The Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure lay down the rules that should be followed by Ohio state courts. The rules govern civil actions. These rules are stated and applied to eliminate delay, unnecessary expense and all other impediments to the expeditious administration of justice. In Ohio, a civil action commences by filing of a complaint with the court. Party who commences the action is called the plaintiff, and the opposite party is called the defendant. A civil action can be classified into various stages that include: pleading stage, discovery stage, trial stage, and judgment stage. According to Rule 4(a), once a complaint is filed, the court clerk will issue the required summons to the defendant(s).
Accepted pleadings in Ohio courts are: complaint, answer to complaint, counter claim, answer to counter claim, cross claim, answer to cross claim, third party complaint and answer to third party complaint. A complaint should be filed by the real party in interest. A minor or incompetent person may be represented by a guardian, or fiduciary. The representative can sue or defend on behalf of the minor or incompetent person. If a minor or incompetent person does not have any authorized representative, s/he may sue by his/her next friend or by a guardian ad litem. If required, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem for a minor or incompetent person for their protection.
Parties may obtain discovery by oral examination or written questions; written interrogatories; production of documents, electronically stored information, or things permission to enter upon land or other property, for inspection and other purposes; request for physical and mental examinations; and requests for admission.
At the trial stage, a party may demand for trial by jury. A judgment is passed after trial. The judgment may include a decree or an order upon which an appeal is permissible. Generally cost of litigation is adjudged to the prevailing party.