Searching for Common Pleas Court Records in Franklin County, Ohio
The case files for a Court of Common Pleas contain information that is a matter of public record, and private citizens have a right to view these materials. In Franklin County, Ohio, these materials are not difficult to access, provided that a searcher knows how and where to look.
What Information is Contained in Franklin County Common Pleas Court Records?
The Franklin County Court of Common Pleas has jurisdiction over civil litigation involving monetary amounts exceeding $15,000, as well as criminal felony matters. The Franklin County Common Pleas Clerk of Courts is also responsible for maintaining Court of Appeals records, as well as juvenile, juvenile traffic, and domestic relations records, and includes a separate Auto Title Division. However, all of these records are maintained in a separate location and cannot be accessed by the Franklin County Common Pleas Clerk of Courts website. At this time, only Common Pleas civil matters have information available online.
The full case file for any court case will include any complaints, motions or briefs filed by any party, as well as entries and orders issued by the court. One can view these documents in their entirety by visiting the courthouse and viewing the documents in person or on microfiche. To view the court docket of a civil matter, including the case number, the names of the parties involved, the titles of any documents filed and any court dates that have been scheduled, this information can be gleaned online.
How Can I Search for Franklin County Common Pleas Court Records Online?
Certain information for each court case is available online at this address: www.franklincountyohio.gov/clerk/. On the home page, click on the words “Civil Records Online,” located in a blue banner at the top of the page. This link will take you to a page offering links for the civil records, as well as a link for a guide to searching online records. To search the civil records, click on the words “access Civil Records Online.” This will open a new window.
On the search page, a number of options are available at the left of the screen. To search for a case by name, click “Name Inquiry” and input the name of one party. This will allow you to obtain the case number for all cases involving that party. For all other options on the initial search page, the case number is required to view additional information about the case. Alternatively, after obtaining a list of the cases in which the party is involved, you can input the number of the line of the desired case and select “History,” “Parties” or “Case” from the adjacent drop-down menu to obtain further information about the case.
The most information can be gleaned from the “Case History” option on the search page. This option shows the court’s docket, a list of events in the case from its inception to the present. This will allow you to determine the date the case began and the date of filing of each court document as well as its title. This screen also will show the filing of any court entry or order and often includes some brief information on the contents of the entry or order. If a motion has been filed, there will often be a notation under the title of the motion if the court has ruled on the motion, and will indicate whether the motion was granted or denied. Additionally, this page usually notes whether certain parties were served with copies of the complaint.
How Can I Search for Franklin County Common Pleas Court Records in Person?
The Franklin County Court of Common Pleas is located at 369 South High Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215, where it shares a lobby with two other court buildings. The office of the Clerk of Courts, where court files are maintained, is located on the third floor.
The Clerk of Courts office is divided into two main rooms separated by a large hall, one room for “intake,” or filing of court documents and paying of fees, and one room where files are stored and accessed. It is in this second room where paper files and microfiche copies can be found.
If you have already determined the case number of the file you wish to access, the employees in the Clerk of Courts office can pull the file for you to review. If you have not yet learned the case number, banks of computers are available for you to search for your desired case by the name of one of the parties.
If the physical file is not available, it may be in the judge’s chambers or en route to or from the file room from another courthouse location. However, this does not mean that you cannot review the court documents associated with the file. The Franklin County Court of Common Pleas copies all court documents onto microfiche which is stored in the same room. By using the computers available, you can identify microfiche location where each document is stored, and then view them using the microfiche viewing machines that are available to the public.
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