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What is an Objection to the Magistrate’s Decision?

Any party who disagrees with the magistrate’s decision may ask the court to modify or set aside the decision by filing written objections. You have 7 days from the date the magistrate's decision is entered to make a written request for detailed findings of fact and conclusions of law. After the detailed written decision is filed, you have 14 days to file written objections to the magistrate's decision detailing the errors you believe the magistrate has made. You must file your objections within 14 days from the filing of the magistrate’s decision. If a party files objections within this fourteen-day period, then any other party may also file objections up to 10 days after the first objections are filed. The objections must state the specific reasons for challenging the magistrate’s decision. If a party makes a request for findings of fact and conclusions of law, the time for filing objections begins to run when the magistrate files the decision that includes the findings of fact and conclusions of law. A fee of $20.00 is required to file an objection to the magistrate’s decision. If you object to the magistrate's Findings of Fact you must purchase the trial transcript and file it with your objection. Contact the Court Reporter's office at 614-645-8257 to purchase the transcript. If the transcript will not be ready before the objection deadline then you must notify the court in your Objection that you will supplement your Objection with the transcript once it is ready. For more information, please visit Objecting to the Magistrate's Decision.

A party may request an oral hearing by prominently writing on the first page of the objections, “An oral hearing of approximately [insert number of minutes] minutes is requested.”

When a party files objections, the case will be assigned to a municipal court judge. The judge will consider the objections and any supporting memorandum; the judge may approve (sustain), reject (overrule), or modify the magistrate’s decision and enter a final judgment. The court may adopt all or part of the magistrate's decision, conduct a hearing, take additional evidence, or refer the case back to the magistrate for a new trial. The clerk will mail a copy of the final judgment to all parties.

If objections are upheld, a new hearing may be granted. If a party’s objections are overruled, the party may appeal the Judge’s ruling to the Tenth District Court of Appeals. By law, a party has thirty (30) days from the date of the final judgment to file an appeal with the Tenth District Court of Appeals. At this point, however, the matter gets more complex and costly, requiring a transcript of the original hearing (there is a fee), and possibly the services of an attorney. Before taking this step, you should consult with an attorney as to the merits of your arguments.

How long do I have 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/.