July 1, 2020
The Ohio Supreme Court recently amended the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure that will have an impact on your litigation practices and procedures in several important ways. The following changes are effective July 1, 2020:
· Plaintiffs can request defendants to waive service of summons:
o Rule 4.7 now provides the defendant with a duty to avoid unnecessary costs of serving a summons. Plaintiff can notify the defendant a lawsuit was commenced and request that defendant waive service of summons. Defendants must return the waiver of service within 28 days. If a defendant fails to waive service, the court can require the defendant to pay reasonable expenses, including the cost of service and attorney fees. If a defendant waives service, they have 60 days to answer a complaint.
o The waiver of service of summons provision only applies to suit filed in Common Pleas Courts.
o Waiving service of summons does not act to waive objections to jurisdiction or venue.
· Pretrial procedures are changing to streamline litigation:
o Rule 16 now models the federal rule, while still allowing courts to decide to schedule a scheduling conference. Courts should attempt to abide by schedules agreed upon by the parties in a Civ.R. 26(F) scheduling conference.
o Scheduling conferences are not required but scheduling orders must be issued by the court.
o Scheduling orders should be issued within 90 days after any defendant has been served, not all defendants must be served before a court can enter a scheduling order.
o Represented parties must authorize an attorney to make stipulations and admissions to reasonable anticipated matters at a pre-trial conference. The court may require attendance to consider settlement.
· The general provisions governing discovery are changing in important ways:
o Rule 26 emphasizes the importance of proportionality of discovery requests and the responsibility of the parties and the court to consider proportionality of all discovery in discovery disputes.
o Parties must now make initial disclosures without waiting for discovery requests. The initial disclosures must be made no later than the first pre-trial, case management conference, or other date established by the court.
o The court should consider proportionality when determining whether electronically stored information that is not easily accessed should be produced upon good cause.
o Courts have the authority to modify the frequency and extent of discovery.
o Experts must provide a written report that produces all opinions and reasons for the opinions. But medical providers can testify based on medical records without creating a separate report.
o Parties must conduct a scheduling conference 21 days before a scheduling hearing date to consider: possibilities of settling, disclosures, preserving discoverable information, and developing discovery plan.
· Magistrates can now conduct all civil trials:
o Ohio magistrates can conduct civil trials upon consent of all parties, entry of judgement must still be made by the trial court. Original trial judge cannot review magistrates ruling or a jury’s findings.
o Objections cannot be made on the findings of a jury or motions by magistrate except on appeal.
Our Commitment to You
RCO Law will support you through these changes. Our attorneys provide practical and straightforward legal advice on how these amendments may impact your litigation risks. Our Litigation team focuses on sharing our best practices and sound advice so that you effectively integrate the rule amendments into your practices and procedures. If you have questions, please contact us.
James E. Brazeau
Kayla L. Henderson
Jean Ann S. Sieler
Corey L. Tomlinson
Robert C. Tucker
Julia Smith Wiley
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