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What is an Objection to the Magistrate’s Decision?

An objection to a magistrate’s decision is a request made to the court asking that it review the magistrate’s findings and asking it to modify those findings in whole or in part, or to reject them entirely and order a new trial. Any party who does not agree with the decision of the magistrate may file written objections to that decision. When objections are filed, the case will be assigned by lot to one of the 15 judges of the Court for review. The assigned judge will have the responsibility to rule on the objection.

How long do I have to file an objection?

After hearing the evidence presented in trial, the magistrate may file a Decision only, or may file a decision together with Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, a detailed explanation of the facts as determined by the evidence and the law upon which the decision was based.

If requested at the time of trial, or requested in writing by a party no later than seven (7) days after the date of trial, the magistrate is obligated to include Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law with the decision. It is sometimes helpful to have this explanation, although not required, to file an objection.

Objections must be filed within fourteen (14) days of the date on which the decision was filed, or within fourteen (14) days of the date on which the Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law were filed. The time stamped date of filing will be the first day of the 14 days.

If one party files an objection, then any other party may also file an objection within ten (10) days of the filing of the first objection.

Any party may file a Memorandum Contra to the Objection.

The filing of an objection will operate as a “stay”, or suspension, to collection of the judgment until the judge has ruled upon the objection.

How do I complete the form?

A party or his or her attorney may draft objections from “scratch” or may use forms provided by the court in the Small Claims office. The names of the parties and the case number must be entered in the caption at the top. The grounds on which the objection is based should be specifically explained in the space provided. Extra pages may be added if more space is needed, and supporting memoranda and affidavits may be included. This document should be typed or printed.

Where do I file the objection?

The objections to the magistrate’s decision must be filed with the Clerk of Courts, Civil Division, on the third floor. The filed copy should be “time-stamped” to indicate that it was filed in a timely manner. Objections may be mailed to the Clerk; however, there is a risk that mail delivery may not arrive in time.

What is the cost to file an objection?

The Clerk will charge a fee of $20.00 for the objection. If you wish to have the court serve the objection on the other party, an additional cost for doing so will be charged.

How are the other parties notified?

The party who files the objection has the duty to notify the other parties by mailing copies to all of them. When the copies are mailed, you should complete the certificate of service declaration at the bottom of the objection. The clerk of courts office will serve the copies, if requested, but with a $3.00 charge per mailing for regular mail, $6.00 for certified mail, or $25.00 for personal delivery.

Will there be a hearing on the objections?

If a party requests a hearing, the judge will consider the request, but may or may not schedule a hearing. If an oral hearing is requested, the request should be made in writing at the top of the objection in a conspicuous manner and should read: “An oral hearing of approximately ____ minutes is requested”.

How will the objections be decided?

The judge will rule upon the objection and notify all parties of that decision in writing.

May corporations or limited liability companies file objections?

Yes, but only if filed by an attorney. Although Revised Code section 1925.17 authorizes an officer or salaried employee to file and present a corporation’s or limited liability company's claim or defense in trial, such corporation or limited liability company must be represented by an attorney to engage in other acts of advocacy, including the filing of objections to the magistrate’s decision.

Who should I contact if I need legal advice or more information?

The Court, including Small Claims Division staff, judges, magistrates, bailiffs, and other court staff, cannot give legal advice. If you have a specific question regarding your legal rights or responsibilities, you should contact an attorney. If you need or want an attorney to represent you, you may call The Columbus Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral Service at 614-221-0754 or toll-free at 877-560-1014, or visit http://www.columbuslawyerfinder.com/ for more information about obtaining an attorney.

If you have questions about procedures in Small Claims Court you may contact the Small Claims Division at 614-645-7381 or email smallclaims@fcmcclerk.com. The Small Claims Division is open from 8:00A.M. to 5:00P.M.

You may contact the Clerk of Court Civil Division at 614-645-7220 if you have a question about any of the court records for your case. The Clerk of Court office is open from 8:00 A.M. to 4:30 P.M., Monday through Friday.

In addition, the court maintains a website where you may view case information http://www.fcmcclerk.com/case/.