Common Pleas Court Judges
Judge Nancy Margaret Russo
Deena M. Lucci
Lauren D. Bailey
Health care; white-collar crime and insurance law, general practice. Former certified Juvenile and Domestic GAD.
General: The Court will not entertain telephone request for any purpose. All requests must be made in the form of a motion, served on opposing counsel, and delivered to the Court on the date of filing. Also, please note parties/counsel are not permitted to extend or change dates by stipulation or agreement. Any continuances or attempts to reschedule made by parties/counsel, without a Court ruling, are null and void.
- Counsel for Plaintiff(s) shall inform all opposing counsel and/or pro se parties of the date and time of the Pretrial Case Management Conference. Counsel for all parties are required to be present in person and to be familiar with the underlying facts of the case. Parties not represented by counsel shall likewise be present in person.
- Failure of any of the aforementioned persons to appear at any scheduled event during the pendency of this case may result in dismissal with prejudice for failure to prosecute and/or judgment being rendered.
- If a continuance is sought for any reason, the appropriate motion must be filed, no less than seven days before the scheduled event, and the Court provided with a courtesy copy on the date of filing.
- Do not call the Court to request a continuance. No consideration will be given to requests not made in writing, docketed and within the timeframe above, absent an emergency.
- The Court requires a courtesy copy of all pleadings in excess of 5 pages, to be hand-delivered to the Court. E-filing does not constitute a courtesy copy. Pleading 5 pages or less in length may be faxed to the Court at 216-348-4036. Pleadings of 5 pages or less that are e-filed do not need to be faxed of delivered to the Court.
- Failure to comply with any portion of the Court’s Standing Orders, including this Order, may result in a Dismissal Without Prejudice.
- Attendance at Settlement Conferences and Final Pretrials: In the absence of prior Court approval, the following persons must be personally present with full settlement authority at the settlement conference, final pretrial, and one-half hour before the trial for a final settlement conference: all counsel of record, all named parties and insureds, adjustors and representatives. If a party is a corporation or governmental entity, the representative of that corporation or entity (other than counsel of record) with full settlement authority (authority to settle up to the demand submitted by the plaintiff in his/her demand letter (see Paragraph 2 below for a description of demand letters). If any party requires approval by an insurer or another to settle, then the representative of the insurer, or the person whose approval is needed, must be present with full settlement authority. Named insureds must be present, regardless of any policy language that states their approval is not necessary. Failure to comply will result in dismissal, judgment or sanctions deemed appropriate by the Court. See Repp v. Horton (1974), 44 Ohio App. 2d. 63; See also Local Rule 21. The Court will consider requests for telephonic appearance only upon receipt of a written motion. Any such motion must be filed, supported by good cause shown, and delivered to the Court and opposing counsel no less than 14 days before the scheduled event.
- Exchange of Demand and Offer: Consideration of settlement is a serious matter, which warrants thorough preparation. The final pretrial is most likely to be productive if the parties have clearly communicated their settlement positions. Therefore, two weeks before the final pretrial, plaintiff's counsel is ordered to serve upon defendant(s) counsel, a letter which contains the following:
- a brief summary of the evidence and legal principles, which the plaintiff asserts supports the liability of the defendant(s);
- a brief explanation of why plaintiff will prevail at trial, and why damages or other relief will be awarded at the conclusion of trial;
- the settlement demand; and
- a brief explanation of the rationale behind the demand, including an itemization of damages.
One week before the Final Pretrial, Defendant(s) counsel is ordered to serve upon plaintiff(s) counsel, a responsive letter which states the following:
- any points in plaintiff(s) letter with which the defendant(s) agree;
- any points in plaintiff(s) letter with which the defendant(s) disagree;
- a settlement offer; and
- a brief explanation of the rationale behind the offer including an itemization for each component of damages identified by the plaintiff.
All counsel are ordered to provide the Court with copies of their respective letters four days before the final pretrial. Delivery may be made by fax (216-348-4036). Copies of these letters are not to be filed with the Clerk, as they are to be use solely to facilitated discussion and resolution of the case. The letters are inadmissible at trial.
- Procedure: The Court expects the attorneys, parties, adjustors, and party representatives to be fully prepared to participate in the final pretrial discussions. The Court encourages all parties to fairly assess their positions and explore creative means for resolving the case.
- Statements Inadmissible: The written exchanges, demand and offer, required by this order, and any statements made by any person during settlement discussions or the final pretrial, are not admissible at trial. The Court expects all persons to address each other with courtesy and respect, and also encourages a frank and honest discussion of the case, with a goal towards resolution.
- Issues for discussion at the final pretrial: All parties, representatives and counsel must be prepared to discuss:
- each party's objectives in the litigation;
- the issues requiring resolution;
- the strengths/weaknesses of each party's respective position;
- the points of agreement/disagreement among the parties; both factual and/or legal;
- impediments to settlement; and
- possible solutions for resolution of the case.
- Protective Orders/Motions to Quash: Consistent with the provisions of Civil Rule 26(C), any counsel seeking a protective order must first make a reasonable effort to resolved the matter with the attorney or unrepresented party seeking discovery. Any motion for protective order must also contain a statement reciting the efforts made to resolve the matter. Further, written motions for protective orders and/or motions to quash must be timely filed with a courtesy copy hand-delivered or faxed to the Court and opposing counsel during normal working hours, on the date of filing. Failure to fully comply may result in a denial of the motion and/or sanctions. The Court will endeavor to conduct a pretrial to resolve the matter within 48 hours of receipt.
- Stipulations: Consistent with the Civil Rules and Local Rule 8(C), this Court will not consider or sign stipulations for leave to plead for any matter other than for an initial leave to respond to a complaint or counterclaim.
- Dates for non-expert and expert discovery deadlines are set at the PT/CMC with all counsel present. Counsel may not stipulate to alter any deadline set by the Court.
- Settlement Conference: See above: 1) Attendance at Settlement Conferences and Final Pretrials.
- Dates for a settlement conference, final pretrial, and trial are set at the PT/CMC, with all counsel present. Counsel may not stipulate to alter any date or deadline set by the Court.
- Requests for a discovery extensions and requests for a continuance of a settlement conference or final pretrial, must be made by motion, supported by good cause shown, and filed and delivered to the Court and opposing counsel no less than 14 days before the deadline or scheduled event. Counsel may perfect this service by faxing a time-stamped copy of the motion to the Court (216-348-4036) and opposing counsel on the date of filing.
- Any request for a continuance of trial must be signed by the client, comply with Local Rule 17 and contain a copy of the postcard or docket setting any previously scheduled trial date. No continuance will be considered without this information.
- The Court will entertain oral motions for continuances, accelerations, or extensions only in the event of an emergency or exigent circumstance. The Court will not entertain motions to continue or excuse appearance not made in accordance with this order.
- Absent a ruling on any pending motion, all dates and orders remain as set.
- All named parties and counsel of record must be personally present for and throughout trial unless the Court has granted a written motion requesting the non-appearance of any counsel or party. Any such motion must be filed, supported by good cause shown, and delivered to the Court and opposing counsel no less than 7 days before the scheduled trial date. Delivery to the Court and opposing counsel may be made by fax. Additionally, the Court will conduct a settlement conference one-half hour before the trial. All parties, counsel, named insured, adjustors, and representatives are to be personally present with full settlement authority.
- Parties are to abide by the Court’s Standing Order contained herein and located below: