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Claims vs. the State FAQ

Filing A Claim Against the State of Ohio:

What You Need to Know

According to the law, claims against the state of Ohio for money damages can only be heard in the Court of Claims, which was created so people could pursue legal claims against the state and state agencies in one court. Claims can also be filed in this Court against individual state employees for their wrongful conduct.

Who can be sued in the Ohio Court of Claims?

The state of Ohio is the only defendant in the Court of Claims. The state includes the General Assembly, Supreme Court, offices of all elected state officers (governor, attorney general, auditor of state, secretary of state, and the treasurer of state), all state departments, boards, offices, commissions, agencies, institutions, and state colleges and universities. (Click here for a list of state agencies or click here for a list of colleges & universities.) Claims can also be filed in this Court against individual state employees for their wrongful conduct.

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Who cannot be sued in the Ohio Court of Claims?

The Ohio Court of Claims has no jurisdiction over lawsuits involving private parties or businesses, or lawsuits involving federal, county, city, township or village governments, agencies or employees.

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What is state employee immunity?

Immunity refers to a protection from personal liability that may be provided to a state employee who is sued in his or her individual capacity. Immunity may be provided so long as the actions of the employee giving rise to the lawsuit were within the course and scope of the employee's duties and the employee did not act with malice, in bad faith, or in a wanton or reckless manner. If these conditions are met and the employee is named as a defendant in a lawsuit, the state will provide legal representation and take financial responsibility for the conduct of the employee.

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What is the difference between an administrative determination claim and a judicial claim?

If the amount of money you are seeking is $10,000 or less, your case will be assigned to the small claims category of cases known as administrative determinations. This category was created to provide a quick, informal and inexpensive way of determining your claim, so that the average person can file a claim without the assistance of an attorney. Administrative determination claims are decided by the Clerk of the Court and based on the documents, photos, affidavits, etc. that you submit. There is no trial or hearing.

If the amount of money you are seeking is in excess of $10,000, your claim will be assigned to the judicial case category. Judicial cases are heard and decided by a judge or magistrate. There are no jury trials in the Court of Claims.

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How do I file a claim in the Court of Claims?

Claims for $10,000 or less:

It’s okay to represent yourself, but you must complete the Claim Form and submit the $25 filing fee before the Court will begin to process your claim. Click here for detailed completion instructions.

Claims greater than $10,000:

Although you may still use the claim form in this case, we suggest hiring an attorney to represent you throughout the judicial process. Various bar associations and legal clinics throughout the state can provide the names of attorneys, including some who will accept pro bono clients.

For more information on self-representation, please visit our Self-Represented Litigants page.

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How do I fill out the claim form?

At a minimum, you will need to tell us when and where the claim occurred, the amount of the claim and why you think the state of Ohio is responsible for your losses. Click here for detailed instructions. You may file in person, by eFile, or mail your claim and accompanying documents to:

Ohio Court of Claims
The Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center
65 South Front Street, Third Floor
Columbus, Ohio 43215
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Does it cost money to file a claim?

Yes, the filing fee is $25 in cash or by check or money order payable to the Ohio Court of Claims. Please do not mail cash. You may pay by credit card if you eFile. If you can’t afford the filing fee, you must provide written proof that you cannot reasonably afford it and complete and mail an Application to Waive Filing Fee. Even if the Court grants your request, you may still be responsible for court costs associated with your case.

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What do I need to know about filing my claim?

Claims for $10,000 or less:

Attach two copies of all supporting documents, which could include certificates of title for vehicles; cost estimates for property repair and/or replacement; medical reports; paid or unpaid bills; accident or police reports; and photos, maps or drawings. If possible, obtain signed and notarized witness statements for the Court’s consideration and include two copies of each one with your claim.

Claims greater than $10,000:

Provide one copy of your claim for each named defendant (the organization being sued) and one copy for the Ohio Attorney General.

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What happens after my claim is filed?

Claims for $10,000 or less:

We will send a copy of your claim and any supporting documents to the state agency that, according to you, caused your losses. That state agency will conduct an investigation and file a written report with the Court within 60 days. You will receive a copy of the investigation report, which you may respond to in writing by completing the Response to Investigation Report and mailing it, or by delivering it in person to the Court. Click here for detailed completion instructions.

Claims greater than $10,000:

The Court will send a written document (summons) and a copy of your claim to officially notify the state organization that a lawsuit has been filed. Additional copies will be sent to the Ohio Attorney General. The state then has 28 days to provide a written response.

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Will I need to travel to Columbus for a trial?

If your claim is for more than $10,000, the trial will take place in one of our three Columbus courtrooms. The Court will send you written notice of your assigned trial dates about 30 days after receiving your claim form. If, however, your claim is for $10,000 or less, it will be determined administratively, and a hearing is unlikely.

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What do I need to know before coming to court?

  • Proper attire is expected at all court proceedings.
  • Cell phones and pagers are allowed in court, but they must be turned off prior to entering the courtroom.
  • Courtroom procedures are open to the public. However, certain subject matters may be inappropriate for small children and younger adults.
  • For information about directions and parking, click here.
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How long will it take to decide my claim?

Claims for $10,000 or less:

  • The state agency has 60 days after you file a claim to file its written investigation report.
  • You then have 21 days to file a written response.
  • The Clerk will make a decision after that.

Claims greater than $10,000:

  • It's possible that your claim will take 12 to 24 months to decide, depending on the circumstances.
  • Click here for a detailed explanation of our Court’s differentiated case management system.
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When can I expect payment if I win?

If you win, the Court will order the state to pay you for reasonable losses and to reimburse your filing fee. Payment is made within 60 days of the date of the Court’s judgment, barring any appeals.

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If my claim is dismissed or turned down, does it cost anything?

Yes, the $25 filing fee is non-refundable. You may also be billed for court costs not covered by the filing fee.

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What if I don’t agree with the decision about my claim?

For claims of $10,000 or less:

The losing party may file a Motion for Court Review of the Clerk’s decision within 30 days of the date of that decision. A judge of the Court will review the Clerk’s decision. This will also be done on the basis of the written record and without a hearing. There is no further appeal of the judge’s decision to this or any other court.

For claims greater than $10,000:

You have the right to appeal the judge's decision. Appeals of the Court of Claims are heard by the Tenth District Court of Appeals. Please refer to the Ohio Rules of Appellate Procedure and the Local Rules of the Tenth District Court of Appeals for further explanation.

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How do I find more details about court Rules and state laws?

Please understand that the Court is obligated to follow certain rules and statutes. Failure to comply with these regulations could impact the outcome of your case. For more information, go to Helpful Resources.

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