This Court issues this Fourteenth General Order in response to the outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Ohio. This Order is to be read to modify the previous thirteen Orders issued by the Court.
There are multiple confirmed cases of COVID-19 throughout the United States, Ohio, and Clermont County. The Governor of the State of Ohio, Michael DeWine, has declared a state of emergency (Executive Order 2020-OID) which, among other restrictions, limits large indoor gatherings. The Governor’s Declaration follows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) “Interim Guidance,” recommending that all employers consider how best to decrease the spread of COVID-19, including the review of guidance from state and local health officials. Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), February 2020, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus2019-ncov/specific-groups/guidance-business-response.html (last updated February 26, 2020).
On March 22, 2020 then Ohio Director of Public Health, Dr. Amy Acton, issued a Stay at Home Order (Director’s Order that All Persons Stay at Home Unless Engaged in Essential Work or Activity). Dr. Acton’s Order placed additional restrictions on the public’s movement and association with others in the interest of preserving the public health. Following Dr. Acton’s Order, Governor DeWine issued a Shelter in Place Order to the public.
On April 27, 2020, Governor DeWine modified his previous Shelter in Place Order by easing restrictions on surgeries and certain consumer and retail services. The easing of many of the previously imposed restrictions began on May 4, 2020. Included in Governor DeWine’s Order were general safe business practices that all businesses must follow. http://www.governor.ohio.gov.
On May 26, 2020, Governor DeWine modified his previous orders by issuing an Order entitled Responsible Restart. The Order allows many businesses to reopen and imposed restrictions on how many individuals can be inside a business at one time. The Responsible Restart Order did not change the requirement that businesses require six feet of separation between patrons. It did not change the requirement that employees of businesses wear facial coverings.
Given the outbreak of cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and the severity of risk posed to the public, and given the CDC mandate and the Governor’s most recent declarations, and pursuant to a finding of good cause pursuant to O.R.C. § 2945.72 (H), it is hereby ORDERED that, the Clermont County Municipal Court shall be open for normal business, subject to the following restrictions:
Public access to the Clermont County Municipal Courthouse shall be limited to parties to cases (Plaintiffs, the State of Ohio, and Defendants), attorneys, alleged victims, subpoenaed witnesses in criminal cases, witnesses in civil cases, media, police officers, people on reporting probation, mail carriers, and supply deliverers.
The Court will conduct arraignments, bond hearings, pre-trials, plea or trial settings, and all contested matters including jury trials. The Court will conduct all civil hearings, including evictions, garnishments, replevins, and consider requests for driving privileges.
Courtroom access shall be limited to no more than ten (10) people at a time, or a number set by the Court, in its discretion.
All members of the public must maintain six feet of separation between themselves and others unless contact between court staff and the public is necessary for court operations. The Court will determine when contact is necessary.
Any person entering the courthouse must wear a facial covering, which covers the wearer’s nose and mouth. Members of the public may bring their own masks. If a member of the public does not have a mask, the Court will provide a mask.
Any person entering the courthouse must submit to his or her temperature being taken by the Clermont County Sheriff or someone designated by the Court.
The Court has the authority to deny access to the courthouse or remove from the courthouse anyone who fails to abide by the terms of this order.
This generic order will remain in effect until it is modified by the Court.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
This order is effective upon journalization. This order is in compliance with Sup.R.9, App C. Standard 7. This order applies to the Clermont County Municipal Court, 4430 State Route 222, Batavia, Ohio 45103.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
The Clermont County Municipal Court has jurisdiction over misdemeanor criminal offenses and civil actions where the amount in controversy is $15,000 or less. The Court’s criminal docket primarily consists of traffic offenses, thefts, assaults, domestic violence, OVIs, and drug offenses charged as misdemeanors. The majority of the Court’s civil docket consists of evictions, small claims cases, and collections on delinquent accounts.
The Court consists of three full-time judges who are elected to six-year terms on a non-partisan ballot. To be eligible to be elected or appointed as a judge of the Court, a person must be a resident of Clermont County and an attorney with at least six years of experience in the practice of law. The Judges and their dedicated staff strive to administer justice fairly, impartially, and expeditiously at all times.
NOTICE REGARDING CIVIL MARRIAGE CEREMONIES
In an effort to ensure equal access to the courts for all citizens, the Court sets forth the following schedule and notice regarding civil marriage ceremonies: The court will perform civil marriage ceremonies on the first Monday of each month at 11:30 a.m. A Municipal Court Judge will officiate over the ceremony. Because of demand and time constraints, multiple ceremonies will be conducted en masse. Without exception, all ceremonies will be conducted in a courtroom located at the Clermont County Municipal Court. Couples interested in a civil marriage must schedule the ceremony in advance by contacting the court’s staff at (513) 732-7636. All couples must appear at the courthouse no later than 11:15 a.m. with a valid marriage license.
NOTICE REGARDING GARNISHMENT OF PERSONAL EARNINGS
R.C. 2716.04 provides that a creditor may prove service of the written demand required by R.C. 2716.02 by submitting “a properly completed and stamped certificate of mailing by regular mail, a photographic or other direct image copy of the demand, and a sworn statement that it was sent by regular mail.” Effective immediately, any attempt to show service by ordinary mail shall include a notarized affidavit that the demand was sent by regular mail. Any application that does not contain such an affidavit will be rejected by the court. A sample form for the affidavit will be available on the Clerk of Court’s website.
Changes in Civil Pre-Trials Procedures for Clermont County Municipal Court
In the past, the Municipal Court has managed its civil docket through a series of informal Pre-Trials. Effective December 1, 2019, all parties to a civil case shall appear by telephone for single informal pretrial conference set by the Clerk of Courts. At that pretrial the court will establish a schedule for conducting discovery and the filing of motions. The court will automatically set a hearing date for all motions approximately 150 days after the informal pretrial and set the matter for a formal, in person, pretrial within approximately 180 days. The formal pretrial conference will be used to set the matter for trial if it has not already been settled or disposed of by motion. Once the schedule is established, continuances will only be granted by motion with a showing of good cause. In addition, the court may, sua sponte or by motion from any party, schedule additional conferences or hearings. Pursuant to Loc. R. 31A, a plaintiff’s failure to appear at either the informal or formal pretrial will result in the action being dismissed without prejudice. However, a failure to file a motion or appear at the motion hearing will NOT result in a dismissal.
DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this website should be construed as legal advice. Neither the judges nor court personnel may give legal advice to anyone in person, by phone, or through this website. This website is provided for information purposes only and is not a substitute for the advice and counsel of an attorney.