Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Supreme Court Seeks Comments on Proposed Rule Changes

The Ohio Supreme Court will accept public comments until October 16 on amendments to the annual update to the Rules of Practice and Procedure and to the Ohio Traffic Rules.

The proposed amendments to the Rules of Practice and Procedure concern changes to the rules of appellate procedure, civil procedure, criminal procedure, juvenile procedure and the Ohio Rules of Evidence. Many of the proposed changes would make simple clarifications, target inconsistencies, or account for renumbering of rules. There are, however, a few substantive changes to existing rules.

  • Proposed amendments to Civ.R. 10 and Evid.R. 601 seek to enhance the affidavit of merit requirement and clarify who qualifies as an expert in a medical claim. The amendments distinguish between medical malpractice cases and other medical, dental, optometric or chiropractic claims. An amendment to Evid.R. 601 would require experts to have devoted three-quarters of their professional time to active clinical practice at the time of the event giving rise to the claim. (These proposed amendments were part of the Rules of Practice and Procedure package last year, but interested parties made clear that their support hinged on simultaneous adoption of legislation to curtail naming numerous defendants initially in a lawsuit but dismissing them later.)
  • Proposed amendments to Crim.R. 41 address issuing and executing tracking-device search warrants. According to Jo Ellen Cline, Supreme Court government relations counsel, law enforcement officers currently have three days to complete a search with no differentiation made between a search warrant for property and the installation of a tracking device. The ability to install the tracking device within the time limit proved difficult if no opportunities arose for law enforcement to do it safely and secretly. The proposed amendments are designed to give law enforcement greater flexibility while protecting individuals’ rights.
  • Proposed amendments to Civ.R. 53 respond to concerns raised in two appeals court cases about magistrates conducting civil jury trials. Under the proposed amendment, orders, decisions, and objections during magistrate jury trials would be exempt from current rule requirements and new procedures put into place.

The traffic rule amendment would clarify that a defendant’s signature isn’t necessary on an electronically produced ticket.

  • Traf.R. 3 would facilitate the use of electronic tickets by law enforcement. Cline said the current rule is unclear as to the signature requirements of both the defendant and the law enforcement officer who issued the electronic ticket. The proposed amendment also notes that the same rights, responsibilities, and liabilities apply to an officer who signs a ticket electronically as to paper tickets.

According to the Ohio Constitution, proposed amendments to Rules of Practice and Procedure must be filed with the General Assembly. The Supreme Court can revise and file the amendments with the General Assembly before May 1, 2014. The amendments would take effect on July 1, 2014, unless before that date the General Assembly adopts a concurrent resolution of disapproval. Because the Ohio Rules of Traffic are adopted by the court pursuant to statutory authority, the amendment to Traf.R. 3 is not required to be filed with the General Assembly. The amendments are being published simultaneously to the proposed amendments to the Rules of Practice and Procedure because they were recommended to the court by the Commission on the Rules of Practice and Procedure concurrently; however, the court may adopt the amendments to Traf.R. 3 before July 2014.

Publication of the proposed amendments to Rules of Practice and Procedure for public comment at this time does not imply that the Supreme Court endorses or will approve for filing with the General Assembly any or all of the proposed amendments.

Access the text of the proposed Rules of Practice and Procedure amendments.

Access the text of the proposed Ohio Traffic Rules amendment.

Comments should be submitted in writing to:

Jo Ellen Cline
65 S. Front St., Seventh Floor
Columbus, Ohio 43215

Access the complete text of the administrative action announcing the proposed changes.

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