions, an affidavit must be filed indicating the defendant is not in the military service.

(3)When filing for default judgments of civil actions for liquidated amounts when a hearing is not required by Civil Rule 55 of the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedures, an affidavit by the plaintiff should be submitted along with the judgment stating the amount owed.

(4)In cases involving damages, the Court requires copies of checks, accident reports and any other information showing money paid out.

(E) Trusteeships

(1)The application for appointment of a trustee shall include a complete and accurate statement, under oath, of: (a) the debtor's name, address and marital status; (b) the name and address of his/her employer or employers; (c) the amount of gross earnings for the previous thirty days; and (d) a statement indicating the name of a creditor from whom a fifteen-day written notice of proceedings against the debtor's earnings has been received. Upon the filing of an application, the Clerk shall immediately become the trustee without formal order of the court. Objections of interested parties to the application shall be heard at the appearance call, as designated by the Clerk.

(2)At the time of filing the application, the attorney for the debtor shall deliver to the Clerk a notice of the appointment and hearing in which the Clerk will insert a hearing time, and which notice the attorney shall send to each creditor by certified mail, return receipt, and the receipts shall be filed with the Clerk prior to said hearing. Each notice shall contain the name of the applicant, the sum applicant claims is owing to the creditor, the time and place objections to said application shall be heard, and a space for the verification or objections of the creditor.

(3)The filing of the application shall stay all proceedings against personal earnings of the applicant. If the order of attachment or order in aid of execution is served upon the employer or garnishee prior to the time of the filing of the application, the personal earnings subject to the order of the court shall be paid to the Clerk of Court for distribution in the case in which said order was made. In the event that the application is filed prior to the time the order of attachment or order in aid of execution is served upon the employer or garnishee, the personal earnings subject to the order of the court shall be ordered paid to the trustee.

(4)Additional creditors may be listed in the trusteeship only upon application, and the service of a notice to each additional creditor as heretofore provided. If such application is made by a creditor, a similar notice must be given to the debtor unless the creditor has obtained a judgment in a court of record.

(5)Fees for legal services rendered the debtor by counsel of record in the trusteeship may be added or increased only by entry endorsed by counsel and the debtor. The trustee shall make distribution herein only to a creditor or his agent.

(6)The Clerk, or a Deputy appointed by the Clerk, shall supervise payments of debtors and distribute the funds in each case at least every six months, unless the amount available does not equal ten percent (10%) of the claims listed. Where the debtor pays directly, the Clerk shall require the debtor to produce payroll stubs or similar records and the Clerk may refuse to accept payments or installments thereof, which do not equal the amount required by law. In the event that payments are not made according to law and when two (2) consecutive payments to the court are not made or whenever the trusteeship is in arrears in the amount of two full payments, the trusteeship may be dismissed and proceeds distributed proportionately to trusteeship creditors.

(7)The order of dismissal of a trusteeship shall not be vacated, nor shall a trusteeship otherwise be reinstated, except as provided under Section 2329.70 of the Ohio Revised Code, and upon payment of the amount required by law, unless otherwise directed by the court.

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WCH CIV R 4.1 Process; summons

Plaintiffs shall tender, with the original complaint, a sufficient number of service copies for all defendants to be served. The original, plus all copies of the complaint, must be signed in order to be accepted for filing with the court.

WCH CIV R 5.1 Service and filing of pleadings and other papers subsequent to the original complaint

All documents, except the complaint offered for filing, required to be served on other parties shall contain proof of service in the form provided by Civ R 5 (D).

WCH CIV R 32.1 Use of depositions in court proceedings

(A) Opening of depositions. When a deposition has been filed in any action, except in actions for which the law prescribes a different procedure, it shall be opened only by the Clerk at the direction of the court or at the direction of any counsel of record. The fact and date of opening, and the name of the person making such request, shall be endorsed by the Clerk on the envelope containing the deposition, which envelope shall be preserved with the deposition.

(B) Withdrawal of depositions. Depositions on file shall not be withdrawn except by leave of the court, granted upon motion, and due notice to the proper party on whose behalf the depositions were filed.
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WCH CIV R 37.1 Failure to make discovery; sanctions

Interrogatories, requests for production of documents, requests for admissions, and responses to such discovery shall not be filed with the court except in those cases where informal attempts at discovery are ineffective and it becomes necessary to file a motion to compel discovery under the provisions of Rule 37 of the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure.

WCH CIV R 38.1 Jury trial of right

Requests for trial by jury shall be made in accordance with Rule 38 of the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure. A filing fee is required for the jury demand and is to be paid at the time the demand is filed, unless an affidavit of hardship, approved by the court, is filed in lieu of said filing fee. The filing fee shall be as set forth in the most recently adopted Fees and Costs Schedule for Civil Cases.

The court shall order the parties to pay a deposit for the payment of jury as security for costs, unless an affidavit of hardship, approved by the court, is filed in lieu of the deposit.

The failure of a party demanding a jury to comply with any of the provisions of this rule shall constitute a waiver of the jury, and the matter shall be submitted to and decided by the court.
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WCH CIV R 45.1 Subpoena

When a precipe for a subpoena is filed for a person who lives outside of Fayette County, Ohio, the appropriate fees shall be paid with the filing of the precipe.

The return for subpoenas of witnesses shall be filed with the clerk before the date of trial.

The failure to appear of a witness for whom the return was not filed in accordance with this rule will not be grounds for a continuance of the case. Failure of any witness to appear in court may subject them to prosecution for contempt of court if said witness was duly subpoenaed.
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WCH CIV R 69.1 Execution

(A) Aid of Execution. Proceedings in aid of execution shall be filed on forms prescribed by the court and shall consist of the original to be retained by the clerk, as many copies thereof as there are parties to be served in the proceedings, and one copy for the return of service. The name of the attorney filing the proceedings shall appear at the place provided on the original and upon all copies.

In case of multiple judgment debtors, separate proceedings shall be filed for each debtor; costs shall be taxed as for the number of proceedings filed for each debtor.

In all cases in which an order of attachment or an order in aid of execution is filed against personal earnings, a copy of the written demand and proof of service thereof, as required by Section 2716.04 of the Ohio Revised Code, shall be attached to the orginal copy of the proceedings to be filed with and retained by the clerk.

Orders in aid of execution shall be served as provided in Section 2716.02 of the Ohio Revised Code.

Should the plaintiff or his attorney fail to appear at the time for examination set forth in the order, the presence of anyone summoned to appear shall be noted on the docket.

(B) Citation in Contempt.

The failure of any person to appear for examination or to hold funds, as directed under proceedings in aid of execution, shall be grounds for the issuance of a citation in contempt against said person. Such citation shall be issued as ordered by the court.

On motion reciting that personal service of the proceedings in aid of execution was made upon the person who failed to appear or to hold funds as directed therein, an order may issue for the appearance forthwith of said person to show cause why he should not be punished for contempt of court.

(C) Sales and Confirmation.

A copy of the notice of the sale of personal property shall be mailed by the Bailiff to the parties and attorneys of record in the case by ordinary mail; however, failure to mail such notice shall not invalidate the sale.

Unless otherwise directed by the court, entries of confirmation and distribution shall be prepared by the party who requested the sale and shall contain a statement that the sale was regular and proper in every respect and a statement of the balance, if any, still due on the judgment.

(D) Cancellations and Releases.

Releases and assignments of judgments or certificates of judgment shall be in writing and signed by a person authorized to execute the instrument. No release, assignment, or similar matter shall be written directly upon the dockets.

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WCH CIV R 86.1 Effective Date

(A) These rules shall take effect on the 1st day of January, 2002. They govern all proceedings in actions brought after they take effect and also all further proceedings in actions then pending, except to the extent that in the opinion of the court their application in a particular action pending when the rules take effect would not be feasible or would work injustice, in which event the former procedure applies.

(B) Amendments shall take effect as adopted after the court provides appropriate notice and an opportunity to comment on the proposed rule. If the court determines that there is an immediate need for the rule, the court may adopt the rule without prior notice and opportunity for comment, but promptly shall afford notice and opportunity for comment.

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