Ohio Civ.R. 10

As amended through January 10, 2024
Rule 10 - Form of Pleadings
(A)Caption; names of parties Every pleading shall contain a caption setting forth the name of the court, the title of the action, the case number, and a designation as in Rule 7(A). In the complaint the title of the action shall include the names and addresses of all the parties, but in other pleadings it is sufficient to state the name of the first party on each side with an appropriate indication of other parties.
(B)Paragraphs; separate statements All averments of claim or defense shall be made in numbered paragraphs, the contents of each of which shall be limited as far as practicable to a statement of a single set of circumstances; and a paragraph may be referred to by number in all succeeding pleadings. Each claim founded upon a separate transaction or occurrence and each defense other than denials shall be stated in a separate count or defense whenever a separation facilitates the clear presentation of the matters set forth.
(C)Adoption by reference; exhibits Statements in a pleading may be adopted by reference in a different part of the same pleading or in another pleading or in any motion. A copy of any written instrument attached to a pleading is a part of the pleading for all purposes.
(D)Attachments to pleadings
(1)Account or written instrument When any claim or defense is founded on an account or other written instrument, a copy of the account or written instrument must be attached to the pleading. If the account or written instrument is not attached, the reason for the omission must be stated in the pleading.
(2)Affidavit of merit; medical, dental, optometric, and chiropractic liability claims
(a) Except as provided in division (D)(2)(b) of this rule, a complaint that contains a medical claim, dental claim, optometric claim, or chiropractic claim, as defined in R.C. 2305.113, shall be accompanied by one or more affidavits of merit relative to each defendant named in the complaint for whom expert testimony is necessary to establish liability. Affidavits of merit shall be provided by an expert witness meeting the requirements of Evid.R. 702 and, if applicable, also meeting the requirements of Evid.R. 601(B)(5). Affidavits of merit shall include all of the following:
(i) A statement that the affiant has reviewed all medical records reasonably available to the plaintiff concerning the allegations contained in the complaint;
(ii) A statement that the affiant is familiar with the applicable standard of care;
(iii) The opinion of the affiant that the standard of care was breached by one or more of the defendants to the action and that the breach caused injury to the plaintiff.
(b) The plaintiff may file a motion to extend the period of time to file an affidavit of merit. The motion shall be filed by the plaintiff with the complaint. For good cause shown and in accordance with division (c) of this rule, the court shall grant the plaintiff a reasonable period of time to file an affidavit of merit, not to exceed ninety days, except the time may be extended beyond ninety days if the court determines that a defendant or non-party has failed to cooperate with discovery or that other circumstances warrant extension.
(c) In determining whether good cause exists to extend the period of time to file an affidavit of merit, the court shall consider the following:
(i) A description of any information necessary in order to obtain an affidavit of merit;
(ii) Whether the information is in the possession or control of a defendant or third party;
(iii) The scope and type of discovery necessary to obtain the information;
(iv) What efforts, if any, were taken to obtain the information;
(v) Any other facts or circumstances relevant to the ability of the plaintiff to obtain an affidavit of merit.
(d) An affidavit of merit is required to establish the adequacy of the complaint and shall not otherwise be admissible as evidence or used for purposes of impeachment. Any dismissal for the failure to comply with this rule shall operate as a failure otherwise than on the merits.
(e) If an affidavit of merit as required by this rule has been filed as to any defendant along with the complaint or amended complaint in which claims are first asserted against that defendant, and the affidavit of merit is determined by the court to be defective pursuant to the provisions of division (D)(2)(a) of this rule, the court shall grant the plaintiff a reasonable time, not to exceed sixty days, to file an affidavit of merit intended to cure the defect.
(E)Size of paper filed All pleadings, motions, briefs, and other papers filed with the clerk, including those filed by electronic means, shall be on paper not exceeding 8 1/2 x 11 inches in size without backing or cover.

Ohio. Civ.R. 10

Effective:7/1/1970; amended effective 7/1/1985;7/1/1991;7/1/2005;7/1/2007;7/1/2016; amended effective 7/1/2023.

Staff Note (July 1, 2005 Amendment)

Civ.R. 10 is amended in response to a request from the General Assembly contained in Section 3 of Sub. H.B. 215 of the 125th General Assembly, effective September 13, 2004. The act amends and enacts provisions relative to medical, dental, optometric, and chiropractic malpractice actions, and Section 3 contains a request that the Supreme Court adopt a rule that "require[s] a plaintiff filing a medical liability claim to include a certificate of expert review as to each defendant."

Rule 10(D) Attachments to pleadings

Civ.R. 10(D) is retitled and reorganized to reflect the inclusion of a requirement in division (D)(2) that a medical liability complaint include an affidavit of merit concerning the alleged breach of the standard of care by each defendant to the action. Division (D)(2)(a) specifies three items that must be included in the affidavit and sets forth the qualifications of the person providing the affidavit of merit.

There may be instances in which multiple affidavits of merit are required as to a particular plaintiff. For example, the plaintiff may find it necessary to provide one affidavit that addresses only the issue of "standard of care" and a separate affidavit that addresses only the issue of injury caused by the breach of the standard of care.

Because there may be circumstances in which the plaintiff is unable to provide an affidavit of merit when the complaint is filed, division (D)(2)(b) of the rule requires the trial court, when good cause is shown, to provide a reasonable period of time for the plaintiff to obtain and file the affidavit. For example, "good cause" may exist in a circumstance where the plaintiff obtains counsel near the expiration of the statute of limitations, and counsel does not have sufficient time to identify a qualified health care provider to conduct the necessary review of applicable medical records and prepare an affidavit. Similarly, the relevant medical records may not have been provided to the plaintiff in a timely fashion. Further, there may be situations where the medical records do not reveal the names of all of the potential defendants and so until discovery reveals those names, it may be necessary to name a "John Doe" defendant. Once discovery has revealed the name of a previously unknown defendant and that person is added as a party, the affidavit of merit would then be required as to that newly named defendant. Under these or similar circumstances, the court must afford the plaintiff a reasonable period of time, once a qualified health care provider is identified, to have the records reviewed and submit an affidavit that satisfies the requirements set forth in the rule.

Division (D)(2)(c) provides that an affidavit of merit is intended to establish the sufficiency of the complaint filed in a medical liability action and specifies that an affidavit of merit is not otherwise admissible as evidence or for purposes of impeachment.

The amendments to Rule 10 also include nonsubstantive changes.

Staff Note (July 1, 2007 Amendment)

Rule 10(D) Attachments to pleadings

Civ.R. 10 is amended to clarify what constitutes "good cause" to permit the plaintiff an extension of time to file an affidavit of merit and to define the effect of dismissal for failure to comply with the affidavit of merit requirement.

Rule 10(D) Attachments to pleadings

The language of division (D)(2)(a) is amended in recognition of the fact that more than one affidavit may be required as to a particular defendant due to the number of defendants or other circumstances.

Because there may be circumstances in which the plaintiff is unable to provide an affidavit of merit when the complaint is filed, division (D)(2)(b) of the rule requires the trial court, when good cause is shown, to provide a reasonable period of time for the plaintiff to obtain and file the affidavit. Division (D)(2)(c) details the circumstances and factors which the Court should consider in determining whether good cause exists to grant the plaintiff an extension of time to file the affidavit of merit. For example, "good cause" may exist in a circumstance where the plaintiff obtains counsel near the expiration of the statute of limitations, and counsel does not have sufficient time to identify a qualified health care provider to conduct the necessary review of applicable medical records and prepare an affidavit. Similarly, the relevant medical records may not have been provided to the plaintiff in a timely fashion by the defendant or a nonparty to the litigation who possesses the records. Further, there may be situations where the medical records do not reveal the names of all of the potential defendants and so until discovery reveals those names, it may be necessary to name a "John Doe" defendant. Once discovery has revealed the name of a defendant previously designated as John Doe and that person is added as a party, the affidavit of merit is required as to that newly named defendant. The medical records might also fail to reveal how or whether medical providers who are identified in the records were involved in the care that led to the malpractice. Under these and other circumstances not described here, the court must afford the plaintiff a reasonable period of time to submit an affidavit that satisfies the requirements set forth in the rule.

It is intended that the granting of an extension of time to file an affidavit of merit should be liberally applied, but within the parameters of the "good cause" requirement. The court should also exercise its discretion to aid plaintiff in obtaining the requisite information. To accomplish these goals, the plaintiff must specifically inform the Court of the nature of the information needed as opposed to a general averment that more information is needed. The plaintiff should apprise the court, to the extent that it is known, the identity of the person who has the information and the means necessary to obtain the information, to allow the court to grant an appropriate extension of time. If medical records in the possession of a defendant or non-party must be obtained, the court may issue an order compelling the production of the records. If medical records are non-existent, incomplete, or otherwise inadequate to permit an expert to evaluate the care, the court may, in appropriate circumstances, permit a plaintiff to conduct depositions of parties or non-parties to obtain the information necessary for an expert to complete such a review and provide an affidavit.

Division (D)(2)(b) of the rule sets an outside limit of 90 days to extend the time for the filing of an affidavit of merit, unless the court determines that the defendant or a nonparty in possession of the records has failed to cooperate with discovery, and in that circumstance the court may grant an extension beyond 90 days. This division also vests the trial court with the discretion to determine whether any other circumstances justify granting an extension beyond the 90 days.

The rule is intended to make clear that the affidavit is necessary to establish the sufficiency of the complaint. The failure to comply with the rule can result in the dismissal of the complaint, and this dismissal is considered to be a dismissal otherwise than upon the merits pursuant to Civ.R. 10(D)(2)(d).

Finally, new Civ.R. 10(D)(2)(e) allows a plaintiff a reasonable time, not to exceed sixty days, to cure any defects identified by the court in any affidavit filed with a complaint.

Staff Note (July 1, 2016 Amendment)

Division (D)(2) of this rule applies to medical, dental, optometric, and chiropractic claims, as defined by R.C. 2305.113, and was adopted in 2005 to require that, at the time of the filing of a complaint asserting any such claims, the complaint must be accompanied by certificates of expert review. The rule is amended to remedy an inaccuracy in the prior rule which incorrectly indicated that Evid.R. 601(D) applies to the qualifications of an affiant for all medical, dental, optometric, and chiropractic claims. While Evid.R. 702 applies to the qualifications of an affiant for all medical, dental, optometric, and chiropractic claims, Evid.R. 601(D) applies only to the qualifications of an affiant for certain medical claims. See Evid.R. 601(D).

Staff Note (July 1, 2023 Amendment)

The amendment to division (D)(2)(a) of this rule makes a cross-reference change necessitated by prior amendments to Evid.R. 601.