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Judge Hollie L. Gallagher

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(216) 348-4038
Michael D. Cook
(216) 443-8728
Courtroom Assistant:
Thomas Wiktorowski
(216) 348-4026
Staff Attorney:
Kristen L. Sobieski
(216) 443-8579
On Common Pleas
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General:All counsel are required to be punctual and prepared. The Court expects to move its docket quickly and efficiently with the goal of disposing of all cases within a year of filing. Pro se litigants are, by law, presumed to know the law and correct procedure (and must accept the results of their errors). The Court sits as an impartial arbitrator, and all litigants will be treated equally.

Case Management Conference: The staff attorney handles the case management conference, although the Judge is available as needed. At the case management conference, the parties should have their calendars present and be prepared to enter into a case management order regarding time frames for discovery, expert reports, dispositive motions, etc. All parties to a case are provided with final pre-trial and trial dates at the initial case management conference. Parties shall expect that, absent a conflict or a pre-trial settlement, trial will go forward on the trial date as scheduled. Parties shall contact the Court during the weeks preceding the final pre-trial and trial to keep the court apprized of potential conflicts or settlements. Counsel may participate in the case management conference by telephone with prior permission of the Court’s staff attorney given in at least seven days in advance of the CMC. An attorney requesting permission to attend a CMC by telephone must first confirm whether or not opposing counsel would also like to attend by telephone.

Default Judgements: Upon motion, a hearing date will be set for all default judgment motions. Once a defendant’s answer date has run, the moving party must move for default within fourteen days. Before the Court will consider awarding damages pursuant to a Motion for Default Judgment, Plaintiff must provide an affidavit with documentation of expenses/losses incurred as a result of the Defendant’s conduct. The Plaintiff is required to send written notice of the date and time of the hearing to the party against whom action is taken and shall provide the Court with proof that the notification letter was sent by virtue of a certified mail receipt and an affidavit of service via ordinary mail, and a proposed journal entry.

Pre-Trials: The Court will generally only set one final pre-trial prior to the trial date. The Court does not allow participation by phone. The purpose of the final pre-trial is to provide the Court with each side's assessment of the case and report the status of settlement discussions. Such discussions should be initiated by the attorneys before the final pre-trial so that the parties have the same expectations for the conference. Parties with full settlement authority must be present at the final pre-trial. The Court will use Business Mediation and Arbitration if counsel jointly feels appropriate.

Motion Practice: Motions in Limine must be in writing and submitted ten days before trial with responses due three days prior to trial. Following receipt of motion, the Judge will make timely rulings. The staff attorney will address scheduling conflicts, filing deadlines, pending motions and discovery disputes.

Discovery: The Court allows between ninety to one hundred and twenty days for fact discovery depending on the complexity of the case. The discovery schedule is set at the CMC. Attorneys are to make all reasonable efforts to settle discovery disputes before filing a Motion to Compel with the Court.

Discovery Disputes: Parties are required to contact the staff attorney prior to filing a Motion to Compel discovery. Parties will be provided a full opportunity to make a record of any perceived discovery violations. Parties may request a status conference with the Court or the Court's staff attorney to resolve any discovery disputes at any time. The parties must contact the Court prior to filing a motion to compel.

Settlement Conference: If the parties believe that settlement negotiations will be beneficial, at the parties' request, the Court will be active in the negotiation process. However, the Court will not play the role of a traditional mediator. With the consent of the parties, parties will be separated to discuss settlement of the case with the Court. However, the merits of the case will not be discussed. If the Court believes a resolution may be possible, the Court will assist both sides in determining a reasonable amount to aid the resolution of the case. Parties are expected to negotiate in good faith. Parties may request a settlement conference at any time, but must bring clients or adjusters with full settlement authority. Telephone appearances are not permitted without prior permission of the Court.

Calendaring and Continuances: All requests to extend discovery must be submitted by motion. A first continuance of a trial requires a motion with client approval. Last minute continuances will not be granted.

Trials: Seven days before trial, parties should file and provide the Court with a copy of trial briefs, witness lists, exhibit lists, and agreed-upon, case specific jury instructions. Any objections to the joint jury instructions must be submitted, in writing and with authority, three days prior to trial. Parties must also file an index of objections seven days prior to the trial. All objections to videotape/deposition testimony must be presented one week prior to trial with a copy of the transcripts and videotape. Attorneys may show exhibits by blow-up or overhead projectors. Jurors may be allowed to take notes. The Court does not impose an arbitrary time limit on voir dire, opening statement, or closing arguments, however, parties are expected to be concise. Judge Gallagher has one of two courtrooms in Cuyahoga County that has the following capabilities: video, video conferencing, power point, an Elmo projector, and the capacity to play DVD and VHS cassettes.

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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