RULE No. 16.1 – PRETRIAL CONFERENCES

(A) Exceptions.

A pretrial conference may be held in a civil case. Pre-trials may not be held by phone unless expressly permitted by the Judge or Magistrate.

(B) Continuances.

The attorney(s) who will actually handle the trial of a case shall attend all pretrial conferences unless excused by the judge or magistrate presiding. Continuances may be granted only by the judge or magistrate scheduled to preside at the pretrial conference. No continuance of trial will be granted on the grounds that the trial attorney is not prepared to go forward if he has failed to attend the pretrial conference.

(C) Parties To Be Present.

All parties in interest must be present at the pretrial conference, unless excused by the judge or magistrate presiding. If any claim for relief by any party is covered in whole or in part by insurance, a representative of the insurance company or carrier, authorized to handle the claim(s) for relief in controversy must be present at the pretrial conference, unless otherwise ordered by the judge or magistrate. If a claim for relief against any party is fully covered by insurance, that party’s presence at the pretrial conference is not required unless otherwise ordered by the Court.

(D) Attorney Preparation.

At pretrial conferences, attorneys for all parties should be prepared to:

(1) Freely discuss the factual and legal theories of the case;

(2) Discuss the necessity or desirability of amendments to any pleadings, or the filing of any additional pleadings;

(3) Discuss simplification of the issues;

(4) Make admissions as to the facts and the genuineness of documents and other exhibits which are not in dispute;

(5) Eliminate parties unnecessary to the case;

(6) Give the names of witnesses whom they intend to call and state the general nature of their testimony. If the court so orders, counsel shall not be permitted to call additional witnesses at the trial, except rebuttal witnesses, unless the names and addresses of said witnesses and the general nature of their testimony are furnished in writing to other counsel of record at least two (2) days before trial, or upon leave of court at the trial for good cause shown;

(7) Give the number and nature of exhibits to be introduced and, if required by the court, produce the exhibits for examination by the court or parties;

(8) Furnish an itemized list of special damages and expenses, and a full description of the nature of any injuries for which compensation is claimed;

(9) Give the names, addresses and specialties of any anticipated expert witnesses;

(10) Exchange reports of any expert witnesses expected to be called by the parties;

(11) Exchange medical reports and hospital records;

(12) Discuss limitations on the number of expert witnesses;

(13) Produce information relative to insurance agreements, in accordance with Civ. R. 26(B)(2);

(14) Discuss the necessity of supplementing interrogatory answers or other previous discovery;

(15) Discuss procedures and time limitations for the completion of any further anticipated discovery;

(16) Discuss whether a view of the premises is appropriate or necessary;

(17) Discuss the possibility of consolidation of cases for trial;

(18) Consider the possibility of separation of issues (if any) for determination by or to the court, or to the jury, and separate determination of the issues of liability and damages;

(19) Submit and consider authorities on unique or controverted issues, or guarantee their submittal at least two (2) working days prior to trial;

(20) Fully explore and be authorized to conclude settlement;

(21) Discuss any other matters that may expedite the trial or disposition of the case.

(E) Pre-Trial Statements.

All parties, prior to a scheduled pre-trial, shall file a pre-trial statement with the Court containing:

(1) a brief statement of the facts;

(2) issues of fact;

(3) issues of law;

(4) a list of witnesses;

(5) a list of exhibits;

(6) possible stipulations; and

(7) the status of discovery.

(F) Motions.

The court may decide or take under consideration for decision, any motions ending the case at the time of the pretrial conference.

(G) Sanctions for failure to appear.

Provided that notice has been given, either by reference to this rule in the notice of pretrial conference or otherwise, the judge or magistrate may:

(1) upon failure of plaintiff and counsel to appear in person at pretrial, dismiss the claim for want of prosecution;

(2) upon failure of defendant and counsel to appear in person, allow plaintiff to proceed with the case on the merits ex parte; and

(3) strike, as waived, a jury demand filed by a non-appearing party.

(H) Pretrial Discovery.

The parties shall make reasonable efforts to complete documentary discovery by the time of the first pretrial conference. The court may disallow further discovery at the pretrial conference or set the case for trial without an additional pretrial conference although further discovery may be permitted.

(I) Failure to Comply.

Failure of an attorney to be prepared for the pretrial conference, failure of an attorney or party to appear, or to cooperate in good faith in the conduct of the pretrial conference, shall subject said attorney or party, in the discretion of the judge or magistrate, to sanctions as provided by Rule 37 of the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure, including an award of expenses and/or attorney fees to any party prejudiced by said failure. In addition, the Court shall have the authority to dismiss an action for failure on the part of the plaintiff or plaintiff’s counsel to comply with this rule and shall have the authority to proceed with all or any portion of the case and to decide and determine any or all matters ex parte upon failure of the defendant to appear in person or by counsel at pretrial conference in accordance herewith.

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