Local Rules of Court

COMMON PLEAS COURT OF UNION COUNTY, OHIO
GENERAL AND DOMESTIC RELATIONS DIVISIONS

It is hereby ordered that the following rules are adopted and made effective from and after the 1st day of January 2006, to govern the practice and procedure in the General Division and Domestic Relations Division of the Court of Common Pleas of Union County, Ohio, effective until amended or repealed.

Every person filing a pleading in this Court shall be bound by these Local Rules and shall obtain from the Clerk or the Court, upon the initial appearance, a copy of these Local Rules, the $10.00 cost of which shall be assessed as part of the costs in the case. This requirement shall be waived in the event such party specifically indicates that he or she already possesses a current copy of the Local Rules.

Counsel are reminded the governing rules on most matters of procedure are contained in the Civil Rules, Criminal Rules and the Common Pleas Rules of Superintendence.

A copy of the following Local Rules has been filed with the Supreme Court of Ohio.

Judge Don W. Fraser

RULE 1

TERMS OF COURT

The Court shall be in continuous session for the transaction of judicial business. For purposes of R.C. Chapter 2313, each calendar year shall be divided into three terms of Court, designated as the January Term, the May Term and the September Term, each commencing at 9:00 A.M. on the first business days of January, May and September.

RULE 2

HOURS OF COURT SESSIONS

The hours for holding the regular sessions of this Court shall be from 9:00 A.M. to 12:00 noon, and from 1:00 P.M. to 4:00 P.M. on Monday through Friday of each week, except for those days designated by law as legal holidays. Such hours may be modified by the trial judge to meet special conditions; hearings on motions and domestic relations matters may be held on Saturday mornings, if requested by a litigant or the litigant's attorney, or deemed necessary by the Court. Night Court may be held, upon application and for good cause shown, for those who wish their civil or domestic relations cases heard then rather than during the normal day hours.

RULE 3

MAGISTRATE AND OBJECTIONS TO MAGISTRATE'S DECISION

3.01.  Domestic Relations Matters. The parties in Domestic Relations cases not being by the Constitution entitled to a trial by jury, and it is deemed to be for the best interests of the parties that any matters be referred to a Magistrate of this Court in accordance with Rule 53 of the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure. Said Magistrate shall exercise all powers otherwise delegated to a Magistrate by rule, statute, or the Constitutions of the United States of America and the State of Ohio. A Magistrate may issue restraining orders in domestic relations cases and also may issue restraining orders when proper pursuant to R.C. 3113.31 (Domestic Violence Statute) and R.C. 2903.013 (Anti-Stalking Statute).

3.02. Criminal Matters. In criminal matters, the Magistrate is authorized to conduct hearings for presentation of Grand Jury proceedings, Arraignments, and may conduct bond hearings and set bonds in those cases in which the Tri-County Jail bond schedule does not apply or cover.

3.03. Objections to Magistrate's Decision and Reply Thereto.  The requirement of Civ.R. 53(D)(3)(b)(iii) that an objection to a finding of fact in a Magistrate’s Decision must be supported by a transcript of all of the evidence submitted relevant to the finding may be satisfied by the submission of a DVD recording of the proceedings in lieu of a written transcript.  Specific citations to the record should be to the time the relevant evidence begins in the recording.  DVD recordings are available through the Clerk of Court.  A request for a DVD must be in writing and addressed to the Union County Clerk of Courts, Courthouse, 215 West 5th Street, Marysville, Ohio  43040.  The request shall include the name of counsel, the case number, and the date of the hearing.  A fee of $10.00 must accompany the request.

For further information, reference is made to Union County Case Nos. 2013-MS-0051, dated the 28th day of October 2013.
 
AMENDMENT OF LOCAL RULE 4, COURT OF COMMON PLEAS, UNION COUNTY, OHIO, EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2010. 
Effective July 1, 2010, Union County Court of Common Pleas Local Rule 4 is Amended to read as follows:

RULE 4

DEPOSIT OF CASH TO SECURE COSTS, BONDS, ETC.

4.01. On and after July 1, 2010, no Civil action or proceeding shall be accepted for filing by the Clerk unless the party, or parties, offering the same for filing shall have first deposited a sum of money to secure the payment of costs. If the costs are not paid at the termination of the litigation, any deposits for costs shall be applied by the Clerk to the unpaid costs. Except as otherwise provided by law, when applicable, such advance deposit will be determined by the Clerk of this Court and on July 1, 2010, initially shall be as follows:

A. $435.00 - All civil actions, counterclaims and cross claims not otherwise mentioned herein, plus $10.00 mandated by R.C. 2303.201.

B. $400.00 - Dissolutions without minor children.

C. $510.00 - Dissolutions with minor children.

D. $335.00 - For cognovit complaints from which a fee shall be taxed as costs and be paid to counsel for the defendant.

E. $470.00 - For divorce and alimony actions without children, and as much more, as in the judgment of the Clerk of this Court, the nature of the case and the circumstances require.  $150.00 - Answer/responsive pleading in such action.

F. $560.00 - Divorce or alimony action with minor children.

G. The Defendant, in the event a counterclaim in a divorce or alimony action is filed, shall deposit a sum equal to that deposited with the Complaint.

H. $485.00 - All post decree domestic relations motions.

I. $335.00 - Proceedings in Aid of Execution, Complaints to Vacate, Revise or Modify Judgment, or other relief.

J. $435.00 - Appeals from other tribunals.

K. $910.00 - Foreclosures.  $200.00 on cross/counter claims.

L. $180.00 - The party requesting a jury shall deposit the sum of $180.00 to cover one day's jury trial.   In the event jury trial is to continue for more than one day, the party requesting a jury trial will be required to deposit additional amounts daily to cover same.

M. $90.00 - Garnishment proceedings.

N. $500.00 - In the event a Guardian Ad Litem is requested in a Domestic Relations matter, at the time of making the request the party asking for the appointment shall deposit said sum, which shall only be a deposit toward payment of the total GAL fees.

O. $100.00 - A party requesting the issuance of 10 or more subpoenas for a hearing or a trial, whether by one document or by an accumulative number of documents, shall deposit a sum as shall be requested by the Clerk of this Court prior to issuance, but in no event shall the deposit be less than $100.00.

P. The Clerk of this Court shall collect as a part of court costs deposit, a fee for mediation services in the sum of $50.00 on each criminal cause, civil action or proceeding, or judgment by confession.  R.C. 2303.201(E)(1).

Q. The Clerk of this Court shall collect as a part of court costs deposit, a fee of $3.00 on the filing of each cause of action or appeal under divisions (A), (Q), and (U) of R.C. 2303.20, for computerization and legal research of the office of Common Pleas Judge.  R.C. 2303.201(A)(1).

R. The Clerk of this Court shall collect as a part of court costs deposit, a fee of $10.00 on the filing, docketing and endorsing of each certificate of judgment, or on the docketing and indexing of each aid in execution or petition to vacate, revive, or modify a judgment under divisions (A), (P), (Q), (T), and (U) of R.C. 2303.20, for the computerization of the office of Clerk of Courts.  R.C. 2303.201(B)(1).

S. The Clerk of this Court shall collect as a part of court costs deposit, a fee of $125.00 on the filing of each criminal cause, civil action or proceeding, excepting foreclosures, or judgment by confession, for and as a general special projects fund.  The fee collected shall be $500.00 in all foreclosure cases.  R.C. 2303.201(E)(1).

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

4.03. If it is brought to the attention of the Court or the Clerk that any deposit becomes insufficient, the Clerk shall require said deposit to be increased from time to time, per R.C. 2323.31.

4.04. When a party makes an affidavit of inability to pay or secure costs as provided in R.C. 2323.31, the Clerk of Courts shall receive and file the complaint and subsequent filings, including 2 certified copies of judgment entry without such deposit or security.

4.05. Subject to the foregoing, all costs in dissolution, divorce, alimony and annulment cases must be paid before the final Entry is signed and filed, including any fees required for mediation, parenting class or for Guardian Ad Litem appointments and reports.

4.06. Subject to the foregoing, if any party requests service by publication, such party, in addition to the foregoing deposit for costs, shall arrange with the newspaper publisher for such publication, pay the costs thereof to the newspaper publisher, and direct the publisher to file proof of publication with the Clerk of Courts. Exception, see R.C. 2323.31.

For further information, reference is made to Union County Case Nos. 2010-MISC-0023 and 0024, dated the 29th day of June 2010.

RULE 5

BAIL OR SURETY

5.01. No attorney at law, or other officers of this Court, shall be accepted or received as bail or surety on any undertaking of any kind in this Court, nor shall any bond or undertaking be approved having the name of any such person thereon as surety.

5.02. Any bail accepted and received shall be approved by the Clerk of this Court.

5.03. All cash bail shall be accepted and receipted only in the name of the person charged and being held. Return of bail shall be made to the person convicted only after application to court costs, indigent counsel costs, fines, and restitution ordered, including "pay for stay" costs ordered under ORC 2929.19(B) (7).

RULE 6

FORM OF PLEADING

6.01. Pleadings, Motions and Applications shall be legibly typewritten or printed on paper approximately 8-1/2 x 11, shall be securely bound at the top, and unfolded. The caption, at the top thereof, in addition to stating the name of the Court, County and State, shall state the name and address of all the parties.

6.02. In cases involving the Child Support Enforcement Agency, the dates of birth of the parties and issue (children) shall also be included under the names of the parties in the caption of the complaint. The Social Security numbers of the parties and issue shall be furnished to the CSEA within three days of filing the Complaint.

6.03. A blank space of at least three inches shall be at the top of the right side of the first page for file stamp thereon by the Clerk. The Clerk of Courts shall not accept for filing a pleading which does not comply with this requirement.

6.04. Pleadings filed subsequent to the Complaint, including Motions and Applications, shall state the number of the cause, the name of the first-party plaintiff and the first-party defendant on each side. Each Pleading, Motion or Application shall bear the name, office address, the attorney registration number issued by the Supreme Court of Ohio, telephone and fax numbers of the responsible attorney. Otherwise, the pleadings shall bear the name, address, telephone number and a fax number where 24 hour notices may be sent, of the party filing the same. See Civil Rule 10, Civil Rule 38 (B), and C. P. Sup. Rule 9.01(A).

6.05. In all cases where certifications or signatures are required, the attorney who has entered an appearance in the case must sign. No signatures of attorneys who have not entered an appearance, paralegals, secretaries, etc. will be allowed and the pleading will not be filed without compliance.

6.06. The Complaint in any civil case, including domestic relations Complaints and Petitions, and reopen Motions, shall be accompanied by a completed Classification Form. (See attached "Exhibit A"). In the event the Classification Form is marked "Other" the person filing the Complaint, Petition or Motion shall specify and denote what general issues are involved in the case.

RULE 7

SERVICE OF COPIES AND NOTICES

7.01. See Civil Rules 4 and 5. All certified mail shall be marked that delivery is restricted to the addressee. Service may be deemed defective if return receipt card is signed by one other than addressee, or one named in instructions to the Clerk for service upon a partnership, corporation or association. If an attorney or other person attempting to obtain service is notified of failure of service of certified mail and fails to file further instructions for the Clerk to obtain service within 30 days after notice has been deposited in the U.S. mails, the case will be dismissed for want of prosecution, without further notice. All persons are reminded that service may be checked and case status ascertained by accessing the Clerk of Court's website at w2.co.union.oh.us.

7.02. (A) Facsimile (FAX) use. Facsimile copies of pleadings and motions may be served on the opposing parties or their counsel of record. The Court may use fax notice of trial and hearings in lieu of letter or written entry notice. Unless allowed after the effective date of these rules, by the Supreme Court of Ohio, no initial/original papers (defined as those requiring a cost deposit) may be filed with the Clerk of this Court by fax without compliance of Civ.R. 5 (E). Except as noted herein, all other documents and pleadings may be filed by fax, and no further paperwork needs to be filed thereafter. The fax filing will be accepted as original and the signature accepted as original consistent with Civ.R. 5(E). The fax number of the Union County Court of Common Pleas, Clerk of Courts, for purposes of filing documents, is (937) 645-3162. The fax number directly to the Judge's office is (937)645-3149, if you desire to correspond with the Court or present courtesy copies of papers. No fax filings will be accepted at any fax number other than that of the Clerk of Courts.

(B) Fax filings must be completed on a business day, on or before 4:00 P.M. to be considered filed on that day. Any fax filing completed after 4:00 P.M. or on other than a business day, shall be considered, and stamped, filed on the next business day.

(C) The Clerk of this Court is not in the business of title searches and examinations, and is directed not to fax documents to anyone for that purpose. Written record checks may be requested of the Clerk, with the request accompanied by the name, social security number and date of birth of the person about whom the record check is requested, together with a fee of $5.00 which will be charged the requestor by the Clerk of Courts.

(D) The Clerk of Courts shall not fax blank subpoena forms. These must be requested in person from the Clerk.

RULE 8

RULE DAY FOR PLEADINGS, EXTENSIONS

8.01. A party who desires to plead after rule date shall apply to the Court before rule date expires. Up to 30 days will be granted without approval of opposing counsel. All other leaves to plead after the first 30 days must have the written approval of opposing counsel and be filed before the expiration date of the former leave to plead. Failure to comply will be at the risk of default judgment being granted pursuant to Rule 55 of the Civil Rules.

RULE 9

RULE DAYS NOT FIXED BY LAW

9.01. In all cases where the time for filing of a pleading or amended pleading is not fixed by law or another rule, the pleading, or amended pleading, shall be filed on or before the 14th day after the file date of the entry requiring or granting leave for the filing of such pleading or amended pleading, unless otherwise specified in the entry.

RULE 10

HEARING AND SUBMISSION OF MOTIONS INCLUDING MOTIONS UNDER CIVIL RULE 56

10.01. Motions shall be accompanied by a memorandum stating the grounds therefore and citing the authorities and reasons relied upon. Within 14 days after service of such Motion, each party opposing the Motion shall respond. Upon expiration of the time for filing memoranda, the matter shall be deemed submitted. Failure to file a memorandum at the time required is a waiver and consent to submit the issue or case to the Court forthwith for decision.

10.02. Motions shall, at the discretion of the Court, be ruled upon pursuant to Civ.R. 7(B)(2). Oral hearings on motions shall be set only where the party seeking same demonstrates such need in writing prior to the expiration of fourteen days.

RULE 11

DISCOVERY

11.01. Counsel shall participate in pretrial discovery conferences to reduce, in every way possible, the filing of discovery demands and procedures.

11.02. For prompt disposition of litigation at lowest possible cost, the following rules are to be observed:

11.03. Between 30 and 60 days after service of summons on all defendants, a scheduling conference (by telephone if possible) may be held. The conference shall be for the purpose of planning discovery and determining the time necessary to complete discovery. A date for the pretrial conference may be set at the discovery conference, and all discovery, all evidentiary depositions, physical examinations, production of documents, exchange of reports and requests for admissions shall have been completed by pretrial, unless in the Court's discretion this time may be extended to meet the needs of the individual case.

11.04. Interrogatories and Requests for Admissions: To avoid all too frequent abuse, harassment, irrelevant "boiler plate" and duplication of discovery procedures, Civ.R. 33(A) will be strictly observed. In no event without prior authorization by the Court, shall more than 40 Interrogatories be submitted to the opposing party. For purposes of this rule, each subsection of a question shall constitute an Interrogatory.

11.05. The Jury room and room B14 of the Union County Law Library will be made available for reservation when not in use by the Court, at no charge, for the purpose of conducting depositions, mediation, settlement conferences or other law related purposes. Reservation of B14 may be made by contacting the Law Librarian at 937-645-3000.

11.06. No deposition of a County resident shall be taken outside of Union County without leave of Court, except upon agreement of all of the parties.

11.07. Whenever possible depositions shall be noticed and taken only after consultation with and agreement of all attorneys for the parties.

RULE 12

PRETRIAL OF CIVIL CASES

12.01. All civil jury cases, and such other civil cases as counsel may request, or the Court requires, may be assigned for pretrial conference.

12.02. Pretrial statements by all parties shall be filed with the Court at least seven (7) days before date of pretrial or, in the event no pretrial is scheduled by the Court, fourteen (14) days before the first day of trial. They shall include:

a. Your version of facts giving rise to the claim for relief.

b. Your analysis of issues.

c. Your propositions of law with two (2) or three (3) authorities cited.

d. List of your witnesses.

e. Exhibits you will offer, together with the number or letter of the exhibit. Plaintiff shall use numerals, Defendant shall use letters, and Joint Exhibits shall use numerals preceded by the words, "Joint Exhibit___."

f. Whether jury will be waived.

g. Your demand or offer for settlement (except in non-jury cases).

h. Your estimate of trial time.

12.03. Trial counsel shall appear at each Scheduling Conference or Pretrial Conference. Counsel must have complete authority to stipulate items of evidence, admissions and must have full settlement authority, or have client present to do so.

12.04. At the Scheduling or Pretrial Conference, the judge shall have authority to decide any undetermined preliminary matter; to record any admissions, stipulations or agreement; to hear and decide the case with the consent of the parties; to make whatever finding, orders, judgment or decrees which may be warranted or proper under the circumstances, and within spirit of the rule, to set the case for trial or dismissal, or to take other appropriate action under Civil Rule 37.

12.05. The statements of counsel made in the course of any Scheduling or Pretrial conference shall not be binding upon the parties unless expressly made so by written stipulation in the Scheduling or Pretrial Conference Entry.

12.06. At the Scheduling or Pretrial conference, trial counsel for the parties shall appear and with the assistance of the Judge consider: the simplification of the issues; the necessity or desirability of amendments to the pleadings; the obtaining of admissions of fact, and documents which will avoid necessity of proof; a statement of the issues of fact and issues of law; the waiver of a trial by jury; such other matters as may expedite the disposition of the case. (See Civ.R. 16.)

12.07. Following the Scheduling or Pretrial Conference, the trial Judge may prepare an order reflecting matters stipulated by counsel and orders made. Said order shall control all further proceedings in the action, subject to the provisions of Rule 60 of the Civil Rules.

12.08. The Court and counsel may take any further action at Scheduling or Pretrial Conference as authorized in Rule 16 of the "Civil Rules."

RULE 13

ENTRIES

13.01. Unless the Court otherwise directs, counsel for the party in whose favor an order, decision, decree, or judgment is rendered, shall within five (5) days thereafter prepare the proper judgment entry, and submit it to counsel for the adverse party, who shall approve or reject the same within five (5) days after the receipt thereof. When approved by counsel, it shall be so endorsed and furnished to the trial Judge. If an entry is not returned to the preparing counsel within five (5) days, it shall be filed with notation "submitted." If counsel are unable to agree upon the form of the entry, each shall submit a desired version of the entry within five (5) days to the trial Judge who will direct what entry shall be made.

13.02. Within 30 days after verdict, decree, order or decision, the judgment entry shall be filed. If such entry is not prepared and presented for filing by counsel, then it may be prepared and filed by the Court or, in the Court's sole discretion, the Court may dismiss the matter for want of prosecution without notice other than this Local Rule.

13.03. Counsel shall promptly submit an order of dismissal following settlement of any case. If counsel fail to do so within 14 days after representation to the Court that a case has been settled, the trial Judge may order the case dismissed for want of prosecution, or file a judgment entry of settlement and dismissal and assess costs.

13.04. Requests for findings by the Court: see Civil Rule 52. Both counsel shall, within 14 days after the filing of the request, submit their proposed findings. Failure to file proposed findings within the time allotted by the party making the request, shall be deemed to be a waiver of the request.

13.05. The Entry reflecting the verdict in an appropriation case shall contain language which directs that the appropriating agency shall be responsible for and effect the transfer of the appropriated land on the Auditors, Treasurer's and Recorder's records, together with cancellations of liens, and the entry shall further provide for the payment of all required costs of such transfer. Additionally, such Entry shall provide for distribution of the award or portion thereof remaining to be distributed.

13.06. All Entries requiring transfer of a motor vehicle or other item of personal property through the Clerk of Courts shall contain the following wording:

"The (Plaintiff/Defendant) is hereby awarded all right, title and interest, free and clear of any claim by the (Plaintiff/Defendant), to the (Year and Make of Vehicle), VIN  __________. Within ten (10) days after filing of this Decree, the (Plaintiff/Defendant) shall execute all documents needed to transfer title to the (Year and Make of Vehicle), and if the necessary documents are not executed within that time, the Clerk of Courts is Ordered to transfer said (year and make) to the (Plaintiff/Defendant)."

13.07. Each Motion seeking default shall be accompanied by a proposed Entry granting same. See Loc. R. 14.05.

RULE 14

DEFAULTS

14.01. See Civil Rule 55.

14.02. In all cases where a party is seeking unliquidated damages, or is entitled to a jury trial, at the time designated for default judgment, the party entitled to such judgment shall present proper evidence in support of the allegations in the pleadings for consideration by the Court, and judgment shall be rendered according to the evidence and the law applicable. Prior to the commencement of said hearing, counsel shall indicate, and the entry of judgment shall show, that a trial by jury was waived and the matter submitted for decision by the Court. If the party seeking the judgment is desirous of a trial by jury, this must be indicated to the Court at the time that the matter is assigned for default judgment.

14.03. In any action or proceeding commenced in this Court, if there shall be a default of any appearance by a party, the party seeking judgment shall file in the Court an affidavit setting forth facts showing that the party in default is not in military service. See 50 U. S.C. 520 et seq. the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act.

14.04. In the cases in which a judgment or decree has been rendered upon default, in addition to the requirements of Rule 60(B) of the Civil Rules, the default or the judgment or the decree shall not be set aside unless the party in default presents or offers to file the proper pleading in the case, together with his affidavit, or the affidavit of his agent or attorney, setting forth the facts excusing the cause of the default, and that there is a meritorious cause of action or defense, and the facts showing the nature of it, in which case the Court may, if justice requires it, set aside the default, judgment or decree, upon such terms as to costs as may be just, and shall order the pleadings, for want of which the default existed, to be filed forthwith, or within such time as the Court may designate.

14.05. Having complied with all of the requirements above, the party moving for default judgment shall submit to the Court, at the time of submission of the Motion for Default, a proposed Judgment Entry. Failure to provide a proposed entry will result in the Motion being dismissed.

RULE 15

TRIALS

15.01. Trial procedures set forth in the statutes and rules will be observed. Counsel are reminded this Court participates in the voir dire and requires counsel to observe the "Rules on Voir Dire" in 1 O. J. I. immediately prior to 2.10, and 4 O. J. I. 402.12.

15.02A. The Court will conduct the initial voir dire, after which counsel will be allowed a reasonable time to voir dire the jury. In the interests of conserving time, no questions or answers will be repeated, nor will questions answered and contained on the jury questionnaires be allowed. No promises will be exacted from the jury, nor hypothetical questions asked to exact a juror's projected position. Jurors may not be asked what kind of verdict they might return under any circumstance.

15.02B. Counsel may not examine the prospective jurors concerning the law or possible instructions of the Court. The Court will instruct the jury on the law at the proper time.

15.02C. The case may not be argued in any way while questioning the jurors.

15.02D. Counsel may not engage in efforts to indoctrinate jurors. This does not prevent general questions concerning the validity and philosophy of reasonable doubt or the presumption of innocence (criminal cases) or other applicable burden of proof (civil cases).

15.02E. Questions are to be asked collectively of the entire panel whenever possible.

15.03. Continuances shall be governed by the provisions of C. P. Sup. R. 7.

15.04. Counsel are reminded that Opening Statements are a concise statement of what they believe the evidence will show, and are not "Opening Argument".

15.05. Subpoenas. Counsel are directed to Local Rule 23.

15.06. Once used or referred to in examination of a witness, an exhibit shall be deposited with the Official Court Reporter and kept there throughout the trial unless in use.

15.07. Counsel will be responsible for seeing that their clients and witnesses are properly attired for their appearance in the courtroom. No cut-off jeans, shorts more than 2 inches above the knees, or tank tops will be permitted in the courtroom. No hats or caps are to be worn within the courtroom, and no clothing bearing obscene, offensive, or sexually explicit pictures or wording shall be permitted in court.

15.08. The Court will maintain the electronic official court record for an indefinite period of time, i.e. hard drive, Computer Disc (CD), VCR tape.

15.09. Exhibits in both Civil and Criminal Cases. Each exhibit tendered will be marked by the Bailiff. Plaintiff's exhibits will be marked using numbers and Defendant's exhibits will be marked using letters. Joint exhibits shall be marked "Jt. Exh._____", the blank marked with a Roman Numeral. All Admitted and/or stipulated exhibits will be maintained by the Official Court Reporter. At the conclusion of litigation, including time for direct appeal, the Official Court Reporter may destroy exhibits if all of the following conditions are satisfied:

1.) the Court notifies the parties tendering exhibits that disposal will occur within 60 days after the appeal date expires,

2.) the written notification informs the party tendering the exhibits of the location for retrieval of the exhibits,

3.) the party tendering the exhibits fails to retrieve the exhibits within 60 days from the date of the written notification, and

4.) in the event the party tendering the exhibit retrieves the exhibit within the 60 day period after notification, he/she shall sign for the exhibits and that form shall be maintained by the Official Court Reporter.

RULE 16

FILES

16.01. The Clerk of the Court shall not permit any of the files of the office to be taken from its custody except to be delivered to the Judge or DR Magistrate. In no event shall any such files be removed from the county, except by a visiting judge.

16.02. The Clerk shall, on request of a party or his attorney, furnish copies of pleadings, and the expense of one copy shall be taxed as costs. Copies of all other papers, except bill of exceptions or transcripts of evidence belonging to the files of the Court, shall, on demand, be furnished by the Clerk to attorneys or parties interested, upon payment of the Clerk's fee therefore.

16.03. The Clerk shall permit any party to the action, or his attorney or agent, to make a copy of any papers in the files of the Court, except depositions and transcripts.

16.04. No deposition or transcript shall be copied, nor shall copies be made of courtroom Realtime transcripts. Copies of the entire file may be accessed and copied through the Union County Clerk of Court's webpage, under Public inquiry.

16.05. The Court will maintain the electronic Official Court Record for an indefinite period of time on computer hard drive, CD, of VCR tape.

RULE 17

RECEIVERS

17.01. A receiver shall file an inventory of all property and assets in his/her possession within thirty days after appointment, unless the time is extended by the Court.

17.02. Receivers shall make quarterly reports of all receipts and disbursements. The first report shall be filed within three months after date of appointment. Subsequent reports are to be filed quarterly thereafter. Failure to file any report within thirty days after due shall be grounds for removal without further notice, and without compensation.

17.03. Vouchers for all monies paid out by receivers must be filed with the reports.

17.04. Fees of receivers and their attorneys shall be allowed upon application filed in the cause with an affidavit setting forth in detail the services rendered in the case.

17.05. All receiver's reports and all applications for fees for attorneys, or receivers shall be made only upon prior notice to creditors or other persons in interest, as the Court may direct.

 
AMENDMENT OF LOCAL RULE 18, COURT OF COMMON PLEAS, UNION COUNTY, OHIO, EFFECTIVE October 21, 2011.  Effective October 21, 2011, Union County Court of Common Pleas Local Rule 18 are Amended to read as follows: 

RULE 18

DOMESTIC CASES

18.01    Form:  Unless otherwise provided herein, all pleadings, motions, and other filings shall comply in form and content with the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure, the Rules of Superintendence of the Supreme Court of Ohio and the Local Rules of this Court as set forth below:

(A)  Caption:  All Complaints, Petitions, Answers, Counterclaims, and Decrees shall state the names and addresses of both parties.  Personal identification information such as social security numbers and the identification of children shall not be included in any captions.

(B)  Subsequent Petition Captions:  In cases commenced by petition, the subsequent captions shall remain the caption of the original petition.  Parties shall be designated by their names or as “Mother” and “Father”  or “Husband” and “Wife” in the body of subsequent pleadings in cases involving children.

(C)  Paper Size:  All Pleadings, Motions and Orders shall be typewritten or printed on 8½" x 11" paper.

(D)  Attorney Identification:  All Pleadings, Motions and Orders shall include the name of the attorney, the firm name, if any, office address, office telephone number, fax number, if any, e-mail address if any, and the attorney’s Ohio Supreme Court Number.

(E) Content of Motions:  All motions shall state with particularity the grounds therefore, the relief or order sought and shall identify any prior Order(s) at issue.

(F)   Separate Documents:  All Separation Agreements and Shared Parenting Plans filed with the Court must be submitted as a separate document styled as a "Separation Agreement" or "Shared Parenting Plan" and not included in the body of the pleadings.

(G) Personal Identifiers: All case documents shall omit personal identifiers in accordance with Rule 45 of the Ohio Rules of Superintendence. It is the responsibility of litigants to ensure compliance, not the Court or Clerk of Court.

18.02    Initial Filings:  All Complaints for Divorce, Answers and Counterclaims shall be accompanied by the following court forms which shall be filed with the Clerk of Court and served upon the opposing party or parties. Even if no responsive pleading is filed, a party shall file each form or affidavit as directed below. The most recent versions of the court forms are available on the Court’s website which may be found at www.co.union.oh.us/CommonPleasCourt.

(A)  Classification Form.

(B)  Affidavit of Income, Expenses and Financial Disclosure (Uniform Domestic Relations Form-Affidavit 1). Three most recent pay stubs shall be attached with all personal income information including social security and employee identification numbers redacted.  

(C)  Affidavit of Property (Uniform Domestic Relations Form-Affidavit 2).

(D)  Parenting Proceeding Affidavit (Uniform Domestic Relations Form-Affidavit 3). The Parenting Affidavit only needs to be filed if there is a minor child of the parties.        

(E)  Health Insurance Affidavit (Uniform Domestic Relations Form-Affidavit 4). In any complaint for Divorce or Legal Separation involving a minor child, any complaint for custody, support, paternity, or motion for the establishment or modification of support or motion for health insurance coverage, or answer or counterclaim thereto, the pleading shall be accompanied by a completed Health Insurance Affidavit.

(F)  IV-D Application.  The application shall be fully completed, signed by the party and separately filed with the Agency at the Clerk of Court only in cases where child or spousal support is being sought.  Counsel or a pro se party shall file certification with the Clerk that the IV-D application has been filed with the Agency.

18.021  Mutual Restraining Order: In each domestic relations case filed in this Court, there shall be issued and served a copy of the restraining order, found as "Exhibit D" herein at such time as the Complaint is issued and served. The Plaintiff or Petitioners, by virtue of initially filing a domestic relations case in this Court, shall be deemed to be aware of and acquiesce to the provisions of the restraining order. Each Plaintiff shall be provided a copy of the order by their attorney. Pro Se litigants shall be provided a copy by the Clerk of Court.

18.022   Request for Exclusive Use of Marital Residence: A motion to vacate premises shall state with specificity the reasons for the motion and shall be supported by an affidavit of the moving party setting forth the facts on which the motion is based. The motion shall be set for a hearing ordinarily along with other requests for temporary orders.  No motion to vacate premises shall be granted ex-parte. If circumstances warrant, a party can be ordered to vacate the premises on an ex-parte basis pursuant to a domestic violence action as provided in R.C. 3113.31. A motion to vacate premises may be granted if the movant establishes that the opposing party:

(1) attempted to cause or recklessly caused bodily injury by acts of physical violence;

(2) placed a party, by threat of force, in fear of imminent serious physical harm;

(3) committed any act with respect to a child that would result in the child being an abused child as defined in R.C. 2151.031;

(4) engages in conduct or creates an environment which causes or is likely to cause severe emotional and/or mental stress to the spouse and/or minor children of the parties as defined in R.C. 3113.31.

18.03    Dissolutions: When a Dissolution is filed, the parties shall complete and provide the following:

(A)        Petition for Dissolution.

(B)        Separation Agreement.

(C)        Waiver of Service. 

(D)        Waiver of Counsel (if only one attorney). 

(E)        Affidavit of Income, Expenses and Financial Disclosure (Uniform Domestic Relations Form-Affidavit 1).  Both parties must file.  (May be joint if signed by both parties.)

(F)        Affidavit of Property (Uniform Domestic Relations Form-Affidavit 2). Both parties must file.  (May be joint if signed by both parties.)

(G)        Parenting Proceeding Affidavit (Uniform Domestic Relations Form-Affidavit 3). The Parenting Affidavit only needs to be filed if there is a minor child of the parties. Both parties must file. (May be joint if signed by both parties.)

(H)        Health Insurance Affidavit (Uniform Domestic Relations Form-Affidavit 4).  A Health Insurance Affidavit only needs to be filed if there is a minor child of the parties. Both parties must file. (May be joint if signed by both parties.)

(I)         IV-D Application.  The application shall be fully completed, signed by a party and separately filed with the Agency at the Clerk of Court only in cases where child or spousal support is being sought.  Counsel or a pro se party shall file certification with the Clerk that the IV-D application has been filed with the Agency.

(J)        Decree. A Decree with a copy of the Separation Agreement and a guidelines worksheet (if minor children are at issue) shall be presented to the bailiff prior to final hearing. A waiver of Magistrate’s Decision and Plan for Shared Parenting may be included in the Decree if appropriate. In order for Dissolutions with minor children to be granted, both parties shall have attended the Court’s Workshop for Parents.  The Decree will not be signed until certification of attendance is provided to the Court.  If no certification is received within ninety (90) days of the filing of the petition, the same will be dismissed.

18.04    Special Filings

(A) Parenting Reallocation: In all post-divorce motions seeking a reallocation of parental rights and responsibilities, the parties shall file a Parenting Proceedings Affidavit (Uniform Domestic relations Form Affidavit 3)  pursuant to R.C. 3127.23 as well as a completed IV-D Application (with the Agency, certification with the Clerk), Health Insurance Disclosure Affidavit, and Affidavit of Income & Expenses. The responding party shall also file an Affidavit of Income & Expenses. A child support guideline worksheet shall be prepared and submitted to the court at the hearing. Motions seeking modification of visitation shall not require such forms, disclosures and declarations.

(B)  Notice of Intent to Relocate: A Notice of Intent to Relocate must be filed in every case in which the Residential Parent intends to move to a new location either within or outside of the State of Ohio. (Forms are available on the Court’s Website.)

(C)  Pretrial Statement: Absent complete settlement, in any contested matter, at least seven (7) days before trial, all parties shall serve and file with the clerk a pretrial statement containing the following information:

a) A short statement of the operative facts and applicable law upon which parties rely;

b) A list of exhibits intended to be offered at trial. Failure to disclose an exhibit may result in its exclusion at trial;

c) A statement of proposals regarding custody, support, visitation and alimony. Any request for or opposition to spousal support must set forth the facts relevant to the statutory factors governing an award of support;

d) All agreements as to values of property and divisions of property and debts;

e) The Court requires a listing of all marital property and separate property with claimed values. Each party shall list in columnar fashion the items, values and totals of property, proposed division of property and debts, with totals for comparison of proposed divisions;

f) In all cases involving minor children, a completed Child Support Guideline work sheet. In the event  a party is proposing a deviation, there must also be a specific statement setting forth the reason that an order of guideline support is not in the best interest of the children;

g) A statement addressing the statutory factors governing an award of spousal support if spousal support has been requested by either party;

h) A statement of stipulated or agreed facts or issues; and

i) A complete list of witnesses with brief summation of testimony. Failure to disclose a witness will ordinarily lead to the exclusion of that witness’ testimony at trial.

18.05    Continuances

(A)  Motions:  See Superintendence Rule 41. All motions for continuance shall be in writing and a copy of the motion shall be immediately provided to the Court’s Assignment Commissioner/Domestic Bailiff. The movant shall first attempt to secure the consent of opposing counsel or party if not represented. The motion shall endorsed by the party- provided this provision may be waived by the court for good cause shown- and set forth the reason for the continuance, whether consent was obtained or denied and shall state the number of prior continuances.  If the motion is granted, the party seeking the continuance must obtain a new hearing date and shall immediately notify the opposing party, counsel, and guardian ad litem, if any.  All continuances must be approved by the Judge or Magistrate. 

(B)  Unavailability of Witness:  When a continuance is requested because a witness is unavailable for a scheduled hearing or trial, the Court may consider alternative methods for receiving the testimony.

(C)  Conflict of Trial Assignment Dates:  When a continuance is requested for the reason that counsel is scheduled to appear in another case assigned for trial on the same date in a different court, the case that was first set for trial shall have priority, pursuant to Sup. R. 41.

The Court will not consider any motion for continuance unless a copy of the conflicting assignment is attached to the motion and the motion is filed not less than fourteen (14) days prior to trial.

18.06    Discovery Procedures      

(A)  In General:  Civil Rules 26 through 37 shall apply to any action. The purpose of this Rule is to encourage prompt and complete discovery to avoid the Court’s involvement in the discovery process.

(B)  Mandatory Disclosure:  Each party has the affirmative duty, within forty five (45) days of the filing of a Complaint, Answer or Counterclaim, to disclose to the other party the following information:

1.  All pension and profit-sharing plans including the most recent plan summary;

2.  All COBRA benefits to which the other party may be entitled;

3.  Copies of all real estate deeds and motor vehicle titles and registration, unless already in the possession of the other party; 

4.   All appraisals of real estate or personal property or any business property in which the party holds  an interest;

 5.  Copies of the last three (3) years individual tax returns, unless already in the possession of the other party;

 6.  Documentary proof of current income from all sources;

7.  Copies of the most recent statement on all bank accounts, IRA’S, stock accounts, mortgages, credit card accounts, and other debts.

8.  Copies of all notes or accounts receivable whether held personally or through a business; 

9.  Copies of all life insurance policies and the valuation; 

10.  Documentation of the value of household furnishings, valuables and collectibles; and

11.  Documentation of property that qualifies as separate property and the valuation of same with tracing of assets and verification.

(C)  Sanctions:  Failure to comply with this rule may result in sanctions pursuant to Civ.R. 37, including but not limited to contempt citations, award of attorney fees, litigation expenses, possible dismissal of claims, or restrictions on the submission of evidence.

18.07  Expert Discovery Cut Off Date, Notice of Depositions, and Request for Appointment of a Guardian ad Litem: In all divorce actions unless otherwise set by the Court for good cause shown, any valuation of property by an expert including business and pension valuations shall be submitted for expert determination within 90 days of the filing of the Answer unless extended or otherwise set by the court by pretrial order. All requests for appointment of a guardian ad litem or deposition of a party should ordinarily be submitted within 60 days of the filing of an Answer.        

18.08   Status Conferences:  The Court may schedule a status conference in any other action before the Court.   Notice shall be sent to all parties pursuant to the Civil Rules.  The Judge and Magistrate shall have discretion to conduct a status conference by telephone with both counsel.

18.09  Pretrial Conference: A pretrial conference will ordinarily be held in every contested matter.  The purpose of the conference is to facilitate the progress of the litigation and encourage settlement. The trial attorney shall attend all pretrial conferences except with leave of court.  Except under extraordinary circumstances pretrial conferences will not be conducted telephonically. In the event a party is not represented by counsel, all pretrials will be conducted formally on the record. Represented parties need not ordinarily attend pretrial conferences unless there is a request to convert the pretrial to a final hearing or there has been a separately noticed hearing on a pending motion. At the time of the conference the attorney or party representing themselves shall be prepared to:

(1) Narrow the disputed legal issues;

(2) Admit to undisputed facts;

(3) Stipulate to the authentication of documents to be introduced at trial;

(4) Submit a Child Support Computation Worksheet;

(5) Submit written calculations justifying any request for spousal support;

(6) Disclose all witnesses by name;

(7) Exchange reports of expert witnesses; and

(8) Discuss referral for mediation, counseling, conciliation or investigation

18.10    Exhibits. 

(A)        All exhibits shall be marked prior to trial and indicate whether submitted by  Plaintiff or Defendant.  Plaintiff shall use numbers and Defendant shall use letters. A copy of marked exhibits will be tendered to the bailiff prior to the commencement of trial. Parties shall not ordinarily rely on the  court to provide exhibit stickers.   

(B)        The Judge and Magistrate may set orders during the pendency of a case imposing time limits for the exchange and submission of all documents and a list of other exhibits to be introduced at the trial or evidentiary hearing.   

(C)        The Judge and Magistrate may set orders during the pendency of a case  imposing time limits for the submission of a list of witnesses, including experts, who will testify at trial or evidentiary hearing.

(D)        The Judge and Magistrate may set orders during the pendency of a case imposing time limits for submitting to the Court and opposing counsel all expert witness reports.

18.11    Trial Briefs/Findings and Conclusions: The Court may require the parties to file Trial Briefs and/or Proposed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law.

18.11(1)  Valuations of property: In divorces, all marital and separate assets shall be identified and the values of same set forth unless affirmatively waived by the parties, who mutually agree to its division and equitable distribution.  In the absence of a written appraisal of real estate, the county auditor’s appraisal must be presented as evidence of value.  In the absence of a written appraisal of motor vehicles, the NADA, Kelly Blue Book or similar source values must be presented as evidence of value.

18.11(2)  Witnesses:  Only one corroborating witness who has personal knowledge of the facts shall be required.

18.11(3)  Judgment Entries: At the time of the uncontested hearing, counsel for the Plaintiff shall present to the Court a judgment entry and all necessary orders together with sufficient copies for the Child Support Enforcement Agency and parties. In the event the divorce includes minor children, a Guideline worksheet shall be attached even if the decree provides for a deviation from guidelines. In compliance with the applicable provisions of R.C. 3119.01, and Seq., the court mandates the use of the specific language in Findings of Fact, Orders, Judgment Entries and Decrees which addresses child support, spousal support and/or health insurance. 

In contested cases, the Court may order counsel for either party to prepare a judgment entry.

A copy of the same shall first be submitted to opposing counsel within thirty (30) days, unless the time is extended by the Court.  The parties shall abide by the following protocol:

(A)        The opposing party shall have fourteen (14) days in which to approve or reject the judgment entry.

(B)        If the opposing party fails to take any action on the judgment entry within fourteen (14) days, the preparer may present the entry for journalization by certifying that the judgment entry was submitted to the opposing party and that no response was made.

(C)        If a judgment entry is not presented to the Court within forty-five (45) days of the hearing, the case will be noticed for dismissal for want of prosecution. 

(D)        In the event of a dispute over the content of an entry, the Court may order a transcript of the proceedings and assess the cost of same.

(E)        Prior to signature of the Order by the Court, each judgment entry involving minor children shall contain the notice language for Relocation, Records Access, Day Care Records Access and School Activities required under R.C. 3109.051(G), 3109.051(H), 3319.321(B)(5)(a), 5104.01.1 and 3109.51(J).

(F)        Failure of an attorney to comply with the above may result in vacating any award of attorney fees, a finding of contempt, imposition of a fine, or dismissal of a case.

18.11(4)  Signature by Both Parties:  Unless excused by the Court, all agreed judgments and orders shall be signed by both parties and counsel.   Child Support Enforcement Agency Orders, Restraining Orders, Orders Appointing Process Servers or Guardian ad Litem, and Orders Permitting Withdrawal as Counsel are excepted from this rule.

18.11(5)   CHILD SUPPORT, CASH MEDICAL SUPPORT AND HEALTH INSURANCE

(A) In all cases involving the establishment or modification of an order for support of minor children, the order shall include provisions for all of the following:

(1) Which parent or party has accessible private health insurance available for the minor child(ren) at a reasonable cost, if any.

(2) For any period of time that private health insurance is in effect, the amount of monthly child support to be paid by the obligor and the allocation of uninsured extraordinary health   care expenses.

(3) For any period of time that private health insurance is not in effect, the amount of monthly child support to be paid by the obligor, the amount of cash medical support to be paid by the obligor, and the allocation of uninsured extraordinary health care expenses in  excess of amount paid for cash medical support.

(4) The effective date of the order.

(B) In the event the order includes a deviation from the child support guidelines and/or cash medical support, either by court order or by agreement of the parties, there shall be separate Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law stating the following:

(1) The amount of child support and cash medical support calculated pursuant to the applicable child support worksheet;

(2) The specific reasons or circumstances justifying the deviation;

(3) A finding that the amount of child support and/or cash medical support calculated pursuant to the guideline worksheet is unjust or inappropriate and not in the best interests of the child(ren), or, in the case of shared parenting, is also not in the best interest of one or both the parents;

(4) The amount of child support and/or cash medical support, if any, to be paid by the obligor to the Obligee.

(C) No support order may contain a deviation, waiver, agreement or other provision for either party not to pay cash medical support during any period of time that cash medical support would be payable to the Child Support Enforcement Agency because any child subject to the order is a Medicaid recipient unless the Ohio Department of Job & Family Services is joined as a party to the action and expressly agrees to such a provision.

(D)  Cash Medical Support Language:  The following language complies with the foregoing requirement regarding cash medical support and may be incorporated into a decree or order and/or modified as appropriate in each case. This language is representative and should not be considered definitive.

Effective _(date),child support shall be set in the amount of $____________, per month, per child plus the 2% processing charge: __________) to be paid by the Obligor, ___________ (See attached guideline worksheet).

In the event that neither party is providing health insurance for the benefit of the minor children, the child support shall be modified to $_______, per month, plus the 2% processing charge.

Effective the first day of the month that private health insurance is not provided, the cash medical support shall be $_______ per month. The total obligation is $_________ per month (child support, including the 2% processing charge and cash medical support) to be paid by the Obligor, ____________ (See attached guideline worksheet).

In accordance with paragraph (C) of R.C. 3119.30, it is further ORDERED that the Child Support Obligor shall pay cash medical support during any period in which the child(ren) are not covered by private health insurance pursuant to the support order.

In the event private health insurance is provided, cash medical support previously established shall cease on the last day of the month in which private health insurance is available for the child(ren), Obligor shall pay $__________, per month, for current child support, plus the 2% processing charge. The total obligation is $__________ per month (child support and the 2% processing charge).

In the event private health insurance becomes unavailable or is terminates, on the first day of the month following unavailability or termination of the private health insurance for the child(ren), Obligor shall pay $________, per month, for current child support, plus the 2% processing charge. Obligor shall also pay $________, per month, for cash medical support. The total obligation is $_________, per month (child support, including the processing charge and cash medical support.) 

The costs for uninsured ordinary medical, orthodontia hospitalization, pharmaceutical, psychological and dental expenses ____% to Obligor and ____% to Obligee. The uninsured ordinary expenses are defined as the first $100.00 of annual uncovered out of pocket costs. Under the same formula listed above, the parties shall equally divide extraordinary medical, orthodontia, hospitalization, pharmaceutical, psychological and dental expenses. The Obligor and Obligee are both liable for the health care of the children who are not covered by private health insurance or cash medical support.

In accordance with paragraph (I) of ORC Section 3119.32, upon receipt by the CSEA of notice that private health insurance coverage is not available at a reasonable cost to the Health Insurance Obligor, cash medical support shall be paid in the amount as determined by the child support computation worksheet pursuant to R.C. 3119.022 or 3119.023. The CSEA may change the financial obligation of the parties to pay child support and cash medical support without a hearing or additional notice to the parties.

Therefore, in accordance with R.C. 3119.30, it is ORDERED that if, after the issuance of this order, private health insurance coverage for the child(ren) named above becomes available through any group policy, contract, or plan available to the Child Support Obligor or the Child Support Obligee, the Child Support Obligor or Child Support Obligee to whom the coverage becomes available SHALL IMMEDIATELY INFORM THE CSEA OF THE AVAILABLE COVERAGE.

(E) All requests or an order of support including a plan for shared parenting or modification of support shall be accompanied by a completed child support worksheet based upon the best information available at the time of filing.

18.12    Attorney Fees:  An award of attorney fees is discretionary with the Court and may be awarded in accordance with the following protocol and considerations:

(A)        A request for attorney fees and expenses to prosecute an action shall be made in writing and shall be included in the body of a motion or other pleading that gives rise to the request for fees. 

(B)        At the time of the final hearing on the motion or pleading that gives rise to the request for attorney fees, the attorney seeking such fees shall present:

(1)        Testimony and an itemized statement describing the services rendered, the time for such services, and the requested hourly rate for in-court time and out-of-court time.

(2)        Testimony as to whether the case was complicated by any or all of the    following: new or unique issues of law; difficulty in ascertaining or valuing the parties’ assets; problems with completing discovery; any other factor necessitating extra time being spent on the case; testimony regarding the attorney’s years in practice and experience in domestic relations cases; evidence of the parties’ respective income and expenses, if not otherwise disclosed during the hearing.

(C)        Expert testimony other than the attorney requesting fees is required to prove both the necessity and reasonableness of attorney fees, provided however that attorney fees of $500.00 or less are presumed reasonable in bringing a motion to show cause for failure to pay medical debt, interference with visitation or custody; or default in a support order.

(D)        Failure to comply with the provisions of this rule may result in the denial of a request for attorney fees.

(E)        Any attorney fee award made by this Court must be entered in favor of a party litigant and not in favor of a party’s attorney.   

18.13    Medical Expense Standard Order: Unless otherwise ordered, pursuant to R.C. 3119.30, the parties shall share the cost of medical, dental, optical and prescribed drug expenses not covered by insurance in accordance with the percentages on each party’s income as shown on the most recent worksheet computation, or as otherwise ordered by the Court.

18.14    Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). 

(A)        Unless otherwise ordered, the participant entitled to the pension or retirement plan shall be responsible for preparing the Qualified Domestic Relations Order "QDRO" for submission to the Court. 

(B)        Whenever it is ordered that a pension or retirement program be divided by a QDRO the parties and counsel shall sign and approve the original of a QDRO submitted   to the Court, and shall sign and approve any subsequent QDRO submitted to the Court, unless waived by the Court. 

(C)        The QDRO should be submitted to the Court within 60 days of the filing of  the Judgment Entry for Divorce or Decree of Dissolution of Marriage.  The participant entitled to the pension or retirement plan shall be responsible to submit the QDRO to the plan administrator for acceptance of same. The costs of preparing or submitting a QDRO shall be paid equally by the parties. The costs of professional preparation services do not require the prior agreement of the parties. 

(D)        The QDRO shall include the name and address of the plan administrator on the front page. 

(E)        Unless otherwise expressly ordered by the Court, by this Rule, the Court retains jurisdiction over all matters relating to the distribution of pension or retirement plans by QDRO. 

18.15    Division of Property Order (DOPO). 

(A)        The division of retirement benefits for members of the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS), State Teachers Retirement System (STRS), School Employees Retirement System (SERS), Ohio Police And Fire Pension Fund (OP&F), and Ohio Highway Patrol Retirement System (HPRS) shall conform with the requirements of each agency’s respective administrative rules.

(B)        Unless otherwise ordered, the participant of the plan shall be responsible for preparing the DOPO for submission to the Court. 

(C)        Whenever it is ordered that a retirement plan be divided by a DOPO the parties   and counsel shall sign and approve the original of a DOPO submitted to the Court, and shall sign and approve any subsequent DOPO submitted to the Court, unless waived by the Court.

(D)        If the Court ordered a division of a retirement plan, the Court may assign the responsibility to submit the DOPO.

(E)        The DOPO should  be submitted to the Court within 60 days of  the Judgment Entry for Divorce or Decree of Dissolution of Marriage.  The party preparing the DOPO shall be responsible to submit the DOPO to the plan administrator for acceptance of   same.

(F)        The DOPO shall include the name and address of the plan administrator on the front page.

(G)        Unless otherwise expressly ordered by the Court, by this Rule, the Court retains jurisdiction over all matters relating to the distribution of pension or  retirement plans by DOPO.

 18.16  Consent Entries: A Consent Judgment Entry amending the terms of a plan for shared parenting may be submitted to the Court without the necessity of a motion or hearing only if signed by both parties, and both counsel. In the event child support is being amended, a guideline child support work sheet must be prepared and filed. Child support may not be deviated by consent entry.   In the event that the responsibility for providing private health insurance changes to a third-party spouse, a copy of the health insurance card along with the name and address of the health insurance company shall be provided to the Child Support Enforcement Agency. The designation of residential parent for school purposes is a term of a plan for shared parenting and may be amended by consent entry.  All other  reallocations of parental rights including changing or amending the designation of residential parent in a plan for shared parenting must be pursuant to motion and hearing. A consent entry may be submitted upon motion for parenting time modification pursuant to R.C. 3109.05.1. Parties submitting a consent entry must provide  copies sufficient for the official court file and all parties, pay a filing fee of $50.00 to the Clerk of Court, and have no other court costs unpaid in the case.

 18.17 Shared Parenting Plans: In accordance with R.C. 3109.04(G), plans for shared parenting shall include provisions covering all factors that are relevant to the care of children, including, but not limited to physical living arrangements, child support obligations, income tax dependency exemptions, provision for the child(ren)’s health care, school  placement, and the parent with whom the child(ren) will be physically located during legal holidays, school holidays and other days of special importance. Shared Parenting Plans shall be signed by the party submitting the plan.  If a plan is a joint plan, both parties shall sign the plan prior to filing. All plans for shared parenting shall be accompanied by a completed child support worksheet based upon the best information available at the time of filing. This requirement is not subject to waiver and shall be strictly construed.

18.18   Workshop for Parents:  A Court approved Workshop for Parents must be attended by the parties prior to final hearings in actions for divorce, legal separation and dissolution of marriage where minor children are involved.  A person may be denied parenting time rights until the Workshop has been attended. Each party shall pay $40.00 to the Clerk of this Court for and as tuition, which amount shall in turn be paid by the Clerk to the Workshop for Parents upon presentation of a billing by the Workshop. Upon a satisfactory showing to this Court of inability of either party to pay the tuition for the workshop for Parenting, and upon Order of this Court, the tuition will be waived for that party. The tuition for one proceeding in forma pauperis shall need no Order, and the tuition requirement is hereby waived. Upon a satisfactory showing to this Court of hardship to attend the Union County Workshop for Parenting, and upon further showing of a comparable program available to the applicant, the Court may, but shall not be required to, allow and Order substitution of the comparable program for the Union County Workshop for Parenting.

18.19    Uniform Mediation Act and Superintendence Rule 16:  By this Rule, the Court incorporates by reference R.C. 2710 “Uniform Mediation Act” (UMA) and R.C. 3109.052 which addresses Mediation of Differences as to Allocation of Parental Rights and Responsibilities and   Rule 16 of the Supreme Court of Ohio Rules of Superintendence.  The purpose of the rule is to promote greater efficiency and public satisfaction through the facilitation of the earliest possible resolution of disputes through the use of mediation. 

18.20    Referrals to Mediation:  A Domestic Relations case may be referred to mediation by order of the Court. The Court may issue the order on its own motion, upon the motion of a party, or upon agreement of the parties. The following actions shall be exempted from mediation upon request of any party:

            (A)  Cases in which one of the parties is mentally ill;

            (B)  In emergency circumstances requiring an immediate hearing by a jurist; or

            (C)  Cases in which the parties have achieved an executed Agreed Judgment Entry.

18.21    Attendance at Mediation Sessions: All parties shall attend scheduled mediation sessions unless previously excused.  The Court may order parties to return to mediation at any time.  Further, and pursuant to the UMA, all parties may have their attorney and/or other support person or persons attend the mediation session. 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 assigning Judge or Magistrate of such fact.

In the event that a party wishes to have an additional person who is not a party attend mediation, said party shall provide the Mediator with a request regarding same at least forty-eight (48) hours prior to the mediation session.  A copy of the request shall be provided to the other party.

18.22    Failure to Attend Mediation: If any of the individuals identified in the above paragraph fail to attend mediation without good cause, the Court may impose sanctions, including the award of attorney’s fees and other costs, contempt or other appropriate sanctions.

18.23    Guardian Ad Litem: The Court may, on its own motion, appoint a guardian ad litem for a minor child or an incompetent person. The Court may appoint a guardian ad litem upon the written motion of a party stating with particularity the grounds for the motion. The motion must be accompanied by a statement of who will be responsible for the fees.  The court will ordinarily require a deposit of $500.00 from the party requesting an appointment. Except by leave of the trial judge and for good cause shown, no motion for the appointment of a guardian ad litem shall be granted once the matter has been set for hearing with a firm trial date.  The guardian ad litem shall serve as guardian for the child. No party or counsel shall attempt to obtain other legal counsel for the child.

18.23(1)  Qualifications of Guardian Ad Litem: The qualification of any attorney as guardian ad litem for a minor child, are:

(1) Certification of good standing by the Ohio Supreme Court;

(2) Malpractice insurance;

(3) C.L.E. or Court-approved training as required by Rule 48 of the Ohio Rules of Superintendence, including the completion of annual training;

(4) On or before March 1 of each year,  certify that there is no circumstance which would disqualify the individual from service. 

A non-attorney may qualify for appointment as a guardian ad litem upon certification of compliance with the requirements of Rule 48 of the Rules of Superintendence and a finding by the court that the person possesses  specialized skill, education, or training such as the court may repose trust and confidence in the judgment and abilities of that person. 

18.23(2)  Appointment Procedures: Upon the motion of either party or at the discretion of the Court, the Court may order a guardian ad litem. By agreement, parties by may nominate an individual for appointment provided the nominee is in good standing on this court’s list of approved guardian ad litems. Unless otherwise provided, it is the responsibility of each party involved in the litigation to timely contact the guardian ad litem, and to provide the guardian with information relating to the minor child. The parties shall cooperate with the guardian ad litem during the investigation. The guardian shall be authorized to communicate with the parties and any other agencies, persons, medical providers, or schools as a part of the investigation. The court may, at the time of appointment, set the hourly rate permitted to be charged by the guardian ad litem for services rendered, and may award fees through the completion of his or her employment.  Unless otherwise set by order of the court, the hourly rate for an attorney appointed guardian ad litem shall be $125.00 per hour. The court at its discretion may order the payment of fees by income withholding.  The court  Magistrate shall maintain a list of all qualified guardians ad litem and shall periodically review the appointment  procedure to assure the equitable distribution of cases.  The guardian ad litem shall be reappointed for a specific child in any subsequent case concerning the best interest of the child. 

18.23(3)  Responsibilities of a Guardian Ad Litem: The guardian ad litem shall discharge his/her duties in strict compliance with Rule 48 of the Ohio Rules of Superintendence. In order to provide the court with relevant information and an informed recommendation regarding the child’s best interest, a guardian ad litem shall perform, at a minimum, the responsibilities stated in this division, unless impracticable or inadvisable to do so. 

(A) A guardian ad litem shall represent the best interest of the child for whom the guardian is appointed. Representation of best interest may be inconsistent with the wishes of the child whose interest the guardian ad litem represents.

(B) A guardian ad litem shall maintain independence, objectivity and fairness, as well as, the appearance of fairness in dealings with parties and professionals, both in and out of the courtroom and shall have no ex-parte communications with the court regarding the merits of the case.

 (C) A guardian ad litem is an officer of the court and shall act with respect and courtesy to the parties at all times.

(D) A guardian ad litem shall appear and participate in any hearing for which the duties of a guardian ad litem or any issues substantially within a guardian ad litem’s duties and scope of appointment are to be addressed.

(E) A non-attorney guardian ad litem must avoid engaging in conduct that constitutes the unauthorized practice of law, be vigilant in performing the guardian ad litem’s duties and request that the court appoint legal counsel, or otherwise, employ the services of an attorney, to undertake appropriate legal actions on behalf of the guardian ad litem in the case. 

(F) A guardian ad litem who is an attorney may file pleadings, motions and other documents as appropriate under the applicable rules of procedure.

(G) When a court appoints an attorney to serve as both the guardian ad litem and attorney for the child, the attorney shall advocate for the child’s best interest and the child’s wishes in accord with the Rules of Professional Conduct. Attorneys who are to serve as both guardian ad litem and attorney should be aware of Rule 3.7 of the Rules of Professional Conduct and act accordingly. 

(H) When a guardian ad litem determines that a conflict exists between the child’s best interest and the child’s wishes, the guardian ad litem shall, at the earliest practical time, request in writing that the court promptly resolve the conflict by entering appropriate orders. 

(I) A guardian ad litem shall avoid any actual or apparent conflict of interest arising from any relationship or activity including, but not limited to, those of employment or business or from professional or personal contacts with parties or others involved in the case. A guardian ad litem shall avoid self-dealing or associations from which the guardian ad litem might benefit, directly or indirectly, except from compensation for services as a guardian ad litem. 

(J) Upon becoming aware of any actual or apparent conflict of interest, a guardian ad litem shall immediately take action to resolve the conflict, shall advise the court and the parties of the action taken and may resign from the matter with the leave of court, or seek court direction as necessary. Because a conflict of interest may arise at any time, a guardian ad litem has an ongoing duty to comply with the division. 

(K) Unless excepted by statute, by court rule consistent with this rule, or by order of court pursuant to this rule, a guardian ad litem shall meet the qualifications and satisfy all training and continuing education requirements under this rule and under any local court rules governing guardians ad litem. A guardian ad litem shall meet the qualifications for guardians ad litem for each county where the guardian ad litem serves and shall promptly advise each court of any grounds for disqualification or unavailability to serve.  

(L) A guardian ad litem shall be responsible for providing the court or its designee with a statement indicating compliance with all initial and continuing educational and training requirements so the court may maintain the files required in division (G) of this rule. The compliance statement shall include information detailing the date, location, contents and credit hours received for any relevant training course.

(M) A guardian ad litem shall make reasonable efforts to become informed about the facts of the case and to contact all parties. In order to provide the court with relevant information and an informed recommendation as to the child’s best interest, a guardian ad litem shall, at a minimum, do the following, unless impracticable or inadvisable because of the age of the child or the specific circumstances of a particular case:

(1) Meet with and interview the child and observe the child with each parent, foster parent, guardian or physical custodian and conduct at least one interview with the child where none of these individuals is present;

(2) Visit the child at his or her residence in accordance with any standards established by the court in which the guardian ad litem is appointed;

(3) Ascertain the wishes of the child;

(4) Meet with and interview the parties, foster parents and other significant individuals who may have relevant knowledge regarding the issues of the case;

(5) Review pleadings and other relevant court documents in the case in which the guardian ad litem is appointed;

(6) Review criminal, civil, educational and administrative records pertaining to the child and, if appropriate, to the child’s family or to other parties in the case;

(7) Interview school personnel, medical and mental health providers, child protective services workers and relevant court personnel and obtain copies of relevant records;

(8) Recommend that the court order psychological evaluations, mental health and/or substance abuse assessments, or other evaluations or tests of the parties as the guardian ad litem deems necessary or helpful to the court; and

(9) Perform any other investigation necessary to make an informed recommendation regarding the best interest of the child.

(N) A guardian ad litem shall immediately identify himself or herself as a guardian ad litem when contacting individuals in the course of a particular case and shall inform these individuals about the guardian ad litem’s role and that documents and information obtained may become part of court proceedings.

(O) As an officer of the court, a guardian ad litem shall make no disclosures about the case or the investigation except in reports to the court or as necessary to perform the duties of a guardian ad litem. A guardian ad litem shall maintain the confidential nature of personal identifiers, as defined in Rule 44 of the Rules of Superintendence, or addresses where there are allegations of domestic violence or risk to a party’s or child’s safety. A guardian ad litem may recommend that the court restrict access to the report or a portion of the report, after trial, to preserve the privacy, confidentiality, or safety of the parties or the person for whom the guardian ad litem was appointed in accordance with Rule 45 of the Rules of Superintendence. The court may, upon application, and under such conditions as may be necessary to protect the witnesses from potential harm, order disclosure of or access to the information that addresses the need to challenge the truth of the information received from the confidential source.

(P) A guardian ad litem shall perform responsibilities in a prompt and timely manner, and, if necessary, an attorney guardian ad litem may request timely court reviews and judicial intervention in writing with notice to parties or affected agencies.

(Q) A guardian ad litem who is to be paid by the court or a party, shall keep accurate records of the time spent, services rendered, and expenses incurred in each case and file an itemized statement and accounting with the court and provide a copy to each party or other entity responsible for payment.

18.23(4)  Report of the Guardian Ad Litem: The final report shall be filed with the court and made available to the parties for inspection no less than 14 days before the final hearing unless the due date is extended by the court. Written reports may be accessed in person or by phone by the parties or their legal representatives. A copy of the final report shall be provided to the court at the hearing. The guardian ad litem may provide a copy of the report to counsel; however, no copy of the report will be provided by the guardian ad litem or counsel to any party at anytime. A guardian ad litem report shall not be transmitted by facsimile.

18.23(5)  Discharge: Unless otherwise directed, counsel or the parties shall include in the final judgment entry a provision for the discharge of the guardian ad litem at the conclusion of the pendency of the matter on which the guardian ad litem was appointed.

18.23(6)  Court Oversight: The court shall accept and consider any written comments and complaints concerning the performance of a guardian ad litem. A copy shall be submitted to the guardian ad litem. A written record of the Court’s disposition of the comment shall be kept in the guardian ad litem’s file and notification of the disposition shall be given to the person making the comment or complaint and the subject guardian ad litem. The court shall annually conduct a review of all guardians ad litem to determine that they are in compliance with the training and education requirements of Rule 48 of the Ohio Rules of Superintendence and the local rules.

For further information, reference is made to Union County Case No. 2011-MISC-0052, dated the 21st day of October 2011.

RULE 19

FEES IN PARTITION CASES

In partition cases where the land is sold, counsel fees may be allowed by the Court and taxed as part of the costs as follows: 10% of the first $5,000.00; 5% of the next $5,000.00; 2% of the excess above $10,000.00; the minimum fee shall be $75.00, or 25% of the gross sale price, whichever is the lesser sum.

AMENDMENT OF LOCAL RULES 20 & 21, COURT OF COMMON PLEAS, UNION COUNTY, OHIO, EFFECTIVE October 1, 2008.
Effective October 1, 2008, Union County Court of Common Pleas Local Rules 20 & 21 are Amended to read as follows: 

RULE 20

FORECLOSURES & MARSHALLING OF LIENS

20.01. Complaint/Initial Filing.  In actions for the foreclosure and marshalling of liens, any other judicial sale of real estate, or any action involving title to real estate, Complaints, Counterclaims, or Crossclaims, including those amended or supplemental, shall contain the following:

(A) Permanent Parcel Number.  The correct permanent parcel number(s) appearing in the caption.

(B)  Necessary Parties.  The Union County Treasurer shall be named as a party.

(C)   Real Party in Interest.  The Note, Mortgage, and Assignments, if applicable, attached as exhibits, thereby demonstrating the chain of title and that Plaintiff is in fact the real party in interest.  Should the Assignment demonstrating that Plaintiff is the real party in interest not yet be recorded or not yet be in Plaintiff’s possession, Plaintiff shall file a Notice of Filing of the appropriate Assignment with the Clerk no later than fourteen (14) days after the filing of the Complaint to bring the case file current.  Failure to comply with this provision shall result in the in Dismissal of the Complaint without prejudice absent further notice.

(D)  Legal Description.    

(1)  Prior to filing a Complaint, Plaintiff shall provide to the Union County Engineer’s Office, along with the foreclosure packet to be filed, the complete legal description for the real property that is the subject of the action to be filed, its Permanent Parcel Number, Tax Mailing Address, VMS Number, Plat Book/Page, if applicable, Map Number, the Prior Deed, Prior Deed Reference, Township Name, Municipality, if applicable, and Final Acreage of the parcel.  If the Prior Deed was exempt, Plaintiff shall provide the most recent non-exempt Deed.  

(2)  An Engineer’s Office representative shall review Plaintiff’s submission to determine whether it meets the conveyance standards of the Union County Engineer, stamp the Legal Description “Existing Description Acceptable for Transfer” or “New Survey and Description Required before Next Transfer,” as is appropriate, and return the stamped Legal Description to Plaintiff.  If the description does not meet conveyance standards, the description shall be returned unstamped for correction by Plaintiff.  If the Legal Description is returned bearing the stamp “New Survey and Description Required before Next Transfer,” Plaintiff shall obtain a new survey and description and provide the same to the Union County Engineer for pre-approval prior to the filing of its Complaint.  The Engineer-approved legal description for the subject property shall be attached as Exhibit A to all entries granting judgment and a decree of foreclosure and praecipes for order of sale.

(3)  As of the effective date of these rules, the Clerk shall not accept for filing any Complaint in Foreclosure that does not have attached thereto a legal description of the property stamped “Existing Description Acceptable for Transfer,” or in the case where a new survey was required, stamped “Description Acceptable” by the Union County Engineer’s Office. 
 

20.02. Service by Publication.

(A)  Newspaper. Should service by publication be necessary, the party requesting such service shall make the necessary arrangements with the Marysville Journal Tribune for the publication, pay the costs thereof to the newspaper, and direct the publisher to file proof of publication with the Clerk of Courts. See Local Rule 4.06.  Exception, see R.C. 2323.31.

(B)  Time. Publication shall be made once a week for three (3) consecutive weeks instead of as provided by Civil Rule 4.4.  See R.C. 2703.141(A).  It is sufficient to describe the parcel in such publication by listing the complete street address and the permanent parcel number instead of a complete legal description. 

20.03. Evidence of Title.
(A)  Preliminary Judicial Report. Pursuant to R.C. § 2329.191(B), within fourteen (14) days of filing its Complaint for the foreclosure or marshalling of liens, Plaintiff shall procure and file with the Clerk a Preliminary Judicial Report, effective within thirty (30) days prior to the filing of its Complaint, prepared by a Title Company not associated with any of the parties, or Counsel for any of the parties, to the action for which the Report is being furnished.  Failure to comply with this provision will result in the dismissal of Plaintiff’s Complaint without prejudice without further notice.

(B)  Final Judicial Report. Prior to any Judgment being rendered or any Sale being ordered, Plaintiff shall file with the Clerk a Final Judicial Report that updates the state of the record title, includes a copy of the Court’s docket for the case, and bears a certification specifically stating, “All necessary parties are properly before the Court, with all proceedings in conformity to law and Civil Rules.”

(C)  Costs. The costs of the title work required under this rule shall include a base search fee based on the value set forth in the appraisers' or commissioners' return at the rate of a minimum of $100.00, plus $5.00 per thousand in excess of $10,000.00, with a maximum of $500.00, plus a premium on the Judicial Report issued, said costs to be taxed as part of the costs in the case.  The premium on the Judicial Report is that rate allowed by the Ohio Department of Insurance.  

20.04. Interim Matters.
(A)    Notice of Appearance.   Any attorney appearing in a case after the initial document has been filed shall file a notice of appearance identifying the party on whose behalf the attorney is appearing. The Court may strike pleadings, memoranda, briefs, or other documents filed by attorneys not in compliance with this provision.  Withdrawal of Counsel, see Rule 28.
(B)    Motions.  All Motions and Entries submitted to the Court for ruling may be set for oral hearing at the earliest date convenient with the Court’s schedule.  Counsel for the moving party shall appear in person at any scheduled proceeding, demonstrating to the Court that the moving party is entitled to that which is sought.  Failure of the moving party to appear may result in dismissal of the pleadings, and in the case of Plaintiff, dismissal for want of prosecution or other sanctions the Court deems appropriate.
(C)  Entries.  No entries will be accepted for consideration absent the appropriate Motion first appearing on the docket.  All entries for judgment presented to the Court for approval at any time shall contain the signature of representatives of each answering party, or if represented by counsel, Counsel for each answering party, and the Prosecuting Attorney or his/her assistant—not simply saying “submitted” or “circulating for approval” on the signature line—but bearing the actual signature of the approving individual.  The attorney requesting Court approval of the Entry must obtain the approvals of those required to sign, not the Clerk of Court, Foreclosure Staff Attorney, or Court Staff.
(D)  Case Management.  The case will be administratively dismissed with no further notification where either of the following applies:
(1)      Service is complete and Defendant is in default for longer than forty (40) days with no further action taken by Plaintiff; or
(2)      Plaintiff’s Attorney is notified of failure of service of summons for thirty (30) days with no further action to advance the case appearing of record.
In the event a case is placed on drop list, the action may be saved from dismissal only by presentation of a proper motion, order, AND APPROVAL by the Court prior to the date set for dismissal.  Such motion and order must address the deficiency in the case file and state a reasonable date certain for compliance.  Such requests will be granted at the sole discretion of the Court.  
(E)  Bankruptcy.  

(1)   In the event the property owner files a petition under the United States Bankruptcy Code, any party may file a Notice of Suggestion of Stay and accompanying Entry.  At such time, the case will be placed on inactive status, accrued costs deducted from the deposit.
(2)   If and when the bankruptcy court grants relief and allows the foreclosure to continue or an automatic stay expires, evidence of such written relief/expiration shall be filed in the case before any further proceedings or documents are presented to the Court for signature or approval.  Upon the filing of such documents, Counsel shall move the Court to reinstate the case to the active docket and prepare a proposed entry to the same.

(F)   Settlement.  Plaintiff’s counsel shall notify the Court of any payment plan or Forbearance agreement entered into on a pending case within seven (7) days of said agreement.  The Court may dismiss the case without prejudice upon said notice, enabling Plaintiff to refile the case should the debtor fail to make payments pursuant to said agreement.

20.05. Dispositive Motions.
(A)  Motions for Default Judgment. See Local Rule 20.04(B)-(C).
(B)  Motions for Summary Judgment. Once a case is set for bench trial, Summary Judgment Motions will not be entertained. See also Local Rule 20.04(B)-(C). 

20.06. Contested Matters.
(A)  Mediation.  If the primary defendant/mortgagor timely files an Answer or other pleading in response to summons/complaint, the case will be set for Mediation at the earliest date convenient with the Mediation Department’s schedule.  Plaintiff’s Attorney, Plaintiff’s Representative, Primary Defendant/Mortgagor, and Primary Defendant’s/Mortgagor’s Attorney, if any, and any other party to the action the Court deems appropriate shall appear in person.  See Local Rule 34 for Mediation in Civil Matters.

(B)  Bench Trial.   If an Answer or other pleading is timely filed in response to summons/complaint and the case is not resolved at Mediation, the case will proceed to Bench Trial at the earliest date convenient with the Court’s schedule.  Plaintiff’s Attorney shall appear in person at any scheduled proceeding.  Once a case has been set for Bench Trial, only an agreed Entry and Decree of Foreclosure reached during Mediation bearing all requisite signatures presented to AND APPROVED by the Court by 4:00PM on the preceding business day will be accepted in lieu of trial.  Absent the appearance of such Entry on the docket by the time prescribed above, the failure of Plaintiff to appear at Trial will result in dismissal of the case for want of prosecution.  Evidence as required under the Ohio Rules of Evidence must be presented.

20.07. Judgment and Decree of Foreclosure.

(A)  The Judgment Entry and Decree of Foreclosure shall include at least the following:

(1)   A short recital of the pleadings filed by each party;
(2)   A finding that, “Service of summons upon all defendants was proper and that the Court has jurisdiction over all defendants; therefore, all necessary parties are properly before the Court”;
(3)   A finding that certain defendants are in default for failure to answer, and therefore, are forever barred from asserting any claims against the real estate and are held for naught;
(4)   A finding, where applicable, that, “Defendant, Union County Treasurer, has filed an Answer herein asserting an interest in the real estate that is the subject of the action for the payment of all real estate taxes.   The lien of the Union County Treasurer for the payment of all real estate taxes is senior in priority as to all other parties and is the first and best lien upon the real estate.   All delinquent and current real estate taxes assessed against the real estate shall be paid by the party requesting the order of sale prior to the confirmation entry being submitted to the Court”;
(5)    A finding of the amount due Plaintiff on the lien and an order rendering judgment in favor of Plaintiff and against those defendants personally obligated where prayed for in the Complaint, unless previously discharged in bankruptcy, then a specification as to which defendants are immune from personal liability; 
(6)   A finding that Plaintiff’s lien is the first and best on the property after taxes, where applicable;
(7)   A finding that Plaintiff is entitled to foreclosure; 
(8)   A finding of the amount, validity, and priority of all subordinate liens; 
(9)   A finding that there is no just reason for delay;
(10) A finding that upon confirmation of sale a recitation of the liens and mortgages of record to be released, either partially or fully; 
(11) An order that unless the sums found due in the Decree are paid in full within three (3) days from the date the decree is rendered by the Court, Defendant’s equity of redemption will be foreclosed and an Order of Sale issue to the Sheriff of Union County to appraise, advertise, and sell the property at public sale; 
(12) The approval signature, or email indicating approval, of each answering party, or if represented by counsel, then counsel therefor, and the Prosecuting Attorney or his/her assistant—not simply saying “submitted” or “circulating for approval” on the signature line—but bearing the actual signature of the approving individual; and
(13) A copy of the Engineer-approved legal description previously filed in the case for the subject property attached and incorporated within as Exhibit A.  

RULE 21

SHERIFF'S SALE

21.01. All sales of real estate on order of this Court shall be conducted by the personnel of the Union County Sheriff’s Office, unless prior to the sale, on written application for good cause, an order is obtained authorizing the hiring of an auctioneer. Any such order shall specify the fee of the auctioneer and be taxed as costs. Said fee ordinarily shall not exceed $50.00 per parcel offered, or a maximum of $150.00 for the sale of all parcels in the action.

21.02. Praecipe for Order of Sale.  After an Entry for order of sale is entered, Counsel for the party requesting the sale of the subject property shall file with the Clerk a praecipe for order of sale and attach thereto as Exhibit A a copy of the legal description contained in the decree of foreclosure for the case to obtain issuance of the order to the Union County Sheriff.

Effective December 13, 2011, Union County Court of Common Pleas Local Rule 21.03 is Amended to read as follows:

21.03. Appraisal.                                                                     

(A) Fees. Appraisal fees shall be paid to the Sheriff’s Office prior to any appraisal being performed, such fees to be $50.00 per appraiser per parcel, with a maximum of $150.00 per appraiser per action. 

(B) Land Appraisement. Returns to the Clerk of Courts on land appraisals shall be made within five (5) days of completion and shall include the following: 

(1) A completed Appraisement Form (Appendix Exhibit E);

(2) A copy of the Auditor’s appraisal value for the property that is the subject of the action; and

(3) A brief explanation as to the difference in appraisal values should the R.C. 2329.17 appraisement value vary by 10% or more from that of the Auditor.

This Rule as amended shall apply retroactively to all properties currently awaiting sale, whether scheduled or awaiting a sale date assignment, and prospectively to all future appraisals.

For further information, reference is made to Union County Case No. 2011-MISC-0062, dated the 13th day of December 2011.

21.04. Advertisement.
(A)  Fees.  Plaintiff shall pay the Sheriff of Union County all costs associated with the advertisement for the sale of the property prior to the publishing of such notice.   See R.C. 2329.38.
(B)  Public Notice.  The Officer making the sale shall give public notice of the date, time, and place of sale at least once a week for three (3) consecutive weeks before sale by advertising in the Marysville Journal Tribune.  See R.C. 2329.26(A)(2) & 2329.27(A).
(C)  Content.  All notices and advertisements for the sale of lands and tenements shall contain the following:

(1)   A complete legal description;
(2)   The street number of the buildings on the land or the street number of the lots offered for sale;
(3)   The web address of the Officer making the sale; and 
(4)    A notice that the full purchase price shall be paid within thirty (30) days from the date of sale.

(D)  Service.  Plaintiff shall serve written Notice including date, time, and place of sale, on the debtor and all other parties to the action, unless in default for failure to appear in the action, in accordance with Civ.R. 5.  At least seven (7) days before sale, Plaintiff shall file with the Clerk a copy of said Notice with proof of service endorsed thereon.  See R.C. 2329.26(A)(1).

 21.05.  Sale Procedures. 
(A)   Bids. On all sales of real estate, bids shall be offered in increments of $100.00 only.  The taking of bids shall not cease until five (5) minutes after the Officer conducting the sale positively and publicly identifies the highest bidder. If no further bids are received, the Officer shall accept the highest bid and announce that sale is subject to confirmation by the Court.  
(B)   Deposit. The Officer shall require from all purchasers as soon as the bid is accepted, a deposit of a money order, cashier’s check, or certified check payable to the Sheriff of Union County, or cash, for 10% of the amount bid.

21.06.  Post Sale Matters. 
(A)    Return of Order of Sale. On the Monday following the date of the sale, the Officer who made the sale shall return the Order of Sale to the Court. Within fourteen (14) days following the sale, the party or parties requesting the order of sale shall do the following:

(1)   Pay in full to the Union County Treasurer all  real estate taxes currently due and payable including any delinquent taxes, assessments, and penalties;
(2)   Cause an invoice for the cost of the title insurance policy to be filed with the Clerk of this Court to be taxed as costs;
(3)   Contact the Clerk of this Court, through written communication only, to obtain a cost bill for Court costs associated with the action; and
(4)   Contact the Officer who made the sale to obtain a copy of the Return of Order of Sale for fees and costs associated with the sale of the property.

(B)  Confirmation of Sale. The party who requested the order of sale shall prepare and tender to the Court a proposed entry, with a copy of the Engineer-approved legal description attached thereto as Exhibit A, ordering the confirmation of sale, distribution of proceeds, and release of liens, bearing the approval signatures of all answering parties or counsel, no later than twenty-one (21) days following the sale.  Distribution shall include the following:  

(1)   To the Clerk of this Court: Court costs assessed, including the invoice for the cost of the title insurance policy;
(2)   To the Sheriff of Union County: Sheriff’s fees, including $75.00 for recording, $50.00 for deed preparation;
(3)   To the Auditor of Union County: Conveyance and transfer fees;
(4)   To the Treasurer of Union County: $0.00, purchaser takes property subject to any future taxes, assessments, or penalties; 
(5)   To Plaintiff for its Judgment;
(6)   To Other Lienholders, if any: Paid according to priority; and
(7)   If any funds remain, the Entry shall specify to whom, in what amount, and at what address they should be paid.  No Entry will be signed that directs the Clerk to hold remaining funds.
Confirmation of Sale shall be entered within thirty (30) days of the Return of Sale unless objections are filed by an interested party, in which case the Court may enter a stay of confirmation, or unless the Court enters a stay for any other reason it deems appropriate.

(C)    Balance of Purchase Price.   

(1)     Within thirty (30) days from the date of Confirmation, the purchaser shall pay the balance of the purchase price to the Officer who made the sale.  Complete disbursement of the total proceeds of sale shall be made by the Sheriff within thirty (30) days from the date Confirmation of Sale is filed. 
(2)    In the event the purchaser does not pay to the Officer who made the sale the entire amount due on the purchase price of the premises within said thirty (30) days, Purchaser shall be in contempt, and the Sheriff shall immediately cause a citation to issue commanding the purchaser to appear before the Court and show cause why he should not be punished. If found in contempt, the Court, in fixing the penalty, shall take into consideration the costs of readvertising, and all the expenses and losses necessarily incurred by reason of the delay and resale of the premises.

(D)    Deed. Plaintiff’s Attorney shall have seven (7) days from the filing of the Confirmation of Sale to make to the purchaser a deed and deliver it to the Officer who sold the property.  Said Officer shall record the deed within fourteen (14) business days of the date the purchaser pays the balance due.

 21.07. Withdrawal of Order of Sale/Removal of Property from Sheriff’s Sale.  
(A)  Costs. Unless good cause is shown, once advertisement of the Sheriff’s sale of real estate has begun, Plaintiff shall be assessed the costs incurred after monetary judgment or Order of Sale issued, whichever event is first, if Plaintiff requests that Sale not be completed.
(B)  Time for Filing.  A motion to withdraw the Order of Sale and/or remove property from Sheriff’s Sale shall state with particularity the reason(s) for the withdrawal and shall be filed no later than forty-eight (48) business hours prior to sale for consideration by the Court.  Motions filed after the specified time for filing will not be entertained.  In the event of withdrawal due to the filing of a Petition in Bankruptcy, Plaintiff shall notify immediately the Officer making the sale.  
(C)  Effect of Withdrawal of Property.  Should the motion for withdrawal of the property from Sheriff’s Sale be for any reason other than Bankruptcy, the Entry granting Judgment may be vacated and Plaintiff’s Complaint dismissed without prejudice.
(D)  Court Approval.  No property shall be withdrawn from Sheriff’s Sale absent an Order of this Court.

21.08. Multi-County Lands.  Any action first filed in Union County for the foreclosure and marshaling of liens on real property situated in more than one county shall be cried solely in Union County.  The same appraisers shall examine all portions of said property, regardless of the county in which it is located.  Should 20% of the total acreage of the real property be located in a county other than Union, public notice of the sale of the property as set forth in Rule 21.04 shall also be made in said county. 

21.09. Posting of Rules.  The Officer making the sale shall keep a copy of these Rules conspicuously posted at the place where sales are conducted and shall call attention to them before taking any bids.

For further information, reference is made to Union County Case No. 2008-MISC-0049, dated the 1st day of October 2008.

RULE 22

JUDGMENT BY CONFESSION OR WARRANT OF ATTORNEY

22.01. Before a Judgment Entry is filed in cases of confession or Judgment by warrant of an attorney on promissory note, the original note shall be exhibited to the Court and presented to the Clerk of Courts, who shall endorse thereon by rubber stamp or writing, the fact that the note is in judgment. The Entry of Judgment shall not be filed until the same is done. See R.C. 2323.13.

22.02. The Complaint shall allege that each maker resides in Union County, Ohio, or signed the note in Union County, Ohio, and shall contain the last known address of the defendant(s) and the Clerk of Courts shall immediately, upon entering such judgment notify the defendant(s) of the Entry of Judgment by personal service, by registered or certified mail, mailed to them at the address set forth in the complaint and make notation thereof on the appearance docket.

RULE 23

SUBPOENAS

23.01. Except for good cause shown, the Clerk shall not be required to issue subpoenas, nor the Sheriff required to serve the same, unless requests are filed with the Clerk at least three (3) business days prior to the time for trial.

23.02. Subpoenas will not be issued without adequate cost deposits. See Rule 3.01 (O).

23.03. See Local Rule 7.02 on fax of blank subpoenas.

23.04. Only written, and no faxed, instructions for service of subpoenas will be accepted by the Clerk of Courts.

RULE 24

ASSIGNMENT AND TRIAL OF CASES

24.01. Civil cases shall be assigned as nearly as practicable in consecutive order according to original case number.

24.02. Cases preferred by statute shall be advanced for trial and assigned without regard to the date of filing.

24.03. For good cause shown, any case at issue may be advanced for trial out of its numerical order. Any party seeking the advancement of a cause shall file a motion for advancement in which there shall be stated the reasons therefore.

RULE 25

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT OF TESTIMONY

25.01. If testimony is to be presented by video deposition, the video tape and a written transcript with page and line (as opposed to time) index to objections shall be submitted to the Court for ruling on objections at the time of a pretrial, or not later than seven (7) days prior to trial, whichever is earlier. Failure to comply with this rule will result in the videotape not being admitted at trial, unless the Court, upon written application and for good cause shown, allows the videotape to be shown. The proponent of the tape should advise the videographer to retain a copy of the tape for use in redaction of objectionable material, since once the original tape is filed with the Clerk of Courts it will not be released, but held for any appeal.

25.02. C. P. Sup.R. 12 is incorporated herein.

RULE 26

26.13.  Specialized Docket.  This Court, as a part of its criminal division, created a specialized docket entitled “First Steps Toward Recovery” (FSTR) also known as the “Drug Court” program in accordance with Sup.R. 36.20 through 36.29 on December 22, 2010.  Persons sentenced to community control or granted intervention in lieu of conviction who qualify for FSTR will participate in the services provided as established by the FSTR Drug Court Program Description.  

(A) The creation of FSTR aims to:

(1) Reduce the jail/incarceration time of the participant

(2) Provide the participant with skills to improve and better manage his/her substance dependency issues

(3) Reduce the recidivism rates among individual with substance dependency issues

(4) Increase the number of FSTR successful completions

(B) Prior to acceptance into FSTR each person shall undergo an assessment by the FSTR clinician.  Persons may request to participate in FSTR by requesting an assessment at any time prior to his/her sentencing date.  Such request may be made either in writing and filed with the Clerk of Courts or orally, during one of the conferences set in his/her case.  To be eligible for consideration of participation in FSTR a person must meet these minimum requirements.

            (1) Substance dependency diagnosis

            (2) Placed on a community control sanction or granted intervention in lieu of conviction

Ordinarily a conviction of sex crimes, crimes involving children as victims, crimes involving the use of a weapon, and crimes of violence involving a victim with a serious injury will result in ineligibility.

(C) Each participant, upon acceptance into FSTR, shall sign a Participation Agreement and Waiver.  The Clerk of Courts shall mail a copy of the signed Participation Agreement and Waiver to the participant at his/her address of record with the Clerk forthwith after the same has been filed.  Each participant, upon entry, shall also be given a copy of the FSTR Handbook by the Program Director.

(D) Participants in FSTR will progress through Orientation, Phase I, Phase II, and Phase III as provided for in the Program Description.  The phases provide for a graduated level of services and contact with the Treatment Team, decreasing with progression through the program.  Participants will attend Drug Court status review hearings in open court before the Judge weekly or as otherwise provided for in the Program Description. 

(E) Termination.  Participants may be unsuccessfully terminated upon:

            (1) Ongoing noncompliance or multiple violations of the FSTR program

            (2) Serious violation of the FSTR program

            (3) New serious criminal conviction

Participants may be neutrally discharged upon:

            (1) Expiration of community control sanction

            (2) Serious medical condition

            (3) Significant change in circumstance that makes continuation/completion impracticable

            (4) Death

(F) Statements made in Drug Court hearings shall be treated as evidence of conduct or statements made in compromise negotiations and are not admissible to prove the underlying cause of action, as set forth in Evidence Rule 408.  Statements made in Drug Court hearings will be treated as statements made in the course of plea discussions in which the defendant or the defendants’ counsel was a participant, and will not be admissible to prove the underlying cause of action, as set forth in Evidence Rule 410.  This does not limit the admissibility of evidence provable by independent, extrinsic evidence.

26.14.  Certificate of Qualification for Employment. 

(A) The purpose of this local rule is to define the specific local court requirements and processes that support a Petitioner’s application for a Certificate of Qualification for Employment (CQE) as set forth in Revised Code 2925.25 and Administrative Rule 5120-15-01 established by the Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections (DRC).

(B)  In order to request a CQE, the Petitioner shall filed the Cover Sheet (Petition for Certificate of Qualification for Employment (RC 2953.25) [Form A]) with the Clerk of Courts for the county where the Petitioner resides.  The Petitioner shall include the DRC Electronic Petition Number on the Cover Sheet, and shall attach a copy of the fully completed electronic Petition.  

(C)  All Petitions submitted through the DRC shall be accompanied by the Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections CQE Summary (CQE Summary).

(D) Before any action is required to be taken on the Petition, the Petitioner must pay a deposit in the amount of $75.00.  Payment of this deposit may be made in any form otherwise accepted in the court for filing.  A Judge may waive some or all of the deposit otherwise required by this Rule.  The Petitioner may submit an Affidavit of Indigency (Form B) or other relevant information for the Court’s consideration if requesting a reduction in the filing fees.

(E)  All social security numbers and other information that must be excluded from public record shall be redacted in accordance with the rules of this court and the Rules of Superintendence.  Records or information received by a court to assist the court with making its decision under Section 2953.25 of the Revised Code, including information included on a petition, shall retain their character as public or non-public records, as otherwise provided in law.   

(F)   Upon receipt of a Notice of Petition and the required deposit, the Clerk of Courts shall assign the Petition a miscellaneous civil case number.

(G) The Court shall obtain a criminal history for the Petitioner, either through the investigation ordered in support of the Petition (see Order for Investigation (Form F)) or otherwise.

(H) The Court shall attempt to determine all other courts in the state in which the Petitioner has been convicted of or plead guilty to an offense through review of the Petitioner’s criminal history or other investigation.  The Clerk of Courts shall send a Notice to Court Regarding Petition for Certificate of Qualification for Employment [Form C] and Submission of Information Regarding Petition for Certificate of Qualification for Employment (Form E) to each court so identified.  Such Notice shall be sent via ordinary US mail.

(I)    The Clerk of Courts shall also send a Notice to Prosecutor Regarding Petition for Certificate of Qualification for Employment [Form D] and Submission of Information Regarding Petition for Certificate of Qualification for Employment (Form E) to the Prosecuting Attorney of the county in which the Petition was filed. 

(J)    The Judge or Magistrate shall review the Petition, criminal history, all filings submitted by the prosecutor or victim in accordance with the rules adopted by the division of parole and community services, and all other relevant evidence. 

(K) The Judge or Magistrate may order any report, investigation or disclosure by the Petitioner that it believes is necessary to reach a decision (see Order for Investigation (Form F) and Order for Additional Information (Form G)).

(L)  Once all information requested has been received, a Judge shall decide whether to Grant (Form H) or Deny (Form I) the Petition within sixty days, unless Petitioner requests and is granted an extension of time.  The decision to grant or deny a Petition may be referred to a Magistrate, and then sent to the Judge for a final Judgment Entry and Order.  All notice and objection periods regarding a magistrate’s decision would apply as set forth in the civil rules.

(M) The Clerk shall provide a written notice to the Petitioner of the Court’s Decision and Judgment Entry.  If denied, the notice shall include conditions, if any, placed on subsequent filings and language that a final appealable order has been filed.  The Clerk shall also notify the DRC of the disposition of the petition as required under the Administrative Rules, and if granted order the DRC to issue the CQE to Petitioner.

Former Rule 26 was REPEALED; effective July 21, 2010.

For further information, reference is made to Union County Case No. 2010-MISC-0028, dated the 21st day of July 2010.

RULE 27

PROBATION DEPARTMENT

The Probation Department of the Adult Parole Authority for the State of Ohio provides probation services to Union County.

27.01. In felony cases, no person shall be granted probation until a pre-sentence investigation and report has been made by the Probation Department of the Adult Parole Authority for the State of Ohio.

27.02. A probation record shall be kept in the Office of the Probation Department.

27.03. Printed conditions of Probation to be provided by said department shall be placed in the hands of all probationers. The Court's General Terms of Probation are on Journal 128, page 138, and Journal 166, Page 237.

27.04. If a person placed on probation fails to live up to the requirements and conditions of probation imposed upon him or her, such failure shall immediately be reported to the Prosecuting Attorney and/or Probation officer. See Criminal Rule 32.2 for Revocation of Probation.

27.05. Each person placed on probation shall pay a monthly supervision fee through the Clerk of this Court on or before the 5th day of the month, the amount of which shall be established by this Court and of which the offender shall be advised at sentencing. The funds shall be used to defray costs of supervision, as determined by the Court.

RULE 28

WITHDRAWAL OF COUNSEL

Counsel for any party, in a criminal or civil proceeding, shall be permitted to withdraw from an action only:

28.01. Upon written motion, with the written consent of his client, or the entry of appearance of substitute counsel. Any such written Motion shall be accompanied by a proposed Journal Entry.

28.02. Upon written motion and showing of good cause, with the consent of the Court, after notice by certified mail to the client stating the time, date and place where such motion will be heard. DR 2-110 is incorporated herein.

RULE 29

NOTARIES PUBLIC

29.01. To assist the Court in performing its duties under Chapter 147 of the Revised Code of Ohio, the Court hereby establishes a committee to be known as the Notaries Public Committee. The Committee shall contain three members consisting of the Court Administrator, the Union County Law Librarian, and the Judge of the General Division.

29.02. The Court shall not approve the certificate of qualifications required by Chapter 147 of the Ohio Revised Code for appointment as Notaries Public unless the applicant is a resident of Union County, Ohio and is either a member of the Bar of the State of Ohio in good standing, or has passed the examination hereinafter provided.

29.03. Applicants shall submit to a written examination individually or in groups as determined by the Committee to determine whether the applicant possesses the legal qualifications. Examinations shall be administered by at least one member of the Committee. No examination shall be required of persons who are admitted to the practice of law in this state.

29.04. Applications shall be verified and filed in advance of examination upon delivery to a member(s) designated by the Committee. Applications shall be in such form and set forth such matters as the Committee shall prescribe. Within five days after an applicant has been examined, the Committee shall provide a written report to the Court. Said report shall contain either an approval or disapproval of the Committee as to test results. The Court shall pass on the application as the facts and law may require.

29.05. Applications filed shall be accompanied by a fee in the amount hereinafter provided, which will be returned, if the applicant is not permitted to take the examination by reason of lack of citizenship, legal residence, or other statutory requirement. If the applicant is examined by fails to receive a recommendation of approval, a new application may be filed with the additional examination fee hereinafter provided.

29.06. The Court shall not consider an application of any person to become a Notary Public unless there is first submitted to the Court the aforesaid application together with the report of the Committee. To appeal an unfavorable report, the applicant, within five days of mailing notice of the adverse report to the applicant, must give written notice to the Court and to the chairman of the Notaries Public Committee of his desire for a hearing. Thereupon the Court will set a time and place for hearing, after which the Court will rule on the application as the facts and law require. The matter may be referred to a referee appointed by the Court who will conduct the hearing and report to the Court with findings of fact together with recommendations.

29.07. Any complaint filed by the Committee seeking to have a Notary removed, suspended, or disciplined, shall be heard by the Court after notice thereof to the chairman of the Committee and the individual or individuals against whom the complaint is filed.

29.08. Whenever an applicant, after examination, is not recommended for appointment to the office of Notary Public, said applicant may file a new application for re-examination. However, the applicant shall not be re-examined less than thirty (30) days from the first examination. If the applicant is again not recommended the applicant shall not be permitted to file a new application until sixty (60) days or more have elapsed from the date of the second examination. Having taken three or more examinations and having been found by the Committee to still be unqualified to hold said office, an applicant shall not be permitted to file an additional application for examination until one year thereafter. Each such application shall be accompanied by the fee hereinafter provided.

29.09. Should any applicant, after filing an application for examination, fail to be examined within ninety (90) days after the filing of said application, the application will be cancelled, and the fee paid will be forfeited.

29.10. Any person holding a valid Notary Public commission who desires a renewal of such commission, shall file an application for renewal with the Committee. Such application shall be verified and shall be in the form and set forth such facts as the Committee shall prescribe. Renewal applications shall be accompanied by a fee in the amount hereinafter provided. If the renewal application shows the applicant to be legally qualified for reappointment, the Committee shall so report to the Court and the applicant shall be deemed qualified for renewal of his commission without examination, unless otherwise ordered by the Court or recommended for good cause by the Committee.

29.11. The amount of fees hereinafter designated to be paid by each applicant shall be fixed as follows:

Original application
$25.00

Re-examination
$5.00

Renewal application
$15.00

Attorney application
$15.00

State fee
$15.00

No application shall be considered unless accompanied by the prescribed fee. Fees shall be paid by check or money order payable to "Union County Bar Association" and "SOS/Notary Commission"

Effective March 9, 1991.

RULE 30

CASE MANAGEMENT

For the purpose of compliance with the mandates of the Supreme Court of Ohio C.P.Sup.R. 9, together with the purpose of ensuring the readiness of cases for pretrial and trial, and maintaining and improving the timely disposition of cases, the following case management program is hereby adopted as Loc.R. 30:

30.01. CIVIL CASES

This rule is made in addition to, and not in derogation of, rules promulgated by the Supreme Court of Ohio.

1) Continuances

Time for Continuances. Continuances shall not be granted, except for the most unusual circumstances, if requested more than 10 days after the case has been assigned for trial, hearing or conference.

Continuance to a Date Certain. All entries granting continuances shall have embodied therein a date and time certain, to which the case will be continued, said date and time to satisfy the schedules of all parties to the action and which shall have been approved by the Assignment Commissioner of this Court. The Assignment Commissioner is Julia L. Smith, (937) 645-3015, 2nd Floor, Union County Courthouse, Marysville, Ohio, 43040.

2) Scheduling Conferences

See Loc.R. 11.03, which provides for a scheduling conference to be held within 30-60 days after service of summons is accomplished.

3) Status Conferences

In the event a case gets within 30 days of the "tolerable delay" time as set forth in (4) of this Local Rule, a status conference shall be scheduled not less than each 30 days, at which time all parties or their counsel shall be present, the purpose of the status conference being to determine what is causing a delay, exploration of methods of resolving the delay problem, and the prompt scheduling of dispositive trial.

4) Time Guidelines

The following are "tolerable delay" times for the various civil cases brought before the Union County Court of Common Pleas:

Type Case
Time

 Forcible Entry
45 days

Declaratory Judgment
90days

Injunction
60 days

All Others
120 days

Worker's Compensation
120 days

Personal Injury
210 days

Product Liability
210 days

Other Torts
210 days

Medical Malpractice
360 days

Complex Litigation
720 days

Dissolutions and Uncontested Divorces
60 days

Contested Divorces
120 days

Habeas Corpus
45 days

Mortgage Foreclosures
120 days

Administrative Appeals
120 days

30.02. CRIMINAL CASES

Criminal matters shall be conducted as provided in Local Rule 26, with preference given to said criminal matters as provided by law.

30.03. DOMESTIC RELATIONS CASES

The Clerk of this Court shall, within 72 hours after the completion of service on a domestic relations case, inform the Court of said completion of service and the Court shall thereafter, within 72 hours, assign said matter for final hearing.

In the event there are contested matters, the parties or their counsel shall notify the Court of that fact within 30 days from date of summons being served, at which time the Court shall reschedule the matter as contested, keeping in mind that a portion of the "tolerable time" has passed.

30.04. ADMINISTRATIVE APPEALS

Upon the filing of an administrative appeal, a Pretrial conference shall be set within 30 days after notice of appeal has been served upon the opposing party, at which Pretrial conference the issues shall be delineated and a hearing date set, if deemed necessary. The spirit of Local Rule 30 is to expedite cases through this Court, and every effort is to be made by the parties and their counsel at Pretrial to cooperate in accomplishing this purpose.

30.05. COMPLEX LITIGATION

At such time as a matter bearing the designation of complex litigation is at issue, a scheduling conference shall be called by the Court, at which conference the following matters shall be discussed and a date set by which time each shall have been accomplished:

All pleadings, including amendments, shall be filed.

All motions, including Rule 56 motions, shall be filed.

To disclose witnesses, both lay and expert, to each other.

To complete discovery.

To take evidentiary depositions.

To file requested special instructions and authority therefore.

To advise the Court of unusual questions of law.

Status and Pretrial conference schedules. Status schedules shall be not less than quarterly.

At the earliest possible time, whether at a status conference or a Pretrial conference, the Court shall ascertain the number of trial days which will be required to try the matter, and set a trial date certain.

Unless upon motion and for good cause shown, with the written permission of the Court to deviate therefrom, the schedule shall be strictly followed. It is the intent of this Court to bring each case, whether simple or complex, to completion within the shortest time possible, without materially affecting a fair and just disposition.

RULE 31

JURY USE AND MANAGEMENT PLAN

For the purpose of compliance with C. P. Sup. R. 9(C) and (D), the following Jury Use and Management Plan is adopted:

UNION COUNTY COMMON PLEAS COURT JURY USE AND MANAGEMENT PLAN

The following is proposed pursuant to the Rule of the Supreme Court of Ohio requiring a plan utilizing the Ohio Trial Court Jury Use and Management Standards as a guideline.

I. Opportunity for Service

The opportunity for jury service shall not be denied or limited on the basis of race, national origin, gender, age, religious belief, income, occupation, disability, or any other factor that discriminates against a cognizable group in the jurisdiction. The Union County Common Pleas Court provides handicapped access, hearing impaired equipment, enhanced exhibits for sight impaired and interpreters for citizens on jury duty.

Jury service is an obligation and privilege of all qualified citizens of Union County, Ohio.

II. Jury Source List

The jury source list shall be obtained from the Board of Elections' list of all registered voters. The jury source list should be as inclusive of the adult population in the jurisdiction as is feasible.

The Court shall annually review the jury source list for its representativeness and inclusiveness of the adult population. Should the Court determine that improvement is needed in the representativeness or inclusiveness of the jury source list, appropriate corrective action shall be taken.

III. Random Selection Procedures

The complete list from the Board of Elections shall be used to include all registered voters of Union County. An automated computer selection is made to insure each eligible and available person with an equal probability of selection. The Jury Commissioners set up drawing dates and are present at each drawing, together with the Common Pleas Judge, the Clerk of Courts, and a representative designated by the Union County Sheriff.

IV. Eligibility for Jury Service

All persons shall be eligible for jury service except those who:

Are less than 18 years of age; unless 17 years of age and registered to vote;

Are not citizens of the United States;

Are not residents of the jurisdiction in which they have been summoned to serve; to wit, Union County;

Are not able to communicate in the English language;

Have been convicted of a felony and have not had their civil rights restored.

Qualify for exemption per ORC 2313.16.

V. Term and Availability for Jury Service

Jurors shall be available for jury service for a two month period of time as requested. The Judge's office has implemented a telephone call-in system whereby jurors call either a local number or a toll-free number to hear a message which informs them as to whether they are still needed for jury service.

VI. Exemption, Excuse, and Deferral

All automatic excuses or exemptions, with the exception of statutory exemptions, from jury service should be eliminated.

Eligible persons who are summoned may be excused from jury service only if:

Their ability to receive and evaluate information is so impaired that they are unable to perform their duties as jurors, and they are excused for this reason by a Judge; or

They request to be excused because they are 75 years or older; their service would be a continuing hardship to them or to members of the public; and they are excused by a Judge or a specifically authorized court official.

Deferrals for jury service for reasonably short periods of time may be permitted by a Judge, the Assignment Commissioner, or another specifically authorized court official. No deferral shall be granted for more than 12 months.

Requests for excuses and deferrals must be written or otherwise recorded.

Jurors with young children are not permitted to bring them to the jury room or Courtroom.

VII. Voir Dire

Voir dire examination should be limited to matters relevant to determining whether to remove a juror for cause and to determine the juror's fairness and impartiality. Direction should be obtained from Ohio Jury Instruction 2.01.

To reduce the time required for voir dire, basic background information regarding panel members should be made available to counsel in writing for each party at least 24 hours prior to the day on which jury selection is to begin, by way of a jury questionnaire. No question answered on the jury questionnaire will be repeated on voir dire.

The trial Judge shall conduct a preliminary voir dire examination. Counsel shall then be permitted to question panel members for a reasonable period of time. No question asked by one, or the answer to that question, shall be repeated.

The Judge should ensure that the privacy of prospective jurors is reasonably protected, and the questioning is consistent with the purpose of the voir dire process. Each juror shall be afforded the privilege of requesting voir dire privately at the bench for purposes of avoiding embarrassment or invasion of privacy before the balance of the jury panel.

In criminal cases, the voir dire process shall be held on the record. In civil cases, the voir dire process shall be held on the record unless waived by the parties.

Jurors will be invited to ask questions of the Court and/or counsel prior to completion of examination for cause.

VIII. Removal from the Jury Panel for Cause

If the Judge determines during the voir dire process that any individual is unable or unwilling to hear the particular case at issue fairly and impartially, that individual shall be removed from the panel for that case. Such determination may be made on motion of counsel or by the Judge.

IX. Peremptory Challenges

Rules determining procedure for exercising peremptory challenges should be uniform throughout the state.

Peremptory challenges should be limited to a number no larger than necessary to provide reasonable assurance of obtaining an unbiased jury.

In civil cases, the number of peremptory challenges should not exceed three for each side. If the Court finds that there is a conflict of interest between parties on the same side, the Court may allow each conflicting party up to three peremptory challenges.

In criminal cases , the number of peremptory challenges should not exceed:

Six for each side when a death sentence may be imposed upon conviction.

Four for each side when a sentence of imprisonment may be imposed upon conviction; or

Three for each side in all other prosecutions. One additional peremptory challenge should be allowed for each defendant in a multi-defendant criminal proceeding.

In criminal and civil proceedings each side shall be allowed one peremptory challenge if one or two alternate jurors are impaneled, two peremptory challenges if three or four alternates are impaneled, and three peremptory challenges if five or six alternates are impaneled. These additional peremptory challenges shall be used against an alternate juror only, and the other peremptory challenges allowed by law shall not be used against an alternate juror.

Systematic use of peremptory challenges to purge the jury, solely by reason of those factors mentioned in I (A) herein is forbidden.

X. Administration of the Jury System

The responsibility for administration of the jury system should be vested exclusively in the judicial branch of government.

All procedures concerning Jury selection and service shall be governed by the Statutes, the Rules of Superintendence for Common Pleas Courts and the Local Rules of Court.

Responsibility for administering the jury system shall be vested in a single administrator acting under the supervision of the Common Pleas Judge.

XI. Notification and Summoning Procedures

The notice summoning a person to jury service and the questionnaire eliciting essential information regarding that person shall be:

Phrased as to be readily understood by an individual unfamiliar with the legal and jury system.

Delivered by the office of Sheriff of Union County.

The summons shall clearly explain how and when the recipient must respond and the consequences of a failure to respond.

The questionnaire should be phrased and organized so as to facilitate quick and accurate screening and should request only that information essential for determining whether a person meets the criteria for eligibility; providing basic background information ordinarily sought during voir dire examination; and efficiently managing the jury system.

XII. Monitoring the Jury System

The Court shall collect and analyze information regarding the performance of the jury system annually in order to evaluate:

The representativeness and inclusiveness of the jury source list;

The effectiveness of qualification and summoning procedures;

The responsiveness of individual citizens to jury duty summonses;

The efficient use of jurors;

The cost-effectiveness of the jury management system;

Post-Juror questionnaires shall be evaluated not less than once a year.

XIII. Juror Use

The Court shall employ the services of prospective jurors so as to achieve optimum use with a minimum of inconvenience to jurors.

The Court shall determine the minimally sufficient number of jurors needed to accommodate trial activity, and coordinate the number of jurors with the Jury Commission. This information shall be used to adjust both the number of individuals summoned for jury duty and the number assigned to jury panels.

XIV. Jury Facilities

The Court shall provide an adequate and suitable environment for jurors.

The entrance and registration area shall be clearly identified and appropriately designed to accommodate the daily flow of prospective jurors to the courthouse.

Jurors shall be accommodated in pleasant waiting facilities furnished with suitable amenities, including but not limited to, separate men's and women's restrooms and drinking water fountain.

Jury deliberation rooms shall include space, furnishings, and facilities conducive to reaching a fair verdict. The safety and security of the deliberation rooms shall be ensured.

To the extent feasible, juror facilities should be arranged to minimize contact between jurors, parties, counsel, and the public. A separate jury entrance/exit shall be provided jurors, secured by locked doors accessed by a coded pad.

XV. Juror Compensation

Persons called for jury service shall receive a reasonable fee for their service and expenses pursuant to statutory authority. It is the responsibility of each juror to notify the Clerk of Courts of any change of name or address during jury duty.

Such fees shall be paid promptly.

Employers shall be prohibited from discharging, laying off, denying advancement opportunities to, or otherwise penalizing employees who miss work because of jury service.

The Grand Juror foreperson shall be compensated at standard daily rates for performing duties as foreperson in presenting indictments.

Upon completion of the jury term, the Clerk of Courts shall mail checks to jurors.

XVI. Juror Orientation and Instruction

The Court shall have an orientation program:

Designed to increase prospective jurors' understanding of the judicial system and prepare them to serve competently as jurors, through oral or videotape instruction, and;

Presented in a uniform and efficient manner using a combination of written, oral, and audiovisual materials.

The Court shall provide some form of orientation or instruction to persons called for jury service.

The trial Judge shall:

Give preliminary instructions to all prospective jurors.

Give instructions directly following empanelment of the jury to explain the jury's role, the trial procedures including note taking and questioning by jurors, cautionary instructions regarding fraternizing with the litigants, witnesses, and/or attorneys, not discussing the case with others prior to deliberations, the nature of evidence and its evaluation, the issues to be addressed, and the basic relevant legal principles.

Prior to the commencement of deliberations, instruct the jury on the law, on the appropriate procedures to be followed during deliberations, and on the appropriate method for reporting the results of its deliberations. Such instructions should be made available to the jurors during deliberations.

Prepare and deliver instructions which are readily understood by individuals unfamiliar with the legal system.

Utilization of written instructions is preferable.

Before dismissing a jury at the conclusion of a case, the trial Judge shall:

Release the jurors from their duty of confidentiality;

Explain their rights regarding inquiries from counsel or the press;

Either advise them that they are discharged from service or specify when they must report; and

Express appreciation to the jurors for their service, but not express approval or disapproval of the result of the deliberation.

All communication between the Judge and members of the jury panel from the time of reporting to the courtroom for voir dire until dismissal shall be in writing or on the record in open court. Counsel for each party shall be informed of such communication and given the opportunity to be heard.

XVII. Jury Size and Unanimity of Verdict

Jury size and unanimity in civil and criminal cases shall conform with existing Ohio law.

XVIII. Jury Deliberations

Jury deliberations should take place under conditions and pursuant to procedures that are designed to ensure impartiality and to enhance rational decision making and shall conform with existing Ohio law.

The Judge should instruct the jury concerning appropriate procedures to be followed during deliberations.

A jury should not be required to deliberate after a reasonable hour unless the trial Judge determines that evening or weekend deliberations would not impose an undue hardship upon the jurors and are required in the interest of justice.

Training should be provided to personnel who escort and assist jurors during deliberations.

XIX. Sequestration of Jurors

A jury should be sequestered only for good cause, including but not limited to, insulating its members from improper information or influences.

THE JURY SHALL BE SEQUESTERED IN A CAPITAL CASE in conformity with existing Ohio law.

The trial Judge shall have the discretion to sequester a jury on the motion of counsel or on the Judge's initiative and shall have the responsibility to oversee the conditions of sequestration.

Standard procedures should be promulgated to:

Achieve the purpose of sequestration; and

Minimize the inconvenience and discomfort of the sequestered jurors.

Training shall be provided to personnel who escort and assist jurors during sequestration

RULE 32

COURT SECURITY PLAN

32.01. There is hereby adopted a Court Security Plan, which shall not be attached hereto as an Appendix, but may be found deposited with the Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, and may be obtained upon request of those persons with a bona fide need to know the content thereof.

Said Court Security Plan contains provisions for Emergency Procedures and Courtroom Security in the event of, but not limited to, bomb threat, fire, general evacuation, hostage situations, tornado and other casualties and contingencies. Further, it includes media relations during emergencies. The Courtroom security provisions address metal detectors, security inside and outside the courtroom, conduct of prisoners inside and outside the courts, potentially violent persons, specifically designated and dedicated areas in the courtroom, defines and discusses risk levels by case type, and contains general courtroom security rules to be followed.

In complying with the mandate of the Supreme Court of Ohio, but keeping in mind that publication of the provisions of the Plan would defeat the security efforts, a copy of the Plan adopted under this Rule has been provided the Supreme Court as evidence of a Plan being in place in Union County.

32.02. A copy of the Security manual shall be made available to each Courthouse employee to ensure understanding and compliance.

32.03. Upon termination of employment, said Manual shall be returned to the Security Committee.

32.04. No person to whom a Manual is issued shall copy or provide the Manual to another without first obtaining permission of the Security Committee.

32.05. The Court hereby appoints Bailiff of the General Division of the Common Pleas Court as Chairperson to form a Courthouse Security Committee, the duty of said Committee to be to implement the Ohio Court Security Standards promulgated by the Supreme Court of Ohio. The Committee shall be comprised of representatives of the Courts located in the Courthouse, the Union County Sheriff's Office, the local Bar, the Marysville Police Department, the Union County Prosecuting Attorney, the Risk Manager/Maintenance Supervisor, and the Clerk of Courts, all as determined by the Chairperson.

RULE 33

MEDIATION IN DOMESTIC RELATIONS MATTERS

Through Local Rule 33, the Union County Court of Common Pleas incorporates by reference R.C. Ch. 2710 "Uniform Mediation Act" (UMA), R.C. 3109.052 Mediation of Differences as to Allocation of Parental Rights and Responsibilities, and Rule 16 of the Supreme Court of Ohio Rules of Superintendence.

33.01. SCOPE. Issues regarding the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities and family related issues involving the minor children may be mediated, subject to the best interests of the child(ren). Financial matters including, but not limited to, property division and spousal support shall also be the subject of any mediation, including matters of child support subject to determination of best interests of the child(ren).

33.02. CASE SELECTION.

A. Referral Process. Prior to filing in Court, any party, legal counsel, member of court personnel, member of a government agency, or other interested persons may refer parties to mediation by contacting the Common Pleas Mediation Department at (937) 645-4175. If the parties voluntarily consent to participate in mediation and it is determined that the parties qualify for mediation, the Mediation Department will schedule a mutually agreeable time for mediation.

When Ordered. At any time after service of summons in any action for divorce, legal separation, or annulment, or at any time after the filing of a post-decree motion, the Court may order, on its own motion, on the motion of a party, or by agreement of the parties, that both parties attend mediation.

33.03. PROCEDURE. At the time that the Court orders the parties to participate in mediation, all standing orders shall continue in effect-no order is stayed or suspended during the mediation process except by written supplemental court order. Mediation shall commence within twenty-one (21) days of the order referring the parties. Any agreement reached during mediation shall not be binding upon the parties until approved by the Court, which shall consider the best interests of the children when allocating parental rights and responsibilities and/or establishing a visitation schedule.

A. The Court shall utilize procedures for all cases that accomplish the following:

1. Ensure parties may participate in mediation, and if the parties wish, that their attorneys and other individuals they designate may accompany them and participate in mediation;

2. Screen for domestic violence both before and during mediation;

3. Encourage appropriate referrals to legal counsel and other support services for all parties, including victims and suspected victims of domestic violence; and

4. Prohibit the use of mediation in any of the following:

i. As an alternative to the prosecution or adjudication of domestic violence;

ii. In determining whether to grant, modify, or terminate a protection order;

iii. In determining the terms and conditions of a protection order; and

iv. In determining the penalty for violation of a protection order.

Nothing in this division of this rule shall prohibit the use of mediation in a subsequent divorce or custody case even though that case may result in the termination of the provisions of a protection order.

B. Mediation of the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities or the care of or visitation with minor children or delinquency or status offense cases shall abide by all provisions set forth in section A.l of this rule. Mediation may then proceed, when violence or fear of violence is alleged, suspected, or present, only if the mediator has specialized training set forth in the "Qualifications" section .04 of this rule and all of the following conditions are satisfied:

1. The person who is or may be the victim of domestic violence is fully informed, both orally and in writing, about the mediation process, his or her right to decline participation in the mediation process, and his or her option to have a support person present at mediation sessions;

2. The parties have the capacity to mediate without fear of coercion or control;

3. Appropriate procedures are in place to provide for the safety of the person who is or may be the victim of domestic violence and all other persons present at the mediation;

4. Procedures are in place for the mediator to terminate mediation if he or she believes there is continued threat of domestic violence or coercion between the parties; and

5. Procedures are in place for issuing written findings of fact, as required by R.C. 3109.052, to refer certain cases involving domestic violence to mediation.

33.04. QUALIFICATIONS. A court-approved mediator shall possess the following criteria:

A. General Qualifications and Training. A mediator employed by the division or to whom the division makes referrals for mediation of allocation of parental rights and responsibilities, the care of, or visitation with, minor children, abuse, neglect and dependency, or juvenile perpetrated domestic violence cases shall satisfy all of the following:

1. Possess a bachelor's degree or equivalent education or experience as is satisfactory to the division, and at least two (2) years of professional experience with families. "Professional experience with families" includes mediation, counseling, casework, legal representation in family law matters, or such other equivalent experience satisfactory to the division;

2. Complete at least twelve (12) hours of basic mediation training or equivalent experience as a mediator that is satisfactory to the division; and after completing the above training.

3. Complete at least forty (40) hours of specialized family or divorce mediation training as approved by the Dispute Resolution Section of the Supreme Court.

B. Specific Qualifications and Training: Domestic Abuse. A mediator employed by the division or to whom the division makes referrals for mediation of any case shall complete at least fourteen (14) hours of specialized training in domestic abuse and mediation through a training program approved by the Ohio Supreme Court Dispute Resolution Section. A mediator who has not completed this specialized training may mediate these cases only if he/she co-mediates with a mediator who has completed the specialized training.

C. Aspirational Standards. A mediator employed by the division or to whom the division makes referrals for mediation of any case shall comply with the Model Standards of Practice for Family and Divorce Mediation as set forth in Appendix F of Rule 16 of the Supreme Court of Ohio Rules of Superintendence and the Special Policy Considerations for State Regulation of Family Mediators and Court Affiliated Programs as set forth in Appendix G of Rule 16 of the Supreme Court of Ohio Rules of Superintendence. Should a conflict exist between the Model Standards and Special Policy Considerations, Rule 16 of the Supreme Court of Ohio Rules of Superintendence shall control.

33.05. CONFIDENTIALITY. Pursuant to R.C. Ch. 2710, statements made during the course of mediation assessment or the mediation sessions are inadmissible as evidence in any subsequent proceeding in this Court unless the holders of the privilege have waived it or the person asserting the privilege is precluded from doing so. This Rule does not require the exclusion of any evidence that is otherwise discoverable merely because it is presented in the course of mediation. Further, this Rule shall not preclude the Mediator from testifying as to a crime committed in his/her presence or from complying with any law requiring the reporting of child abuse.

33.06. APPEARANCE OF COUNSEL. In the event the matter is referred to a Mediator in those Domestic Relations cases where mediation is deemed appropriate by the Court, the parties are encouraged to appear without counsel. If either party believes the presence of counsel is necessary, the attorney wishing to attend shall notify opposing counsel and the Mediator within 48 hours of the date of the Scheduling Order referring the parties to mediation in order to afford opposing counsel or a support person designated by the opposing party the opportunity to make arrangements to attend.

33.07. MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING. If an agreement is reached, the Mediator shall prepare a written Memorandum of Understanding and furnish the same to each party and his/her respective attorney(s) in order for the attorney to prepare an acceptable Entry for presentation to the Court. The written Memorandum of Understanding may become an order of the Court after review and approval by the parties, their attorneys, if applicable, and the Court. If an agreement is not reached, such fact will be reported to the Court and the matter will be scheduled for further hearing.

33.08. FEES AND COSTS. Mediation services are provided to Union County residents and/or parties to a suit filed in this Court at no additional cost other than the initial filing fee as required by Local Rule 4.01. Out of county individuals desiring mediation may contact the Mediation Department to inquire as to the cost of mediation.

33.09. SANCTIONS. Upon the failure of any individual to attend mediation as ordered by the Court, the Mediation Department will issue a Failure to Appear notice, indicating which party failed to comply with the Court order. At such time, the Court may impose sanctions that may include, but are not limited to, the award of attorney’s fees and other costs, contempt, or other appropriate sanctions at the discretion of the Judge or Magistrate.

RULE 34

MEDIATION IN CIVIL MATTERS

34.01. REFERRAL. All civil cases shall be referred to two (2) attempts at mediation by the Court Mediator. An initial attempt prior to discovery beginning, and a final attempt approximately three weeks before trial if the matter has not been settled. The only exception to this is in a Workers' Compensation matter, where only a final mediation will be attempted.

34.02. REQUIRED ATTENDANCE. All parties to the action, their attorney, and if an insurance company is involved, a representative of that company who has full authority to settle the matter, are required to attend the mediation. All must be prepared and have full authority to intelligently and fairly discuss settlement and a resolution of the civil matter.

34.03. CONFIDENTIALITY. Please refer to Rule 33 above, as those principles discussed under "Confidentiality" apply equally to civil matters.

34.04. MEDIATION REPORT. Upon the conclusion of the mediation, the Mediator shall submit a report to the Court indicating the status of the mediation. In cases where parties or party representatives with full authority to settle are not present, such absence(s) shall also be noted in the Mediation Report.

34.05. MEDIATION STATEMENT. At least seven (7) business days prior to civil mediations, the parties shall each submit a Mediation  Statement directly to the Mediation Department.  Such Statement shall include:

1.) A brief statement of the facts;

2.) The goals to be achieved through mediation;

3.) A brief settlement proposal; and

4.) Any other issues the parties deem pertinent to reaching an equitable and satisfactory resolution of the dispute.

34.06. In civil mediation the parties are to appear with the counsel (unless pro se), and, if agreement is reached, the Mediator shall prepare a written memorandum of agreement and furnish same to each party and to each attorney representing such party so that an acceptable Entry memorializing the agreement may be prepared. If an agreement is not reached, such fact will be reported to the Court, and the matter will be scheduled for further hearing.

RULE 35

ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION (ADR)

35.01. It is the policy of the Court to encourage the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) methods. The Judge shall, in appropriate cases, facilitate the use of voluntary ADR by taking any one or more of the following actions at or after the Scheduling Conference or at other reasonable times during the litigation:

Suggesting that the parties engage in settlement negotiations and appropriately participate in such negotiations.

Informing the parties about the availability of early neutral evaluation programs (including those offered by local bar associations) and, upon agreement of the parties, entering appropriate orders of referral, staying proceedings up to sixty (60) days for such purpose, and implementing the results.

Informing the parties of the existence and benefits of the Ohio Private Judging Act, Ohio Revised Code 2701.10, and upon agreement of the parties to utilize that Act, to enter appropriate orders thereunder.

Referring the matter to a Mediator in those cases where mediation is deemed by the Judge to be an appropriate action. In the event mediation is used, the parties shall appear without counsel. If agreement is reached, the Mediator shall prepare a written memorandum of agreement and furnish same to each party and to each attorney representing such party so that the attorney can prepare an acceptable Entry for presentation to the Court. If an agreement is not reached, such fact will be reported to the Court, and the matter will be scheduled for further hearing.

Referring the matter, upon agreement of the parties, for arbitration by either a single arbitrator or an arbitration panel.

Upon request of the parties to the litigation, evidenced by a written certification of agreement from all parties, entering such orders to refer the dispute to any other ADR method as the Judge shall deem to be consistent with the interests of justice.

35.02. No case involving equitable relief, title to real estate or administrative appeals shall be referred to ADR except by express consent of the Judge.

35.03. The arbitrator(s) and mediator shall be selected and appointed by the Judge. Payment of each shall be determined upon Motion and approval of same by Entry, the costs of same to be divided equally between the parties.

RULE 36

REQUIREMENTS FOR MEDIA AT TRIAL

36.01. Definitions. For purposes of this rule the term "proceeding" shall be understood to apply to any public hearing held by the Court and the term "record" shall be understood to encompass broadcast, televise, record, or photograph.

36.02. Application. This Rule shall be applied in conjunction with Canon 3(A)(7) of the Ohio Code of Judicial Conduct and Rules 11 and 12 of the Ohio Rules of Superintendence for the Courts of Common Pleas.

36.03. Authorization. The Court shall grant requests to record proceedings that are made in accordance with this Rule. All requests for authorization to record proceedings shall be made, (a) to the Common Pleas Judge in writing, (b) on the appropriate form available through the Court Administrator of the Common Pleas Court, and (c) as far in advance as is reasonably possible but in no event later than 24 hours prior to the courtroom session to be recorded. Upon a showing of good cause, the Judge may waive the advance notice provision. In the event the Judge decides to approve the request, he shall sign the journal entry setting forth the conditions of recording, whereupon the entry shall be filed and made a part of the record of the case.

36.04. Limitations. No recording equipment shall be allowed in the courthouse and no recording of proceedings shall be allowed in the absence of a written request and authorization. In the event that a proceeding for which authorization is granted is continued for more than 30 days, a new request shall be obtained in accordance with the procedure set out in 36.03 of this Rule. No recording shall be made of proceedings in the Judge's chambers without the express permission of the Judge, in the jury deliberation room during the course of the trial or after the case has been submitted to the jury, of victims or witnesses who object to being recorded, or of jurors. Under no circumstances shall photographs be taken of sexual assault victims or undercover law enforcement agents.

36.05. Permission granted for recording shall not be interpreted to diminish the requirement that jurors are forbidden to discuss the case with any person until after the trial, and the ethical requirements that restrict judges and lawyers from releasing information pertaining to a case while the case is pending.

36.06. The trial shall proceed in exactly the same manner as though there were no recording in process. Any equipment which is non-portable shall be set up and ready for operation prior to the commencement of morning or afternoon court sessions. No person shall be permitted to bring equipment into the courtroom while trial is in session unless such equipment can be easily carried by a single person into the courtroom without causing a distraction or a disturbance. "Pooling" of equipment shall be required in all proceedings. It is the responsibility of those requesting permission to record the proceedings to arrange for "pooling" of equipment.

36.07. C.P.Sup.R. 11-12 are incorporated herein.

RULE 37

PROFESSIONALISM, GENDER AND RACIAL FAIRNESS

37.01. Professionalism demands that all persons having contact with the courts be treated with dignity, and in a fair and equitable manner, and to that end those conducting business in the Union County Common Pleas Court, including but not limited to Judges, lawyers, litigants, witnesses, court personnel and jurors, shall conduct themselves so as to promote professionalism, gender and racial fairness in this court.

37.02. The judges and court employees shall set a professional, gender and racial fairness example and shall require everyone involved in the court system to do so.

37.03. As officers of the court, the attorneys have a responsibility to set a gender-fair example, treat clients, litigants, court employees, members of the bar, judges, and the public with fairness and equal dignity, as well as promote gender and racial fairness with their clients and associates. The highest standards of professionalism are required of those practicing in this Court.

37.04. Further direction may be found in the March 1994 publication of the Joint Task Force on Gender Fairness, entitled "Court Conduct Guide", and the September, 2002, publication of the Racial Fairness Implementation Task Force Action Plan, the principles contained therein being fully adopted by this Court.