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Judge Michael J. Russo

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(216) 348-4037
Mary Pat Smith
(216) 443-8757
Courtroom Assistant:
Michael Brady, Sr.
(216) 348-4020
Staff Attorney:
Kendra N. Davitt
(216) 443-8591
On Common Pleas
Bench Since:
Admitted to Bar:
High School:

B.A., University of Dallas - Magna Cum Laude, 1978, M.A., Old Dominion University, 1980
Law School:
Cleveland State University, Cleveland-Marshall college of Law, 1985
Legal Experience:
1986-1990 Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor, Assigned to the Criminal Division; 1990-2002 Attorney at Ulmer & Berne LLP in Litigation Department.

General:All court dates are conducted in person unless prior arrangements have been made with the staff attorney. The Court will be knowledgeable about the case and prepared to discuss all aspects of the case at any Court date; the same is expected from counsel. Pro se litigants are presumed to know the law and correct procedure and will be held to the same standard as a licensed attorney. ADR is encouraged by the Court when appropriate.

Pre-Trials: Generally, the parties are not required to be present at any pre-trial. Counsel may request an order requiring the attendance of any party at any court date. Any court date or deadline may be reset by contacting the staff attorney with three mutually-agreeable alternative dates, a motion is not required unless the parties do not agree to the continuance. Pre-trial statements are not required, however, a final pre-trial statement must be filed with the Court in advance of the final-pretrial.

Motion Practice: Oral hearing on any motion may be requested, the Court may set oral hearings on motions at its discretion. All motions for summary judgment must be supported by competent, admissible evidence as contemplated by the Civil Rules of Procedure. Objections and replies to motions for summary judgment are to be filed pursuant to local rule. On all other motions reply briefs are permitted only with leave of Court. The Court allows a 30-day period for objections to all other dispositive motions and 14-day period for objections to all other motions. When requesting leave to file any motion or other document instanter, the subject filing of the motion for leave must be filed and docketed separately from the motion itself or it will not be considered by the Court.

Discovery: Discovery deadlines may be extended with permission of the Court. Disputes should be worked out among the parties. The parties should notify the Court immediately of any discovery dispute that cannot be resolved by the parties, including those that occur during deposition.

Settlement Conference: Lead counsel must be present at any settlement conference and the final pre-trial. If lead counsel does not have settlement authority, the parties must be available by phone or present in person at the settlement conference. Counsel, clients, and adjusters who reside out of town may participate by phone unless required to attend pursuant to Court order. A statement of the case, similar to a final pre-trial statement, must be filed with the Court in advance of the settlement conference.

Calendaring and Continuances: If all parties are in agreement that any pre-trial, settlement conference, or court deadline should be reset, a motion is not needed. The parties may contact the staff attorney with three mutually-agreeable alternative dates. If the parties dispute the need to reset a court date or deadline, a motion must be filed. Continuances of trial will not be considered without a filed motion.

Trials: Generally begin at 10:00 a.m. Trial briefs; joint jury instructions; verdict forms agreed upon by counsel; witness lists; exhibit lists; and motions in limine are to be filed and copies delivered to the courtroom or staff attorney at least two weeks prior to trial. Prior to the start of jury selection, the parties are to deliver to the Court or the staff attorney a brief agreed-to statement of the case to be read to the prospective jurors as contemplated by Civ.R . 47(A).

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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