Common Pleas Court Judges
Judge Janet R. Burnside
Acting Judge, Cleveland Heights Municipal Court (1985-1991), Private Practice, Greene & Hennenberg, (1978-1991)
Counsel appearing in court must have knowledge of case. Court conferences may be conducted by telephone upon request. Court encourages arbitration and mediation.
Pretrials, instead of case management conferences, are conducted. Judge will handle all pretrials and final pretrials when available. Deadlines, merits, procedural issues, and settlement discussed during pretrials. Pretrial and final pretrial statements are not required. Clients generally not required for pretrial or final pretrial conferences; parties may request an order requiring their attendance, however.
Extra copies of filings should not be delivered to Judge or staff attorney. Parties may "walk thru" filed-stamped originals to ensure they are received in chambers. Oral arguments may be granted upon request. Reply and surreply briefs may be submitted on complex issues with leave of Court. Replies on summary judgment motions do not require leave. Motions in limine should be submitted in writing. Amended complaints and answers to be filed separately from motion for leave to amend so that both the motion for leave and the pleading are docketed separately.
Consumer Debt Cases
Motions for summary judgment (or for default) may not attach each monthly billing statement for the credit account unless the statements are (1) properly authenticated; (2) relevant to this particular case; (3) specifically and individually identified and marked; and (4) absolutely necessary. This Court can imagine no credit card account for which a copy of each monthly billing statement issued in the account is relevant or necessary to an action on account under Ohio law. Such duplicative exhibits burden the Clerk’s office and the Court without justification. Non-complying motions will be stricken from the record and a trial date issued. Consent entries and proposed entries may not include post-judgment interest as part of the amount of judgment. Entries that include post-judgment "together with" the judgment amount or otherwise include interest in the judgment amount will not be accepted.
Discovery deadlines are generally not set unless specifically requested by parties. Discovery disputes may be discussed with the Court by telephone, including during depositions.
Conducted as scheduled or upon request. Judge takes active role in settlement discussions. Lead counsel must be present; if lead counsel does not have settlement authority, the parties or individuals with settlement authority to be present or available by phone. Counsel, clients, and adjusters who reside out of town may participate by phone.
Calendaring and Continuances
Motions not needed. To continue a court date, assuming opposing counsel is cooperative, parties to contact the staff attorney with three mutually agreeable dates for the rescheduled court date. The Court will promptly pick from one of the proffered dates and reschedule. Same procedure for changing deadlines previously set.
Trial briefs, case-specific jury instructions and interrogatories permitted, but not required, and can be emailed in WORD format to the staff attorney. Witness and exhibit lists and motions in limine to be filed at least 14 days before trial. Parties are to mark and exchange exhibits before trial, but exhibits should not be filed or delivered to the Court prior to trial.
Voir dire by Judge, supplemented by attorneys with brief, open-ended questions; no "promise questions" permitted. Struck method of jury selection is used (explanatory sheet is available in chambers). Jurors permitted to take notes and to ask questions in writing submitted to Judge and counsel.
Permits video depositions of witnesses, but prefers live witnesses; with prior notice, live trial testimony may be taken from witness in remote location using 12th floor conference room, in courtrooms with these technological capabilities, or with the Court’s mobile video conferencing equipment. Doesn't require index of objections; Court rules on objections during trial. Exhibits may be used during opening statement. Others allowed to sit at trial table. Expert witnesses may be permitted to hear trial testimony even with separation of witnesses. Exhibits may be published to jury during trial. Court will allow attorneys to speak with jury after case. Stand while addressing the Court and examining witnesses. Less experienced attorneys are encouraged to seek the advice and help of experienced counsel or ask the Judge or staff attorney.