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Public Records Complaint Process
The Ohio Court of Claims has jurisdiction to hear complaints alleging a denial of access to public records, pursuant to Ohio law (R.C. 2743.75). All public records cases are first referred to mediation with a court staff attorney or magistrate. If mediation is unsuccessful, a Special Master is assigned to review the case and issue a report and recommendation to a judge. The judge will consider any objections to the Special Master’s report and recommendation and issue a final order that adopts, modifies, or rejects the report and recommendation.
For more information about the process, please contact the Clerk’s Office 614.387.9800
Also in this Section:
Public Records Case Management Process
- the state
- a county
- a city
- a village
- a township
- school district units
- records pertaining to the delivery of educational services by an alternative school in this state kept by the nonprofit or for-profit entity operating the alternative school. Ohio Revised Code 3313.533.
“If a requester makes an ambiguous or overly broad request or has difficulty in making a request for copies or inspection of public records under this section such that the public office or the person responsible for the requested public record cannot reasonably identify what public records are being requested, the public office or the person responsible for the requested public record may deny the request but shall provide the requester with an opportunity to revise the request by informing the requester of the manner in which records are maintained by the public office and accessed in the ordinary course of the public office’s or person’s duties.”Before making a request, it’s important to organize and prioritize the information you want from the public agency and to be clear in your request about what record(s) you’re seeking.
“Upon request and subject to division (B)(8) of this section, all public records responsive to the request shall be promptly prepared and made available for inspection to any person at all reasonable times during regular business hours. Subject to division (B)(8) of this section, upon request, a public office or person responsible for public records shall make copies of the requested public record available at cost and within a reasonable period of time. If a public record contains information that is exempt from the duty to permit public inspection or to copy the public record, the public office or the person responsible for the public record shall make available all of the information within the public record that is not exempt.”
- File a writ of mandamus in your county common pleas court or your local court of appeals.
- File a complaint here in the Court of Claims.
- Complete and file online, using the Court of Claims e-FileOH feature,
- Print the complaint form, complete it, and mail it to the court,
- Print the complaint form, complete it, and file it with the court in person.
- If the complaint does not meet the minimum legal requirements, it will be returned to you with a written explanation and your filing fee. You may then correct any errors and return the form, with the filing fee, to the Court for processing.
- If your complaint does meet the requirements, then the Court will begin the process of reviewing your complaint.
We accept hard copies of these forms via regular mail, hand delivery, and e-file.
Fees & Costs
The law requires that you pay a $25 filing fee when filing a complaint. You can pay by credit card if filing online. You must enclose a check or money order if filing by mail, or you may pay cash if filing in person.
Please refer to the following fee schedule for more information:
Glossary of Terms
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.
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.
A written statement of facts confirmed by the oath of the party making it, before a notary or officer having authority to administer oaths.
Settling a dispute without a full, formal trial. Methods include mediation, conciliation, arbitration, and settlement, among others.
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.
A higher court’s review of a lower court or administrative agency decision (for example, the Attorney General).
The principal attorney in a lawsuit, who signs all formal documents relating to the suit.
Trial without a jury in which a judge decides the facts.
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.
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.
A non-criminal case that seeks a particular legal remedy. A civil case usually involves money damages.
The legal document that usually begins a civil lawsuit. It states the facts and identifies the action the court is asked to take.
The expenses of prosecuting or defending a lawsuit, other than the attorneys’ fees.
Money awarded by a court to a person injured by the unlawful act or negligence of another person.
The date that is file-stamped on the judgment.
Judgment, decree or determination of findings of fact and/or of law by a judge, court or other judicial officer.
The person or organization being sued.
The list of all proceedings and filings in a case.
A document or other item introduced as evidence during a trial or hearing.
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.
To place a paper in the official custody of the clerk of court to enter into the files or records of a case.
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.
The sum of money that must be paid before a case can be filed with the Court of Claims.
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.
The court’s written decision in a case.
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.
A court’s authority to decide a case or issue an order.
Judicial officer exercising some of the functions of a judge.
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.
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.
Failure to exercise the degree of care that a reasonable person would exercise under the same circumstances.
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.
A court’s written statement explaining its final decision in a case.
The document from which a copy is a made; usually includes the original signature of the person filing the document.
A person, business, or government agency actively involved in the prosecution or defense of a legal proceeding.
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.
The person who files the complaint in a civil lawsuit.
The written statements of fact and law filed by the parties to a lawsuit.
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.
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.
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.
All the documents and evidence plus transcripts of oral proceedings in a case.
The reply by a party to charges raised in a pleading by the other party.
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.
An agreement between the parties disposing of a lawsuit.
The time within which a plaintiff must bring a lawsuit.
An order suspending or postponing all or part of a judicial proceeding or the judgment from that proceeding.
A notice to a defendant that he or she has been sued and is required to appear in court.
The evidence given by a witness under oath. It does not include evidence from documents and other physical evidence.
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.
A person who testifies to what he or she has seen, heard, or otherwise experienced.