Medina County Courthouse

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Frequently Asked Questions about "Private Judging" Under R.C. 2701.10

Frequently Asked Questions About Private Judging

What is a "private judge"? A private judge is a retired judge who has registered with the Ohio Supreme Court that he or she is interested in serving as a "private judge" pursuant to Section  2701.10 of the Revised Code.  A private judge then files a form with the Clerks of Courts for the courts in which the private judge will be hearing cases.
What does Ohio Revised Code Section 2701.10 do? It authorizes retired judges to serve as private judges in Ohio courts. It states that such judges" shall have all of the powers, duties, and authority of an active judge of the court in which the action or proceeding is pending." ( See R.C. 2701.10 (C))
How does a case get referred to a private judge? All the parties to a lawsuit file what R.C. 2701.10 refers to as a referral or submission.
What are the requirements for such a referral or submission? R.C. 2701.10 states that the parties must enter into an agreement with the retired judge who is to serve as a private judge in their case.
Who pays for the private judge? The agreement referred to above sets forth the payment that the private judge shall receive for his or her services.  
What else does the agreement do? R.C. 2701.10 requires the parties to pay any expense for the facilities in which the case will be tried and to pay for any personnel needed by the private judge.
Once the agreement is filed, what does the judge on whose docket is pending do? R.C. 2701.10 requires the judge on whose docket the case is pending to order the case transferred to the private judge in accordance with the agreement of the parties.
Does a private judge get to use the active judge’s courtroom for hearings? No. R.C. 2701.10 states that the court in which the case is pending does not have to provide the private judge with facilities, courtroom or personnel. .
Can a private judge perform jury trials? No. The Ohio Supreme Court has held that R.C. 2701.10 does not allow private judges to hear jury trials.
Can a private judge do criminal trials? No. R.C. 2701.10 restricts the use of private judges to "civil actions".
Can a party appeal a decision of a private judge? Yes. All decisions of a private judge are subject to appeal as they would be if made by the judge to whose docket the case was assigned. (See R.C. 2701.10 (D))
Does R.C. 2701.10 contain requirements for the private judge? The private judge is required to hear the case in accordance with the agreement, issue findings of fact and conclusions of law if requested by the parties in accordance with the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure. The decision issued by the private judge has the same effect as a decision issued by the judge on whose docket the case was pending. R.C. 2701.10 refers to the judges on whose docket the transferred case was pending as an "active" judge.
What are the advantages of a private judge?
Certainty: Private judges are retained to hear a specific case. This means that your case is not one of hundreds pending on that judge's docket. Your case will have priority and will not be continued because a criminal case has precedence. Your case will be tried at a date and time agreed to by the parties and the private  judge.
Discretion: Some litigants are reluctant to come to a county courthouse where their friends, neighbors, or relatives may see them. Private judges try the cases in the facilities agreed to by the parties.
Convenience: Private judges are not required to try their cases in the county courthouse. In fact, they usually won't be trying them in the county courthouse. The case can be tried anywhere the parties agree.  
Can only certain issues be referred or submitted to a private judge? Yes. R.C. 2701.10 allows a private judge to hear just certain issues in a case.
Is retired Judge James L. Kimbler registered as a private judge? Yes. Judge James L. Kimbler registered with the Ohio Supreme Court to serve as a private judge. Judge Kimbler is currently  registered with the Clerks of Courts of Medina, Cuyahoga, Summit, Lorain, Wayne and Ashland counties.

Can Judge Kimbler hear cases in other counties then the ones listed above? Yes. R. C. 2701.10 states that there is no limitation on the number of counties in which a retired judge may serve as a private judge. If you are interested in retaining Judge Kimbler as a private judge in other counties, or if you have any questions about private judges,  please contact him at 330-322-6737 or email him at

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