Judge Michael E. Jackson
Courtroom:
15-D
Fax:
(216) 348-4092
On Common Pleas Bench Since:
January 3, 2013, serving a six-year term (elected November 2012).
Magistrate:
. .
(216) 443-8505
Bailiff:
Renee M. Bianchi (216) 443-8755
Courtroom Assistant:
Yufei Li (216) 348-4008
Staff Attorney:
Robin C. Kunikis (216) 443-8601
Admitted to Bar:
Ohio - 1976; Illinois - 1975.
Born:
Covington, Kentucky
Residence:
Shaker Heights
High School:
Middletown, Ohio School District, Lemon-Monroe High School
College:
BA Ohio University, 1966 (1967 - 1971: United States Marine Corps; served as a combat officer in Vietnam in 1967-1968; awarded 5 personal decorations; the Purple Heart); attended MA program at Ohio University after the Marines, then decided to go to law school.
Law School:
JD, with Honors, Chicago–Kent/Illinois Institute of Technology, 1975.
Legal Experience:

Criminal: Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, Cuyahoga County: Mortgage Fraud, Economic Crime, and assisted in Major Trials. 6 years (most recent position)

Civil: Partner, Schwarzwald, McNair & Fusco (trial lawyer: plaintiff’s personal injury; union-side labor; general practice); Partner, Arter & Hadden n.k.a. Tucker & Ellis; (bankruptcy, oil and gas); Solo Practitioner; General Counsel & Vice President of publicly traded oil and gas company; Attorney for East Ohio Gas Company (management-side labor. AV Rated; Total of 30 years.

Formerly Adjunct Law Professor at: Case Western Law School (trial tactics and client counseling); Cleveland State College of Law (secured transactions) and; Akron Law School (bankruptcy).
LITIGATION PREFERENCES

General:

Be prompt, professional, and prepared. You must notify the Court if you will be late.

Attorneys should be prepared to discuss settlement at the earliest opportunity. Mediation and arbitration will be used in cases where it is appropriate.

Discovery begins before the Case Management Conference.

All questions, or scheduling concerns related to civil non-foreclosure cases should be directed to the Judicial Staff Attorney, only. All questions, or scheduling concerns related to civil foreclosure cases should be directed to the assigned Magistrate.

Pre-Trials: 

The Judicial Staff Attorney typically conducts all Case Management Conferences in person. Pretrial and Case Management Conferences are counsel only, unless it is a final pre-trial or settlement conference.

At the Case Management Conference, the parties should be prepared to enter into a case management order regarding time deadlines for discovery, expert reports, dispositive motions, final pretrial, and trial. The Court will consider whether the case is amenable to resolution through arbitration, mediation, settlement conference, or other means of alternate dispute resolution. Parties may request to attend the Case Management Conference and Pre-Trials by phone if extenuating circumstances are present.

The Court always schedules and holds a Case Management Conference before scheduling a Default Hearing.

Status Conferences: The Court will periodically schedule either telephone conferences or e-mail status updates to track the progress of cases, or respond to discovery and scheduling issues that may arise.

Final Pre-Trials: All parties with settlement authority must appear. Individual parties, corporate party representatives and any insurance or claim representatives shall be present in person. Participation by phone permitted only when there are extraordinary conditions and only when leave of court is obtained at least ten days prior to the date of final pretrial to appear by telephone.

The parties must comply with Loc.R. 21 Part III and Loc.R. 21.1. Exhibit lists and motions in limine are also due with the pretrial statement. List of exhibits are by title of document identified by a number for plaintiff and a letter for defendant with multiple plaintiffs or defendants using an appropriate identifier. Courtesy copies to be delivered to courtroom 15-d upon filing when filings exceed ten pages.

Motion Practice: 

A physical copy of any motion, brief, pleading, or exhibit that is in excess of ten pages must be delivered to Courtroom 15-D. The Court rarely grants leave to file reply briefs, and only when Loc.R. 11(D) is completely satisfied.

Briefing to the Court: This court follows the precedent of the Supreme Court of Ohio and the Eighth Appellate District Court, and expects all attorneys and pro se litigants to cite accurately to this mandatory authority when briefing the court. Briefs that rely on foreign/persuasive authority must contain an express representation that the party researched the issue and that there is no legal precedent from the Supreme Court of Ohio or the Eighth Appellate District Court on the issue(s) being briefed. Otherwise, the court expects that the party will include the mandatory authority and then distinguish its foreign/persuasive authority from that of the mandatory when it advocates its position.

If federal law applies then the parties must cite to the Supreme Court of the United States of America, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Northern District Court of Ohio, then the other districts within the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, and then authority outside of these districts.

Failure to abide by this professional obligation and court order may result in sanctions.

Dispositive Motions: Dispositive motion deadlines, and an oral argument date for motions for summary judgment are set during the Case Management Conference. Dispositive motions must be filed with a proposed journal entry. Briefs in opposition are due according to Loc.R. 11(i). If the parties waive oral argument at the Case Management Conference, then the moving party usually may file a reply brief pursuant to Loc.R. 11(i). Leave for sur-replies will not be granted.

Dispositive Motion Hearings: Individual parties, as well as a representative of any entity or municipal parties, must be present in person at the summary judgment hearing. Any representative of an entity or municipal party must have knowledge equivalent to that of a Civil Rule 30(b)(5) designee. To the extent, any insurance carrier(s) would be responsible for paying some or all of any judgment or settlement amount in this matter, a representative with settlement authority from any such carrier must also be present in person. The alleged tortfeasor may be excused from attendance if his claim is being defended by an insurance carrier.

Default Hearings: The Court conducts in person default judgment hearings. If the claim involves personal injuries, or Plaintiff seeks non-economic or punitive damages, Plaintiff is expected to participate in a full hearing on damages. A claim involving a contract or accounting dispute may be decided on the pleadings, affidavits and exhibits produced in the complaint and motion for default judgment.

Before a default hearing, Plaintiff must provide Defendant(s) with notice of the hearing by regular mail and certified mail with return receipt at least seven days prior to the hearing.

Plaintiff must provide the Court with the following: a copy of said notice, a service affidavit, a military affidavit, a copy of the original contract/note/instrument or credit card agreement; if a credit card, a copy of the last statements with charges from purchases, or if Plaintiff is assignee, then evidence of the principal amount charged off by the original creditor; an original affidavit of damages and proof of every assignment of the debt (where applicable) with the debtor's account shown.

If Plaintiff is an assignee creditor, the court expects that materials submitted in support of the motion for default judgment must be in compliance with this court's opinion in CACH, LLC vs. Vega, Case No CV 13 805328, issued 12/02/2013, relying on Great Seneca Financial V. Felty, 170 Ohio App. 737, 2006-Ohio-6618, 869 N.E.2d 30 (1st Dist.), syllabus, paragraph two.

If Plaintiff is an insurance company recovering in a subrogation claim, it must provide the Court with an insurance declaration.

A hearing may be reset or supplemental filing may be allowed for failure to produce any of the aforementioned documentation. The case may be dismissed without prejudice if Plaintiff fails to supplement within the allotted time period or provide said documentation at the second hearing.

Discovery: 

Discovery deadlines are typically established at the Case Management Conference.

Discovery Disputes: Parties are expected to make all reasonable efforts to settle discovery disputes among themselves pursuant to the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure. Parties shall contact the Court's Judicial Staff Attorney, and initiate a telephone conference prior to filing any discovery motions (motion to compel, motion to quash, motion for protective order, etc.) Parties will be provided a full opportunity to make a record of any perceived discovery violations.

Extensions: Parties may by mutual agreement, extend the deadline for completing discovery; provided, any such extension shall not, under any circumstances, alter any other court-scheduled events, deadlines, or mediation.

Settlement Conference: 

The Court will conduct settlement conferences at the request of the parties, or settlement conferences may be initiated by the Court. These may be scheduled during the Case Management Conference, or by contacting the Judicial Staff Attorney. Persons with settlement authority must be present at settlement conferences. Persons with settlement authority will only be excused from attending the settlement conferences if extenuating circumstances are present, permission has been requested and granted in advance, and the person will be immediately available by telephone during the conference.

Calendaring and Continuances: 

The Court rarely grants trial continuances. Requests to continue Case Management Conferences and pre-trials made less than seven (7) days in advance will only be considered in cases involving valid emergencies.

Trials: 

Jury Trials: The Court's instructions of law to the jury, and the questions jurors must answer to help reach a just verdict are essential to all jury trials. This aspect of the trial is of primary importance to the Court, and cannot be an afterthought for parties who hope to become the prevailing party. The Court expects counsel to participate actively in the crafting of these vital documents. Counsel should expect to devote time with the Court during the trial process.

No later than 14 days before the trial date, the parties shall jointly submit proposed stipulated jury questionnaires(if they agree to use one), jury instructions, jury verdict forms, and jury interrogatories containing all terms which the parties agree, followed by any instructions that are in dispute, video deposition transcripts, objections for video depositions, and stipulations. The jury instructions, verdict forms, interrogatories, and questionnaires shall be submitted as an electronic copy via e-mail (in MS word format) to the Judicial Staff Attorney. If the parties disagree over a jury instruction, interrogatory, or verdict form then the disputed instructions should be included at the end of the stipulated ones, with brief explanations of the proposal and objection. The Court follows OJI. Failure to provide any proposed jury verdict form, jury instruction(s) or interrogatories even if they are in Ohio Jury Instructions, prior to the terms of this order will be a failure to follow this order that may result in sanctions including dismissal of claims, or may also be considered a waiver of objections to instructions.

Objections for video depositions must be a separate document that identifies which objections the parties are requesting rulings form the court, and identify the deponent, pages and lines where the objections are located, and may include a few words to clarify the objection if it is not stated in the record. Courtesy copies must be delivered to courtroom 15-D upon filing

The parties must also exchange proposed exhibits at least 14 days prior to trial. Courtesy copies of exhibits must be given to the Court prior to the start of trial.

Voir Dire: The Court uses the "strike method" and questions potential jurors first, followed by Plaintiff's Counsel, and then Defense Counsel. They Court typically does not impose a time limit for voir dire. The Court is sensitive to all Batson issues and may raise these issues on its own initiative.

Jurors: The Court permits jurors to take notes and to ask questions of witnesses. Juror questions are submitted in writing after each witness has been completely questioned by counsel for the parties. Questions are reviewed by the Court and counsel at side bar with a court reporter present. The Court rules on any objections, then asks the question(s). Counsel are permitted one follow up question to the witness’s response to a juror question.

Bench Trial: No later than 14 days before the trial date, the Court must receive from all parties video deposition transcripts, objections for video depositions, and stipulations. Courtesy copies must be delivered to courtroom 15-D upon filing. The parties must also exchange proposed exhibits at least 14 days prior to trial. List of exhibits are by title of document identified by a number for Plaintiff and a letter for Defendant with multiple plaintiffs or defendants using an appropriate identifier. Courtesy copies of exhibits must be provided to the Court prior to the start of trial.