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Glossary


Reading about legal matters and Court processes can mean coming across unfamiliar words and abbreviations. The glossary below can help you look up and hopefully understand some of the terminology used in the Court of Claims.

In addition, Court News Ohio provides an interactive online glossary to help the public understand the legal terms that Ohio courts and lawyers frequently use. Click here to view the interactive glossary.

Administrative Determinations Small claims (for $10,000 or less) that are decided by the Clerk of the Court and based on the documents, photos, affidavits, etc. that have been submitted for review.
Affidavit A written statement of facts confirmed by the oath of the party making it, before a notary or officer having authority to administer oaths.
Alternative Dispute Resolution Settling a dispute without a full, formal trial. Methods include mediation, conciliation, arbitration, and settlement, among others.
Answer The defendant's response to the plaintiff's allegations as stated in a complaint. An item-by-item, paragraph-by-paragraph response to points made in a complaint; part of the pleadings.
Appeal A higher court’s review of a lower court or administrative agency decision (for example, the Attorney General).
Attorney of Record The principal attorney in a lawsuit, who signs all formal documents relating to the suit.
Bench Trial Trial without a jury in which a judge decides the facts.
Case Number A unique number assigned to a case by each court. In the Court of Claims, the case number is a nine digit number that begins with the year the case is filed. For example, 2014-00229.
Certificate of Service A signed statement that indicates an exact copy of a document filed with the Court of Claims was provided to every other party in the case. The statement must indicate the names and addresses of everyone who receives a copy, when they were given a copy and how the copy was given or sent to them (for example, by hand delivery or by first-class mail.) All documents offered for filing in the Court of Claims must contain a certificate of service.
Civil Case A non-criminal case that seeks a particular legal remedy. A civil case usually involves money damages.
Complaint The legal document that usually begins a civil lawsuit. It states the facts and identifies the action the court is asked to take.
Court Costs The expenses of prosecuting or defending a lawsuit, other than the attorneys' fees.
Damages Money awarded by a court to a person injured by the unlawful act or negligence of another person.
Date of Decision The date that is file-stamped on the judgment.
Decision Judgment, decree or determination of findings of fact and/or of law by a judge, court or other judicial officer.
Defendant The person or organization being sued.
Docket The list of all proceedings and filings in a case.
Et al And others
Exhibit A document or other item introduced as evidence during a trial or hearing.
Expedite To accelerate. The court can decide to accelerate the progress of a pending matter either on its own or in response to a motion to expedite.
File To place a paper in the official custody of the clerk of court to enter into the files or records of a case.
Filing Deadline The date a document must be filed with the clerk's office. In order to be filed, the document and all required copies must be in the clerk's office and in full compliance with the applicable Rules by 5 p.m. on the filing deadline.
Filing Fee The sum of money that must be paid before a case can be filed with the Court of Claims.
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.
Judgment Entry The court's written decision in a case.
Judicial Review The authority of a court to review the official actions of other branches of government. For example, the Ohio Court of Claims has judicial review over decisions made by the Ohio Attorney General on claims for Crime Victims Compensation.
Jurisdiction A court's authority to decide a case or issue an order.
Magistrate Judicial officer exercising some of the functions of a judge.
Mediation A form of alternative dispute resolution in which the parties bring their dispute to a neutral third party, who helps them agree on a settlement.
Motion Oral or written request made by a party to an action before, during, or after a trial, upon which a court issues a ruling or order.
Negligence Failure to exercise the degree of care that a reasonable person would exercise under the same circumstances.
Ohio Revised Code The laws enacted by the Ohio General Assembly. The Ohio Revised Code is organized by subject matter and divided into general provisions, titles, chapters, and sections.
Opinion A court's written statement explaining its final decision in a case.
Original The document from which a copy is a made; usually includes the original signature of the person filing the document.
Party A person, business, or government agency actively involved in the prosecution or defense of a legal proceeding.
Petition for Removal The transfer of a case from one court to another. In this sense, removal refers to a transfer of a case from a common pleas court to the Court of Claims because the state has been named a defendant either by counterclaim or third party claim. This is not discretionary, as the Court of Claims has exclusive jurisdiction over all claims against the state.
Plaintiff The person who files the complaint in a civil lawsuit.
Pleadings The written statements of fact and law filed by the parties to a lawsuit.
Pre-Trial Conference A meeting between the judge and the parties involved in a lawsuit to narrow the issues of the suit, agree on what will be presented at trial, and make a final effort to settle the case without a trial.
Pro Bono From the Latin "pro bono publico," meaning "for the public good." Legal services performed pro bono are performed by a licensed attorney without any expectation of compensation.
Pro Se Latin for "for one's self." A person appearing pro se or filing pro se in a court does so without the assistance of a licensed attorney.
Record All the documents and evidence plus transcripts of oral proceedings in a case.
Response The reply by a party to charges raised in a pleading by the other party.
Service The delivery of a legal document (such as a complaint, summons, subpoena) notifying the person or organization that a lawsuit has been filed against that person or organization.
Settlement An agreement between the parties disposing of a lawsuit.
Statute of Limitations The time within which a plaintiff must bring a lawsuit.
Stay An order suspending or postponing all or part of a judicial proceeding or the judgment from that proceeding.
Summons A notice to a defendant that he or she has been sued and is required to appear in court.
Testimony The evidence given by a witness under oath. It does not include evidence from documents and other physical evidence.
Transcript A written, word-for-word record of what was said, either in a proceeding such as a trial or during some other conversation, such as an oral deposition.
Witness A person who testifies to what he or she has seen, heard, or otherwise experienced.

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