As noted in the post below, from January 12 to January 17, 2012, the CBA conducted a short survey regarding the commercial docket. In addition to my post below, the survey was sent to members of the CBA’s common pleas committee.
Fifty-seven people responded. Of those respondents, 52 (91%) reported they had cases on the commercial docket; 5 did not. In response to the question whether the commercial docket should be made permanent in Franklin County, 39 respondents (68%) indicated that the program should be made permanent; 18 respondents (32%) felt the program should not continue.
The survey also gave an opportunity for comments about the docket, and 45 of the 57 respondents provided comments. Those comments were thoughtful, and there were several trends:
- Not surprisingly given the results of the second question, nearly half of those respondents leaving comments (22 of 45) gave comments specifically indicating that the docket was helpful and should be continued.
- On the other hand, several respondents (9) indicated that the program was not helpful or that there was no advantage to the commercial docket. Representative of these responses was the following comment: “My experience [with the commercial docket] has been that the two [commercial docket] judges … have been inundated with such cases, making it difficult for them to do anything with the cases in a timely fashion.” Another noted that the docket “has not created the intended efficiencies because of the overall docket pressure on the commercial judges.”
- A large number of respondents (13) noted that the commercial docket was too slow. Similarly, the same number of respondents (13) gave comments that the commercial docket judges should take less criminal cases for the program to be effective.
- Another theme that emerged from respondents (5) was that the court should expand the docket by adding more judges.
- One respondent suggested that the scope of the commercial docket be expanded; another suggested the opposite, advocating that only “complex commercial matters” be on the docket.
Overall, the survey results were fascinating. We would like to thank those taking the time to fill out the survey.
The CBA has passed along the results to the Franklin County Common Pleas court. The judges will now decide whether to continue the program.
Interestingly, earlier this week, the Ohio Supreme Court’s Task Force on Commercial Dockets released their long-awaited report with recommendations about the future of commercial dockets in Ohio. It was not surprising that the task force recommended making the pilot permanent. I will try to post about some of the task force’s other suggestions, including a recommendation that other counties be allowed to start commercial dockets; that commercial docket judges be required to attend certain continuing education courses; that the task force be converted into a Commission; and that commercial dockets have at least two judges.