Legal Question in Civil Litigation in Ohio

I am the plaintiff in a civil suit in Ohio and am representing myself. The matter concerns damages of several hundred dollars. The suit is against a business. It was filed in small claims since it is under $3,000. The business must be represented in court by an attorney, and my local court has a policy of transferring any small claims case in which an attorney is involved to the regular docket. I served to the defendants attorney a set of interrogatories, request for production, and admissions. The 28 day response period elapsed and I sent the attorney an email requesting an update and when I might expect a response. Her reply was simply that she doesn't represent my interests and suggested I get an attorney. I reminded her of the civil rules pertaining to interrogatories etc, and she again replied that they would not be answering and I shold get an attorney. She will not provide her legal basis for declining to respond.

I know, at least locally, motions and requests for documents etc cannot be filed in a small claims case. They are dealt with in person at the hearing. However in a regular civil case I believe I am permitted to send interrogators. I cannot issue subpoenas other than via a p

Preacipe for subpoena, but I have found no rule that indicates I cannot send interrogators. The only thing I can think of is maybe she thinks it is still in small claims? But she won't advise the basis of her declining to reply so I don't know for sure.

I know my next step would be to file a motion to compel but I want to make sure I'm not missing anything first.

Asked on 2/23/16, 12:02 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Michael Brandabur Brandabur Law, LLC

You need to carefully read the rules and case law regarding the Request for Admissions. You would want to document your efforts to get them to respond to your discovery. If they still fail to respond, then you can file a Motion to Compel - asserting that you've tried all extra-judicial means - a requirement set forth in the Rules. Most of your questions are covered by a careful reading of the rules. You may then be able to use the Requests for Admission in a Motion for Summary Judgment. The whole area of discovery, how to use Admissions, etc. can be complex, while providing powerful tools. You either need to fully educate yourself on them, or retain an attorney to ensure the best chance of success. Good luck.

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Answered on 2/23/16, 12:11 pm

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