Important Information Regarding COVID-19

Important Information Regarding COVID-19
Current as of 09/01/2020
revised 4:48pm

Fairfield County is currently under a Red Alert Level 3 Public Health Emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This alert level, may be increased or decreased by the state based upon several factors. Governor DeWine requested that we take decisions that are not only in our own best interest but are also in the best interest of our community.

TITLE DEPARTMENT
The Clerk of Courts title offices are open by appointment only to the general public, please check this website for any new developments and updates.

Members of the public may make an appointment to have their title processed at one of the following two offices:
Pickerington Title Office, Phone: 614-835-2612
Lancaster Title Office, Phone: 740-652-7554

Staff members will be setting appointments 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. (Monday-Friday) and 8:00 a.m.-noon (Saturday).

The wearing of masks is strongly encouraged, so please bring a mask with you.  Only parties to the transaction will be allowed inside the office.

Due to the social distancing guidelines and by trying to limit public to public contact, we are encouraging using the title by mail or drop off options.
Please look at the flyer that explains our Tiling-by-Mail and Drop Off Titling procedures / Application

Signs are posted outside all office locations, please read the signs before entering the office.

We are processing any dealer work 8:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. (Monday-Friday).

If you need to speak to someone about a title related issue please call our Title Help Line:
Phone: 740-652-7554 between 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. (Monday-Friday).

On May 26, 2020 BMV locations around the state will be re-opened.
Because of the recent BMV closures, the Ohio General Assembly in House Bill 197 has extended the expiration date of driver's licenses that are up for renewal, and also waived the required late fees and extended the deadlines of temporary tags and registration.

In the meantime, the Ohio State Highway Patrol will not issue tickets to drivers whose licenses expire while BMV's services are unavailable.  Governor DeWine recommended that other law enforcement agencies in Ohio do the same.

Ohioans can still renew their vehicle registrations by mail or online at www.oplates.com, and BMV is currently working to provide other online services.

LEGAL DEPARTMENT
The Hall of Justice is open for scheduled hearings and appointments only.
Please contact the Clerk of Courts office between 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. (Monday-Friday) for assistance.

PUBLIC RECORDS REQUESTS
Due to the temporary public closure of the Hall of Justice we will not be able to take in person public records requests.  To make a public records request, please call the Records Division at  740-652-7358, send an email to ClerkRecords@fairfieldcountyohio.gov or complete the online request form.
FAIRFIELD COUNTY COMMON PLEAS COURT
GENERAL DIVISION
COURT OPERATIONS
Effective September 1, 2020 - October 2, 2020

GENERAL BUILDING POLICIES
•  Building is open for scheduled hearings and appointments only
•  All visitors-attorneys and parties-are required to wear masks while in the building. 
•  Visitors are encouraged to bring their own face covering; if they do not have one, a disposable mask will be provided at the front door
•  No food or drink are allowed in the building
•  Hearings will be held both remotely and in-person, as set forth in more detail below.

CRIMINAL CASES
•  Attorneys and defendants should presume that all hearings currently scheduled in July will proceed as scheduled
•  Most hearings for in-jail defendants will be held remotely via GoToMeeting
   You will be sent a weblink upon scheduling with the Judge’s Assignment Commissioner; no special software is required
•  Most hearings for defendants on bond will be held in person
•  Jury Trials will proceed as scheduled; in-jail defendants will be conveyed. 
    Parties must notify the Court of any continuance or plea agreement by the Thursday preceding trial
•  Suppression hearings will proceed as scheduled; in-jail defendants will be conveyed
•  Probationers and those on bond shall report in-person or by phone/e-mail as directed by their Probation/Bond Officer
•  All hearings for defendants in prison will require the attorneys to appear in-person (with the defendant appearing via video)

CIVIL
•  Jury trials will proceed as scheduled
•  Pretrials will be converted to phone conferences on the date and time originally scheduled
•  Most other civil hearings will proceed in-person as scheduled unless a motion to continue/convert is filed

FILINGS OF COURT DOCUMENTS & POSTING OF BOND
•  Mail, e-mail, or fax filing is strongly preferred; in-person filings may be dropped off at the front entrance permitted upon request (contact the Clerk’s Office to make arrangements)
•  All documents received at or before 3:30 p.m. will be filed the date it is received; all documents received after 3:30 p.m. will be filed the next business day
•  Any documents needing to be notarized must be notarized prior to being filed with the Clerk’s office.  Staff will not be able to notarize documents during this time.
•  Payment of filing fees will be required in order for documents to be filed.  If mailing your filing, please send your payment with the filing, otherwise pay online or call the office to pay over the phone. 

Fax Filing: 740-687-0158 (General Division) or 740-652-7399 (Domestic Relations)
E-Mail Filing: clerkefile@fairfieldcountyohio.gov
Members of the public who are seeking to post bond for a defendant should call the Clerk’s Office before visiting in-person for further instruction.
Phone: 740-652-7360 (Felony Criminal)
Phone: 740-652-7357 (Domestic Relations)

FURTHER INFORMATION
If you have additional questions about specific cases or hearings please contact the appropriate office:

Clerk of Courts (Filing, Bond, Tax Lien Questions)
Phone: 740-652-7360 (General) or 740-652-7357 (Domestic Relations)
Fax Filing: 740-687-0158 (General) or 740-652-7399 (Domestic Relations)
E-Mail Filing: clerkefile@fairfieldcountyohio.gov
General Inquiries: ClerkofCourts@fairfieldcountyohio.gov

Judge Berens:
Misty Conkle, Assignment Commissioner
Phone: 740-652-7431
misty.conkle@fairfieldcountyohio.gov

Judge Trimmer:
Kathy Hartman, Assignment Commissioner
Phone: 740-652-7427
kathy.hartman@fairfieldcountyohio.gov

General Questions (Felony & Civil):
Jill Boone
, Court Administrator
Phone: 740-652-7424
jillian.boone@fairfieldcountyohio.gov


General Questions (Domestic Relations):
Lori Lovas
, Court Administrator
Phone: 740-652-7448
lori.lovas@fairfieldcountyohio.gov

CLERK OF COURTS

Phone: 
740-652-7360 (General) or 740-652-7357 (Domestic Relations)
Fax Filing:
740-687-0158 (General) or 740-652-7399 (Domestic Relations)
E-Mail Filing
clerkefile@fairfieldcountyohio.gov

**Any other questions, can be directed to the general email inbox at
ClerkofCourts@fairfieldcountyohio.gov.

FAIRFIELD COUNTY COMMON PLEAS
DOMESTIC RELATIONS DIVISION
COURT OPERATIONS
Effective August 3, 2020-August 31, 2020

Access to the Hall of Justice
The Domestic Relations Court is open normal business hours.  However, the Hall of Justice is closed to the general public, except for scheduled hearings or appointments.  At this time, only the parties and the attorneys on scheduled cases will be granted access to the building.  Any witnesses should be present at the Hall of Justice at the scheduled hearing time, but each witness will be requested to wait outside of the Hall of Justice until notification,  via text if possible, that it is time for the witness testimony.

Masks are required for all visitors entering the building absent a medical excuse.  People should bring their own masks with them.  If a person arrives without a mask, a supply of disposable masks will be available upon entrance for use.

Scheduled hearings
Limited oral hearings will be conducted in the month of June because our physical space, while operating three small courtrooms, does not allow us to maintain the required physical distancing.   Hearings scheduled for July may be modified or continued by separate notice in order to comply with the required physical distancing guidelines.   The web cameras have arrived, and the Court may schedule some video hearings necessary for purposes of acknowledgement of agreements.  It is not anticipated at this time that video hearings will be used in contested matters.

Some pretrial motions, which have been set for oral hearing in the past, may instead be set for a non-oral hearing pursuant to Civil Rule 7(B).  For those hearings, an affidavit, rather than a notarized verification, will be required. 

Pretrial hearings and settlement conferences scheduled for June and July will be converted to GoToMeeting conferences.  The Court will send notice with the GoToMeeting contact information.

The Clerk of Courts will continue to receive in person filings of Petitions for Domestic Violence Civil Protection Orders.  The ex parte hearings on Petitions for Civil Protection Orders will continue to be heard when filed.

All non-oral hearings scheduled for June and July will be held as scheduled.

Filings with the Clerk of Court
•  Mail, e-mail, or fax filing is strongly preferred; in-person filings may be dropped off at the front entrance permitted upon request (contact the Clerk’s Office to make arrangements)
•  All documents received at or before 3:30 p.m. will be filed the date it is received; all documents received after 3:30 p.m. will be filed the next business day.
•  Any documents needing to be notarized must be notarized prior to being filed with the Clerk’s office.  Staff will not be able to notarize documents during this time.
•  Payment of filing fees will be required in order for documents to be filed.  If mailing your filing, please send your payment with the filing, otherwise pay online or call the office to pay over the phone.

Fax Filing
740-652-7399 (Domestic Relations) or 740-687-0158 (General Division)
E-Mail Filing:
clerkefile@fairfieldcountyohio.gov

COURT OF APPEALS
Court of Appeals Emergency Order

May 18, 2020 Order Regarding Oral Arguments

Please review the May 18, 2020 Order, issued by the Fifth District Court of Appeals concerning oral arguments.  Effective May 18, 2020, the Court will permit oral argument, upon request.

For cases set for May 26 and May 28, a party need only notify the Court of their request for oral argument by phone call or email to the Court or file something in writing.  After those two sits, requests for oral argument will need to be in writing and filed with your office.  The parties will have 15 days from the date of filing of the scheduling order to request oral argument.  If they request oral argument, the arguments will be conducted remotely, by telephone, on the same date the case was scheduled to be submitted for merit review. The Court will issue a second order designating the specific time of the argument and include instructions on how to call in to participate.


**Any other questions, can be directed to the general email inbox at ClerkofCourts@fairfieldcountyohio.gov.