Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Chief Justice Issues Tolling Guidance for Supreme Court Matters

As the coronavirus crisis continues, Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor issued further rules guidance today, limited to matters filed in the Supreme Court of Ohio.

The chief justice declared that the Rules of Practice of the Supreme Court will be reinstated for the Court on April 21.

Today’s order is separate from an order issued March 27 and which remains in place for all lower courts. That order tolls all time requirements imposed on lower courts by Supreme Court rules and was placed in force retroactively to March 9 through the expiration of the state’s coronavirus emergency period or July 30, whichever comes sooner.

“There are many factors that set apart the Supreme Court, so I want the entire timing issue to be clear to everyone by issuing this order today,” Chief Justice O’Connor said.

“Our Court has the ability and obligation to continue hearing and considering cases and issuing decisions during this emergency period,” she said. “For the most part, when a case reaches the Supreme Court, the parties have been in litigation for years, so it is imperative that the Court decide those cases so that the parties can move forward.”

The new order for the Supreme Court takes effect April 21 and also expires either when the state’s emergency period ends or July 30, whichever comes first. It supersedes the March 27 order only as it applies to the time requirements prescribed by the Rules of Practice of the Supreme Court.

The chief justice pointed out that the Supreme Court’s oral arguments and conferencing of cases has been modified to provide limited personal interaction between the justices and employees of the Court, attorneys, parties, and the public.

The Court uses videoconferencing and other technologies that comply with social distancing and stay-at-home requirements.

One notable example is the e-filing of documents. The Court’s e-filing portal accounted for 67% of all filings last year and 92% of attorney filings. Parties unable to e-file can maintain social distancing by filing paper documents through a delivery service, the U.S. mail, or in person at the Clerk’s office.

The new time requirement order covers:

  • For any document filed between March 9 and April 21, and for which a time requirement had expired during that period, the document is deemed properly filed.
  • For any document that has not been filed and for which a time requirement would have expired between March 9 and April 21 – but for the March 27 order -- the party must file the document within 30 days of the new order.  A party that fails that requirement may file a motion for leave to file “out of time,” and the Clerk must accept the motion if the delay in filing is due to the Covid-19 emergency and the motion explicitly says that is the case.
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