Yet another reminder: The mandatory nature of the Ohio Supreme Court’s Rules of Practice  

In Ohio state-court litigation, most timing deadlines are not automatic and can be “finessed” if need be (aside from the mandatory 30-day time period to file a notice of appeal).

The Ohio Supreme Court, however, treats most of the timing rules in the Ohio Supreme Court Rules of Practice as dispositive of the issue presented.

What you need to know about timing rules

Some of these have been long known. The Rules of Practice state in numerous locations that the Clerk “shall refuse” to file untimely:

  • Pro Hac Vice motions (S.Ct.Prac.R. 2.02(C))
  • Documents in general (S.Ct.Prac.R. 3.02(B))
  • Improper requests for extensions of time (S.Ct.Prac.R. 3.03(B))
  • Corrected documents (S.Ct.Prac.R. 3.13(B))
  • Notices of appeal (S.Ct.Prac.R. 6.01(A)(3))
  • Memoranda In Support of Jurisdiction (S.Ct.Prac.R. 7.01(A)(1))
  • Amicus Filings In Support of Jurisdiction (S.Ct.Prac.R. 7.06(B)(3))
  • Notices of Certified Conflicts (S.Ct.Prac.R. 8.01(D))
  • Responses to Complaints in Original Actions (S.Ct.Prac.R. 12.04(B)(4))
  • Amicus Briefs (S.Ct.Prac.R. 16.06(C))
  • Motions for Reconsideration (S.Ct.Prac.R. 18.02(D))

In short, on most occasions when an untimely filing is received, the party becomes aware because the Clerk rejects it. So it is a pretty good signal that if the filing is accepted, it is timely, right?

Not exactly.

The impact of untimely filings

In Hicks v. Union Township (Case No. 2023-0580), oral argument was scheduled for December 13, 2023. On November 29, 2023 (14 full calendar days before oral argument), the appellant and an amicus filed a joint motion to share oral argument time. The clerk accepted the motion.

However, the next day the Supreme Court issued an order denying the motion pursuant to S.Ct.Prac.R. 17.06(B). That rule states that:

A motion of amicus curiae for leave to participate in oral argument shall be filed at least fifteen days before the date scheduled for oral argument.

The motion for the amicus to participate in oral argument was one day late. Even though the motion was accepted by the Clerk, the Supreme Court considered the time requirement mandatory and denied the motion, without waiting for the opposing party to respond.

You may make the argument that this was filed on the fifteenth day – but the rule says “at least fifteen days,” which means the Court requires that there be fifteen days between the motion and oral argument.

Key takeaways

The lessons here are twofold:

  • First, just because the Clerk accepts a motion does not mean that it is timely.
  • Second, the Supreme Court will consider the timing requirements as mandatory for its motion practice.

Leave nothing to chance. File earlier than you think is required.