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Common Pleas Court Judges

Judge Jennifer O'Donnell

Courtroom: 17-B
Fax: (216) 348-4037

Mary Pat Smith

(216) 443-8756

Staff Attorney:

Christine M. Sweeney

(216) 443-8612

On Common Pleas Bench Since: December 2022
Admitted to Bar: 2008
Born: Vermillion, Ohio
Residence: Bay Village, Ohio
High School: Vermillion High School
College: Denison University
Law School: Case Western Reserve School of Law

Legal Experience:

Assistant Public Defender, Cuyahoga County’s Public Defender’s Office (14 years)

Litigation Preferences


Parties are expected to begin the discovery process as soon as service is perfected. A telephonic case management conference will be scheduled once a defendant has filed a responsive pleading.

The Court’s goal is to for the efficient resolution/disposition of all matters within The Supreme Court of Ohio’s guidelines. Setting of dates and allowing continuances will reflect those goals.

Any party may request a telephone status conference with the Court to discuss the current case management schedule or other issues. To request a conference, the party should call or email the Staff Attorney.

Self-represented/pro se litigants are presumed to know the law and correct procedures. All litigants will be treated equally.

Courtesy copies of filings are not required.


At least seven (7) days in advance of the Final Pretrial, each party shall submit a statement containing the following: statement of facts, statement of disputed legal issues, stipulations (if any), list of fact witnesses, list of expert witnesses, estimated length of trial, pretrial motions anticipated, and equipment needs at trial.

The goal of the final pretrial is to explore the potential for settlement and/or discuss the upcoming trial. Therefore, unless otherwise ordered, most final pretrials will be held in person with all counsel, parties, and/or party representatives with settlement authority present. Out of state parties may appear remotely with notice to this Court.

Where settlement is not possible, parties may request the final pretrial be held remotely by contacting the Staff Attorney.

Motion Practice

Litigants should refer to Rule 6 of the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure for briefing deadlines unless otherwise specified by the Court.

Motions for default judgment shall include an affidavit from plaintiff supporting the requested damages, military status verification pursuant to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (where applicable), and a proposed judgment entry.


The parties are expected to undertake discovery and make reasonable efforts to settle any disputes without Court involvement. Any unresolved issues shall be brought to the Court’s attention by contacting the Staff Attorney or through motion practice.

Settlement Conference

At any time, the parties may request a settlement conference. Settlement conferences will be held in person with all counsel, parties, and/or party representatives with settlement authority present. Out of state parties may appear remotely with notice to this Court.


Counsel and parties are to be present at 9:00 am on the first day of trial.

Fourteen (14) days before the trial date, all motions in limine are to be filed. 

Seven (7) days before the trial date, the following items are to be filed: responses to any motions in limine, trial briefs, witness lists, exhibit Lists, trial deposition transcripts with a log of objections (if any) and the reason(s) for the objection, stipulations, as well as proposed jury instructions, interrogatories, and verdict forms.

Proposed jury instructions, interrogatories, and verdict forms shall be emailed in Word version to the Staff Attorney at