Monday, October 15, 2012

Ohio Supreme Court Rules of Practice and Procedure, Commercial Docket amendments

The Ohio Supreme Court, on October 8, announced publication of a set of proposed amendments changing state rules of appellate procedure, civil procedure, criminal procedure, juvenile procedure and Rules of Evidence.

The Court's announcement stated that "Many of the proposed changes targeted inconsistencies, allowed for electronic service, removed outdated concepts, or move rules to other sections that make more sense. There are, however, a few substantive changes to existing rules, including:

•Proposed amendments to Civ. R. 4.4 and Juv. R. 16 would make it clear that service by posting can be used in initial actions and expand it to post-decree matters. In addition to the traditional 'posting' of a notice on the courthouse bulletin board, service would use the county clerk of court's website if it exists, although the amendments don’t require electronic posting.

•Amendments to Civ. R. 10(D)(2) and Evid. R. 601 seek to enhance the affidavit of merit requirement and clarify who qualifies as an expert in a medical claim. The amendments distinguish between medical malpractice cases and other medical, dental, optometric or chiropractic claims. An amendment to Evid. R. 601 would require experts to have devoted three-quarters of their professional time to active clinical practice at the time of the event giving rise to the claim.

Comments to the Rules of Procedure and Practice will be addressed until November 13, 2012, and should be addresses to:
Jo Ellen Cline, Government Relations Counsel
Supreme Court of Ohio
65 S. Front St., Seventh Floor
Columbus, Ohio 43215 or via email to 

Text of the proposed Procedure and Practice amendments

The Court last Friday also announced publication and the commencement of public commentation for the permanent rules governing the operation of commercial dockets in Ohio, to be used to resolve business-to-business disputes quicker and provide consistency to the process by judges developing expertise in this area.

The Court's announcement here stated that "The Supreme Court adopted temporary rules on May 6, 2008 to establish a multi-court pilot program to assess the best method of establishing commercial civil litigation dockets in the state. Pilot commercial dockets were established in common pleas courts in Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton and Lucas counties."

Earlier this year, the Task Force on Commercial Dockets issued a final report in which it recommended the Supreme Court adopt rules allowing for the permanent establishment of commercial dockets, and finding that the benefits of the program included accelerating decisions, creating expertise among judges, and achieving consistency in court decisions around the state.

Comments on the Commercial Docket Rules may also be made until November 13, 2012. These should be addressed to:
John VanNorman, Policy and Research Counsel
Supreme Court of Ohio
65 South Front Street, Seventh Floor
Columbus, OH 43215 or via e-mail to

Language of Proposed Rules

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