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December 28, 2010 - Updated Android App Now Available

The Court's Android App has been updated for 2011.  You can visit the Court App page to download the new version.

 

November 12, 2010 - Local Rules - Filing and Orders

After a brief blogging absence, I want to return to the Court's Local Rules to address two issues, one that is mentioned in the Rules and one that is not.

Local Rule 1.1 addresses the filing of documents with the Court.  It states that "documents required to be filed in this court shall be filed with the clerk of the court of appeals of the county in which the appeal or original action originated."  It concludes that documents sent to the Court at its headquarters in Akron are not considered filed.  We rarely see documents filed in the wrong county.  This Rule makes clear what is generally understood - documents must be filed in the County where the case originated.

More often, we receive documents at the main office that are mailed here to be filed.  As Local Rule 1.1 states, these documents are not considered filed.  I think this usually happens because someone accidentally selects the Court's headquarters' address for mailing instead of the address for the correct clerk of courts.  This is a gentle reminder to take care when selecting the address for mailing to make sure your documents are filed.

This brings me to the other issue I am thinking about today, one that is not covered in this Court's Local Rules - the Court's orders.  Unlike some courts, this Court does not require parties to prepare an order for the Court.  For example, Local Rule 2(D) of the Fifth District Court of Appeals states that "[a]ll motions shall be submitted for filing accompanied by a proposed judgment entry suitable for use if the motion is granted."

This Court's practice for many years has been to prepare its own orders and I do not imagine this will change any time soon.  Proposed orders submitted with a motion are not used.  This Court prepares every order, so parties do not need to spend the time and money to draft and submit a proposed order.

 

October 4, 2010 - Ohio Supreme Court Proposed Rule Changes

The Ohio Supreme Court announced several proposed changes to the Ohio Rules of Appellate Procedure.  Among other things, these changes would address what should happen if an appeal is filed while there are certain post-judgment motions still to be ruled on by the trial court.  You can read the proposed Rule changes here.

 

September 13, 2010 - The Ninth District App

Over the last few years, this Court has embraced technology.  The judges have wireless access throughout the Akron office and on the bench in Summit County.  All of the judges have laptops and smart phones.  They can connect to the Court's servers remotely through a secure VPN from anywhere with an internet connection.

As technology has evolved, the Court has tried to keep in step.  Last year, the Court joined Twitter, and we tweet about oral argument schedules, court news, and updates.  Earlier this year, we added this blog.  We now take one more step by offering the Court's first app.

The app is available for Android-based smart phones.  It offers contact information for the Court; driving directions to Lorain, Medina, Summit, and Wayne Counties using Google Maps on the phone; contact numbers for the clerks of court (with one-touch dialing); and links to the Court's website, the Court's Local Rules, the Ohio Supreme Court's website, this Court's decisions posted on the Supreme Court website, and the websites for the clerks of court.

The app is a work-in-progress.  Although it has been tested, tweaked, and modified, there may still be bugs, so please let us know if you encounter any problems.  More importantly, please let us know if you think of something else you would like to see added.  The purpose of this app is to help the attorneys and parties who appear before this Court, so if there is anything that can be done to improve it, please send an email to app@ninth.courts.state.oh.us.

To download the app to your phone, please visit our App Download page.

We hope you find this to be useful.  I look forward to your feedback, both positive and negative, so that we can make it even better.

Finally, because I know some of you are probably already wondering, we do not have plans to make an iPhone app.  Once our app development team (also known as the blogger) learns how to create iPhone software, we will look to expand.  For now, however, we can only offer this Android-based app.

 

August 19, 2010 – The Court’s Local Rules - The Appendix

Another amendment to the Local Rules this year clarified what should be, and should not be, included in the appendix to a brief.  Local Rule 7(B)(9)(a) states what must be included in the appendix:

1.  the judgment entry appealed from;

2.   any opinion of the court announcing the decision reflected by the judgment entry appealed from;

3.  any written findings of fact and conclusions of law in the record on appeal;

4.  all magistrate reports containing findings of fact and recommendations which are partially or totally adopted by the court in its final order; and

5.  if it would aid the judges' understanding of an issue on appeal, a map or diagram that was properly admitted into evidence and made a part of the trial court record, may be included.

The first four items in this list are related - the appendix must include the order appealed and any opinion that explains the order, findings of fact and conclusions of law related to the order, and a  magistrate's decision which was adopted by the trial court in the order appealed.  The final item, a map or diagram, is intended to allow the advocate to provide a visual aid to assist with the written and oral argument.  For example, a map could be helpful in a boundary dispute to provide context for the written argument.  Likewise, a diagram of a piece of equipment, a building, or an intersection, could assist the reader in understanding the argument.  The only limitation is that the item attached must have been introduced in the trial court; a party cannot create something solely for purposes of appeal and attach it to the brief.

Local Rule 7(B)(9)(c) also directs that certain items should not be included in the appendix:  unreported and unpublished cases, statutes, rules, regulations, ordinances, and constitutional provisions.  The judges have ready access to all of these materials, so there is no need to reproduce them in the appendix.  It also avoids another frequent occurrence - a party quotes a rule or statute in the brief and then attaches a copy in the appendix.  The Local Rule recognizes that there is no need for this duplication.  Eliminating these unnecessary items from the appendix also saves the costs of compiling, organizing, and copying them, as well as the cost of additional postage for serving heavier briefs.

To summarize, the appendix must include a copy of the order appealed, and related orders, as outlined in the Rule.  The appendix should not include copies of cases, statutes of any kind, rules, or constitutional provisions.

 

August 6, 2010 – The Court’s Local Rules 

Today, we begin a series about the Court’s Local Rules.  The goal is to provide practitioners and parties with information about the Local Rules and how the Court applies them.  Oral argument can be an important part of the appellate process, so we will start there.

The Court modified its Local Rule about scheduling oral argument earlier this year.  Under the prior Local Rule, every appeal was set for oral argument and the parties could waive it.  Because the parties are in the best position to know whether oral argument is necessary, the modified Local Rule grants each party the ability to request oral argument.  If a party believes oral argument is necessary, the party need only file a written request for oral argument.  If a party does not think that oral argument will assist the Court in understanding the issues, then the party need not file a request for oral argument.

The process for requesting oral argument is:

- an appellant may request oral argument by filing a written request by the time Appellant’s Reply Brief is due to be filed.

- an appellee may request and present oral argument by filing a written request within ten days after Appellant’s Reply Brief is due to be filed.

The request must be in writing and must be filed with the clerk of court.  The request should not be included in the appellate brief – it must be filed as a separate pleading.  The form included as an appendix to the Local Rules may be used for this purpose (you can find it here).

Each party who wants to present oral argument must file a request.  In other words, if the appellant files a request for oral argument, that request does not also mean that the appellee will be able to present oral argument; the appellee must also file a written request for oral argument.  Think of it this way – the request is for that party to present oral argument, not for all parties to the appeal to present oral argument.  An appellant may believe that oral argument is critical, while the appellee is willing to rely on its brief, and the appellant’s request for oral argument will not require both parties to appear.

Even if the parties do not request oral argument, the Court may schedule an appeal for oral argument at which all parties to the case will have the opportunity to be heard.  For example, because of the time limits involved with expedited appeals, the Court may schedule a case that falls under Appellate Rule 11.2 for oral argument without waiting for a request from the parties.

 

July 23, 2010 - Meet the Blogger

Before moving too far along with the blog, I thought it would be a good idea to introduce myself, C. Michael Walsh, Magistrate and Court Administrator, as your lead blogger.  Although there will be many who offer their thoughts and insights in the future, I will serve as the primary blogger for the Court.  If you have questions or suggestions, please feel free to submit them to blog@ninth.courts.state.oh.us.

The Court hopes to provide many useful tips and websites that will be of interest to appellate practitioners.  Today's comes from Judge Dickinson, who suggested this page of tips from Justice Scalia and Bryan Garner as a resource for appellate advocates:  http://www.abanet.org/media/youraba/201005/article05.html.  Justice Scalia and Mr. Garner co-authored Making Your Case:  The Art of Persuading Judges.  There is an important caveat to mentioning this book and website - in part, their book advocates placing citations in footnotes rather than in the body of the brief.  This Court has rejected the use of footnotes for this purpose.  Ninth District Local Rule 7(A)(5) states that footnotes should be limited to information that supplements the text, but would be distracting in the body of the brief.

 

July 2010

Welcome to the Ninth District Court of Appeals’ blog.  This presents another opportunity to use technology to communicate with those who appear, or may appear, before the Court, as well as anybody interested in appellate advocacy and the courts.

There are countless blogs available offering a wide range of information.  Law-related blogs deliver important news and generate thoughtful discussions.  The Judges hope this blog will serve as a valuable resource as they share their thoughts and the Court provides timely and valuable information to readers.

 

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