Municipal Court Judge Janaya Trotter Bratton – Civil Cases


Rule 26 Conferences and Initial Disclosures

Pursuant to Civ. R. 26(F), attorneys are to meet and confer on a discovery plan prior to the Case Management Conference (CMC). The parties are to file a joint discovery plan no later than 5 business days prior to the CMC. A copy of the discovery plan must be emailed no later than 5 business days prior to the CMC to the court at The court’s discovery plan form can be found at [insert link]. The parties may use their own discovery plan forms so long as all the information contained in the court’s discovery plan is included.

When possible, initial disclosures should be made prior to the CMC.

Case Management Conferences

Case management conferences will be conducted by telephone unless a different method of appearance is ordered by the court. Counsel appearing at a case management conference must be prepared to set discovery and trial dates. The parties should not wait for the case management conference before beginning to conduct discovery.


The parties may be referred to the court’s mediation services program upon request. This referral may be made at the Case Management Conference, or at a later date upon the parties’ request.


The parties are encouraged to work together to resolve all discovery disputes. If the parties are unable to resolve discovery disputes without court intervention, the parties shall send an email to with opposing counsel copied, requesting a conference with the court and a brief explanation of the nature of the dispute. A conference with the court will be scheduled either via telephone, video, or in-person

Motion Practice

All motions shall comply with Hamilton County Municipal Court Local Rule V, unless otherwise specified below.

All motions must be in writing. Motions filed in civil cases are generally taken under submission without oral argument after briefing is complete. Oral argument in a civil case is set only upon request. The request should be noted within the caption of the requesting party’s motion or response.

A file-stamped courtesy copy of any motion and briefs filed in response should be emailed to the court at

Calendaring and Continuances

All requests for continuances or extensions of time must be made in writing. Counsel should contact opposing counsel prior to filing the motion to determine whether the motion will be opposed. The motion shall contain a statement that opposing counsel was contacted and opposing counsel’s response. When requesting a continuance, parties should provide the court with three specific available dates for the continuance, preferably with the concurrence of opposing counsel. Counsel must have a valid reason for requesting any continuance. Trial dates are continued only in exceptional circumstances.


Motions in Limine

In accordance with Civ. R. 6, Motions in Limine shall be filed at least 28 days before trial. Responses in opposition are due 14 days thereafter. No Reply shall be permitted.

Final Pretrial

A formal final pretrial is scheduled a week prior to trial. Each party must file a pretrial statement no less than one week prior to the final pretrial. The final pretrial statement should provide the court with a brief synopsis of the case, the status of any settlement negotiations, the expected length of trial including the number of potential witnesses, and any special issues or trial needs anticipated.
All parties and chosen representatives must be present at the final pretrial with full, final, and immediate settlement authority. If the real party in interest is an insurance company, corporation, common carrier, or other artificial entity, then the chosen representative must be the person with full, final, and immediate authority to negotiate and enter into a binding settlement agreement as to all claims.

Motions in Limine will be addressed at the Final Pretrial.

Jury Trials

Parties shall submit trial briefs, jury interrogatories and jury instructions, no later than 14 days before trial. Trial briefs are to include: a statement of the facts; a discussion of the controlling law; any stipulations; witness list along with a brief description of the subject matter of the testimony of each witness; exhibit list containing a brief description of each exhibit. Witnesses or exhibits not listed in the trial brief shall not testify or be introduced at trial absent a showing of good cause.

Counsel must confer with one another with respect to the proposed jury interrogatories/ instructions, with a view to reaching agreement on interrogatories/instructions to be requested. The interrogatories/instructions agreed upon by all counsel shall be identified. Disputed interrogatories/instructions shall likewise be identified along with separate citation to legal authority for each. Counsel for the plaintiff shall be responsible for ensuring that a copy of the proposed jury instructions, interrogatories and verdict forms are emailed in word format to the staff attorney at least 14 days before the scheduled trial date.
Parties in civil cases are required to confer with one another and provide the court with a brief statement of the case to be read to the jury by the court prior to opening statements pursuant to Civ.R. 47(A). The statement should be brief and informative and not adversarial in nature.

Exhibits shall be bound and marked before trial and submitted to the court prior to trial. Each party shall include as one of their exhibits the curriculum vitae of any expert(s) that may be called to present evidence or testimony at trial for the use of the court.

All possible stipulations are to be made prior to trial.