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Judge Michael K. Astrab

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Courtroom:
21-C
Fax:
(216) 348-4033
Bailiff:
Brendan Campbell
(216) 443-8707
Courtroom Assistant:
Anna Foley
(216) 348-4005
Staff Attorney:
Callista N. Plemel
(216) 443-8674
On Common Pleas
Bench Since:
January 11, 2011
Admitted to Bar:
November 10, 1997
Born:
November 14th, 1971
Residence:
Strongsville
High School:
Solon High School, 1989
College:
Miami University, 1993
Law School:
Cleveland Marshall, 1997
Legal Experience:
Defense attorney, private practice
LITIGATION PREFERENCES

General:

Civil:

Under Ohio law, those litigants choosing to represent themselves in trial court proceedings (acting “pro se”), are presumed to know the law and this Court will hold them to the same standards as it will a licensed attorney.

Case Management Conferences (“CMCs”) will be conducted via telephone beginning Jan. 3, 2012, however parties may request to conduct the CMC in person. Plaintiff is to initiate the conference call to the Court’s staff attorney at 216.443.8674. The Court will not hold a CMC until service is perfected.

Counsel are expected to treat each other with respect and professionalism at all times and are expected to make good faith efforts to resolve disputes prior to seeking court intervention. The Court’s staff attorney shall be the first point of contact for counsel in civil proceedings. All counsel shall provide up-to-date e-mail, cellular and facsimile information throughout the pendency of the action. Counsel are expected to attend all scheduled hearings/events. If running late or unable to attend due to an unforeseen event, please call the court and leave a message if no one is available to take the call.

Criminal:

Be on time, and if you are going to be late, contact Judge Astrab’s bailiff by e-mail. Please remind clients to be dressed appropriately for Court. Clothing deemed unacceptable by the Court (case-by-case basis) may result in the continuation of a scheduled hearing.

Pre-Trials: 

Civil:Counsel must be present in Court for pre-trials unless given permission by the Court. Individuals with settlement authority must be available by telephone. Counsel and parties must be present for final pre-trials. If physical presence is not practical, then the parties must be available by telephone.

Criminal:The Arraignment Room schedules First Pre-Trials for Judge Astrab. First Pre-Trials are always scheduled for 8:30 AM, Monday through Friday. Certain F4 and F5 cases will be set for Final Pre-Trial and Trial (within 30, 45 or 60 days, depending on the charges) prior to the First Pre-Trial. In such cases, parties will be notified by e-mail and/or mail. If either party finds the complexity of the case, or other factors, would necessitate more time to resolve, they are asked to notify the court at the first pre-trial.

Judge Astrab holds sentencing hearings Monday-Thursday at 1:30 PM and on Fridays at 8:30 AM.

Motion Practice: 

Civil:

Filings: Counsel for the parties shall submit a time-stamped copy of any filing made in person with the Clerk of Courts to this Court via a walk-up copy to the Bailiff. This does not apply to any filing made electronically. Counsel shall follow the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure and the Local Rules of this Court with regard to service of filings upon opposing counsel and as to the contents of any filings. Counsel shall attach copies of any exhibits, deposition transcripts, unreported cases and any other required materials to filings.

All motions filed must have a good-faith basis; the Court will consider sanctions for filings made for no other purpose than to harass opposing counsel or to delay proceedings. Time limits for responsive filings will be strictly enforced by this Court. Leave for extensions of time will be considered only upon a showing of good cause, even in situations where stipulations are offered by opposing counsel. Sur reply briefs shall not be filed nor requested. The Court will allow oral arguments on motions only in extraordinary situations.

Motion for Summary Judgment: Pursuant to Local Rule 11(I)(1), a Brief in Opposition is due 30 days after the filing of a Motion for Summary Judgment. A Reply Brief is due 10 days after the filing of a Brief in Opposition. In order to expedite the ruling, counsel is to notify the Court if no reply is anticipated.

Any Motion other than Summary Judgment: Pursuant to Local Rule 11(C), a Brief in Opposition is due 7 days after the filing of a Motion. Pursuant to Local Rule 11(D), a Reply Brief may only be filed with leave of Court upon a showing of good cause.

Discovery: 

Civil:

Discovery Deadlines: Factual discovery deadline will be determined at the Case Management Conference. Expert report deadlines are determined by agreement of the parties. The Court will intervene only if when necessary.

Discovery Disputes: Pursuant to Ohio Civil Rules 26 and 45, the parties are to follow the established guidelines in making reasonable efforts to resolve a discovery dispute prior to the filing of a motion with the Court. Upon the filing of a motion regarding a discovery dispute, the Court shall schedule an attorney conference with the parties.

Settlement Conference: 

Civil:Settlement conferences will be set by request of the parties, unless set by the Court

Calendaring and Continuances: 

Civil: Deadlines and the schedule will be set during the CMC. Hearings may be rescheduled only with consent of all counsel or parties and the submission, in writing, to the Court with alternative available dates agreeable to all parties. If continuance of a hearing is contested, the party requesting the continuance must file a motion in accordance with Local Rule 17. Failure of an attorney to contact the Court may result in sanctions if the situation warrants or if there is a pattern of continued abuse of the Court’s time.

Criminal: If parties fail to appear for a 8:30 AM criminal pre-trial, the court will set new dates for the parties. Bail defendants will be continued for two weeks, jail defendants for one. In addition, the court will set a trial date. Parties will be permitted to request an alternate trial date. Failure of an attorney to contact the Court may result in sanctions if the situation warrants or if there is a pattern of continued abuse of the Court’s time.

Trials: 

Civil: Motions in Limine to be submitted 15 days prior to trial. Briefs in opposition to be filed 7 days following the filing of a Motion in Limine. Trial Briefs and Jury Instructions to be submitted 7 days prior to the Trial. The Parties should label all exhibits for Trial and indicate any joint exhibits accordingly. The Parties should provide the Court with a binder of all exhibits on the first day of Trial.

Default Hearings: Plaintiff is to be present. Plaintiff’s attorney shall bring judgment entry; affidavit signed by the plaintiff’s attorney stating that according to statute and rules, service requirements were complied with, and affidavit signed by the plaintiff, or plaintiff’s representative, proving damages. Plaintiff is to notify all parties against whom default judgment is sought of the time and date of the default hearing by regular and certified mail at least 14 days prior to the hearing date.

Criminal: Judge Astrab begins criminal trials at 10 AM sharp. Defense attorneys are asked to request any mark to the prosecutor no later than the day before the trial.

Any plea the day of trial should begin by 9:45 AM, as to not interfere with other criminal trials set the same day. If a case is going to trial, defense and state should meet with judge at 9:45 AM to discuss any last minute issues before the start of trial.

Counsel required to stand while addressing court and witnesses.

Note taking by jurors is permitted. Submission of questions by jurors is not permitted. Court will allow attorneys to speak with jury after case.

Judge's Recent Opinions

"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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