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Judge Kathleen A. Sutula

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(216) 348-4031
Rose M. Bennett
(216) 443-8697
Courtroom Assistant:
Leila Fahd
(216) 348-4006
Staff Attorney:
Paul J. DiVincenzo
(216) 443-8587
On Common Pleas
Bench Since:
Admitted to Bar:
Supreme Court of Ohio, 1976 United States District Court, ND Ohio, 1977 United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, 1978 United States Supreme Court, 1980
Cleveland, Ohio
Cleveland, Ohio
High School:
Marymount High School
Ohio State University
Law School:
Cleveland-Marshall College of Law
Legal Experience:
Law Clerk to the Hon. Robert B. Krupansky, United States District Court; Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor, Civil Division; Assistant United States Attorney, Civil Division, Life Member, Sixth Circuit Judicial Conference.

General:As a general rule, the Judge personally conducts Case Management Conferences. At the CMC, the Judge sets the full discovery schedule, dispositive motion schedule (where applicable) and trial date with a full Trial Order setting forth additional dates regarding stipulations, trial briefs and exhibits. Counsel should familiarize themselves with the Trial Order issued by the Judge since not all the dates set forth in the Trial Order will appear on the Court's web docket. The Judge usually does not set additional pretrials or a final pretrial. Accordingly, counsel of record should be present and be fully prepared to discuss the case extensively and in full detail. CMCs will not be conducted by telephone under any circumstance. The Judge sets her CMCs at 8:00 a.m. Monday through Thursday. Multiple CMCs are scheduled each day, and the Judge conducts her CMCs in the order in which all counsel on a given case have arrived and signed in. Counsel should be sure to sign in under the correct party since failure to do so may result in the Court being unaware that all counsel have arrived on a given case. If counsel is running late, a call should be placed to the Judge's chambers in order to notify the Court that counsel is running late. If a party fails to appear by 8:30 a.m. without giving the Court or opposing counsel notice, the Court may proceed in setting dates despite counsel's absence. If your assigned CMC date results in a scheduling conflict, contact your opposing counsel and determine a mutually agreeable date that is no later than one week before or after the originally scheduled CMC date prior to calling the Staff Attorney for a new date. Provided the proposed new date fits within the parameters of being a Monday through Thursday at 8:00 a.m., the date usually will be acceptable to the Court.

Pre-Trials:  If and when it becomes apparent to counsel that a pretrial would be necessary or helpful, any counsel may request a pretrial. The Court expects civility among the advocates and trusts that regardless of any disagreements counsel may have that they will nevertheless cooperate in submitting proposed dates (generally, Monday through Thursday at 8:00 a.m.) for the requested pretrial. Failing that, the Court will set pretrials at its convenience. Ordinarily, and with the schedules of Court and counsel permitting, pretrials may be set within one week of the request.

Motion Practice:  Courtesy copies of all motions filed should be hand delivered or mailed to the Judge's chambers. Parties are not required to deliver courtesy copies to both the Staff Attorney and the Judge. Movants are not to file reply briefs without previous Court approval - this is true on all motions, especially dispositive motions. Motions to Withdraw should comply with Local Rule 10. The Court follows the Local Rule on response time, absent extraordinary circumstances or where the motion clearly represents that all opposing counsel are not objecting to the motion. The Judge typically will not rule on Motions in Limine until the trial date. To ensure that an opposed motion is not ruled on once the time for a response has run, a courtesy copy of the brief in opposition should be hand delivered to the Judge's chambers.

Discovery:  Please note that the discovery date set by the Court is the date by which all discovery is to be completed, and not merely noticed or issued. Copies of any expert reports that are submitted to opposing counsel shall likewise be submitted to the Court by the deadline established at the CMC. Furthermore, if any witnesses are to appear by videotape at trial (e.g. medical experts), these videotaped depositions are to be completed by the close of discovery, unless otherwise ordered. Calls concerning an extension of the deadline for conducting videotaped depositions will not be returned, nor will motions to extend this deadline be considered. Extensions in the discovery schedule may not be obtained by stipulation. The Court also does not accept stipulated extensions on written discovery. If the parties agree to set and substitute their own discovery schedule in lieu of the Court's, any problems that may arise necessitating a motion for an extension of time will not be considered. For any extensions of the Court's deadlines, a motion must be filed demonstrating good cause why such an extension should be had, and should include the date to which the party needs the deadline extended.

Settlement Conference:  The Trial Order provides for a settlement conference to be conducted by the parties following the completion of discovery. Counsel are to report separately to the Court their progress in settling the case. The Judge does not set a settlement conference with the Court at the CMC. Rather, the parties will know at what juncture, if any, a settlement conference with the Court will be helpful. If and when that time comes, simply call the Court and ask for a settlement conference. Ordinarily, and with the schedules of Court and counsel permitting, settlement conferences may be set within one week of the request.

Calendaring and Continuances: Dates set at the CMC will remain as set absent good cause shown. An extension of one deadline does not necessarily extend the other deadlines set at the CMC. The Court does not consider Motions to Continue Trial that do not comply with the Local Rules, e.g. the client must sign off on the motion to continue, and new trial date(s) should be proposed. Notwithstanding full compliance with the local rules, trial dates are not continued without good cause shown. Since the Judge adheres to the Supreme Court Rules of Superintendence, trials are not continued for other previously set trials until the date of trial, at which time the case will either be continued or kept on standby. Trial dates will be continued for preplanned personal events or religious holidays (weddings, graduations, cruises, bar mitzvahs, Yom Kippur, etc.) of the attorneys and clients, their families and major witnesses - provided this is brought to the Court's attention no later than 20 days following the date of the CMC. Continuances for such reasons requested after that time will not be considered.

Trials: All civil trials are set on a standby basis for a period of one week. If you are engaged in trial elsewhere, this Court will wait for you. If this Court is engaged in trial, the Judge may ask you to wait for her (rather than rescheduling your trial date). Please refer to the Trial Order for details regarding the schedule for preparing undisputed fact stipulations, trial briefs, exhibits, and where applicable: jury instructions, or proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law. Counsel are also instructed to go over trial deposition testimony prior to trial and provide a list, on the trial date, of those objections that the Judge will need to rule on at trial. The list of objections should provide the Court with the page and line number, along with the basis for the objection.

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"The mission of the Court is to provide a forum for the fair, impartial and timely resolution of civil and criminal cases."

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