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The Seventh District Court of Appeals is accepting comments on proposed changes to its Local Rules with the addition of Local Rule VIII:  Prehearing Conference and Meditation.  Please send your comments to:


Robert Budinsky, Court Administrator

Seventh District Court of Appeals

131 West Federal Street

Youngstown, Ohio 44503


or e-mail the Court at


The deadline to receive public comment is October 21, 2015The new rule will be effective November 1, 2015.




Pursuant to App. R. 41 and App.R. 20, this Court hereby adopts the following prehearing and mediation conference procedure, applicable only to civil appeals and ori­ginal actions filed in this court.


(A)  Requesting and Scheduling a Prehearing Conference.


(1) The court shall review the docketing statement filed pursuant to Loc. R. VII to determine whether a prehear­ing conference under Ohio Appellate Rule 20 would be of assistance to the parties or the court, and if mediation will be part of the prehearing conference.


(2) If an appeal or original action is selected for conference and/or mediation, the Court conferencing attorney shall notify the parties of the date, time and location of the prehearing conference.  A minimum notice of ten (10) calendar days shall be provided from the date that the notice of conference schedule is mailed.


(3) In addition, any party may request a prehearing conference or mediation by contacting the court conferencing attorney by phone, email, or fax, or by filing a notice with the court.  Such requests may be made confidentially if the requesting party desires.  Such requests shall be submitted as soon as possible after initiation of the appeal or original action, generally within ten (10) days from the date the appeal or original action is filed.  Re­quests for a prehearing mediation conference may or may not be granted by the court.


(B)  Purposes and Procedure of Prehearing Mediation Conference.


(1) The pri­mary purposes of the prehear­ing mediation conference are: (1) to explore settlement possi­bilities through mediation, (2) to simplify the issues in the appeal or original action if set­tle­ment is not possible, and (3) to address any anticipated procedural problems.  Addi­tionally, any other matters that the conference attorney determines may aid in handling the disposition of the proceedings will be considered.


(2) The prehearing conference shall be held with the court’s conferencing attorney.  Conferences conducted in person shall be subject to the attendance requirements of Section (C) of this rule. Follow­-up conferences may be con­ducted, either in per­son or by telephone, as directed by the court.


(3) The scheduling of a prehearing conference does not stay the time for filing the record, transcript of proceedings, or briefs.  If a prehearing conference is scheduled, any party may request an extension of time by phoning the conference attorney, or making an oral or written request at the conference, and one (1) limited 21-day extension shall normally be granted if requested.  Any other requests for extensions of time shall be by motion filed with the court.  Generally, no more than one (1) extension shall be granted, unless such an extension will facilitate settlement.  In all cases, requests for extensions of time must be made prior to the time sought be extended.


(C)  Attendance.  Unless otherwise instructed by the court, the following persons shall attend the prehearing mediation conference in person: counsel; the parties necessary for full settlement authority including insurance adjustors; and litigants not represented by counsel. "Counsel," for purposes of this rule, means the attorney with primary responsibility for the case and upon whose advice the party relies. Persons excused in advance by the court from attending in person shall be available by telephone during the scheduled conference.


(E)  Privilege and Confidentiality.  The privilege provisions of the Uniform Mediation Act, R.C. Chapter 2710, apply to all mediation conferences and communications.  Mediation communications shall be privileged and therefore shall not be disclosed by the conference attorney or by the parties and shall not be used by the parties when presenting or arguing the case.


(F)  Mediation Information Form.  If a case is selected for a preconference hearing that involves mediation, the parties shall deliver to the conferencing attorney a confidential mediation information form provided by the Court.  This form shall not be delivered or disclosed to any other party in the case, and shall not be filed with the court, but shall be delivered directly to the conferencing attorney by mail, fax, or email.


(F)  Prehearing Mediation Conference Order.  At the conclusion of the prehearing mediation conference, the Court, upon recommendation of the conference attorney, may enter an order setting forth the actions taken based on the agreements reached by the parties.  Such order shall govern the subsequent course of proceedings, unless modified by the Court.


(G)  Noncompliance Sanctions.  Failure to comply with the provisions of this rule or any order of the court relating to a prehearing mediation conference may re­sult in dismissal of the proceeding or an assessment of such costs as may be attributable to noncompliance including, but not limited to, attor­ney fees and court costs.


[Adopted effective 11-1-2015]


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