Dena Standley | March 30, 2023
Summary: Are you trying to find your Ohio court case online? Below is SoloSuit's guide on Ohio's civil court structure, how to check your case status at the courthouse, and how to search for your court records online.
The Ohio General Assembly enacted a law in 1963 that made court records available for inspection by the general public. The Open Record Law authorizes Ohio residents to read and copy most court documents filed in the state courts.
However, this law does not apply to all records. Under certain circumstances, the court may seal some records to protect individuals and keep sensitive information from the public.
Debt collection lawsuits are easily accessible, and you can print them remotely or while visiting the courthouse. Here's everything you should know about how to access your court records online in Ohio.
Let's jump right in.
To find your lawsuit, you need to understand how Ohio state courts work. Knowing the court structure will help you know which court has jurisdiction over your type of case. All debt collection cases are considered civil cases, so we will focus on how the civil court system works in Ohio.
Ohio's civil courts have four levels:
The Supreme Court is the highest judicial level in Ohio. This court handles civil cases that have been appealed from lower level courts. In other words, if someone doesn't like the outcome of their case, they can appeal and have it reconsidered by a higher level court.
Similarly, the Court of Appeals deals with civil cases that have been appealed. If the case is appealed after being reviewed by the Court of Appeals, it is passed up to the Supreme Court.
The Court of Common Pleas, Magistrate Court, and County Courts are all considered trial courts. The Court of Common Pleas has jurisdiction over civil cases that involve $15,000 or more.
The Magistrate and County Courts handle civil cases that involve $15,000 or less. The Ohio Revised Code requires that Municipal and County courts have a small claims division, referred to as Small Claims Court, which takes cases involving $6,000 or less. Many debt collection cases in Ohio fall under the jurisdiction of Small Claims Court.
The graphic below illustrates Ohio's civil court structure:
Visit the courthouse where your creditor filed the case and request the records in writing. You can use this Ohio court directory to find the address of your courthouse and the court clerk's contact information. Each court works differently, so some may charge a fee to print out copies of your court records for you. If you don't need copies, you can just ask the clerk to look up the status of your case and ask any other questions you may have regarding the lawsuit.
The Open Records Law states that an individual does not need to state the purpose of the documents requested. Additionally, the identification of the person making the request is not necessary.
You can also submit a request via mail after finding out what you need to include in the letter. Usually, the court clerk will give you a form to fill out because your request may miss crucial details. The information you enter will be used as it is to search for the records. Ensure you get the spelling right because a missing or misplaced letter can prevent them from finding the exact case document.
If you sent the request via mail and it contains errors, they may contact you to confirm the details, or you will have to request again.
If you are requesting copies of your case transcript and deposition, request the court reporter during regular business hours instead of the courts.
Let's consider an example.
Example: Patricia received a lawsuit from American Collection Systems for a debt she stopped paying over a year ago. She wants to confirm if the suit is legitimate and get further details. Patricia will go online and look for the court location. Next, if she is not in a hurry to know the case details, she will mail the request and wait for a call or email requesting her to make payments for a copy to be sent. A quicker option would be to visit the courthouse, fill out a copy request form, and wait for the court staff to make a copy.
At the moment, Ohio does not have a statewide court case search tool like some other states do. However, it does have a Supreme Court case search tool where you can look up any case in the Supreme Court online. This is helpful, but since most civil cases fall under the jurisdiction of the trial courts and never make it to the Supreme Court.
Luckily, The Ohio Judicial System has released an Ohio Trial Courts directory that lists all the trial courts throughout the state. The directory includes a link to each court's website, many of which have a county or court case search tool where you can look up your case online to check its status.
Most of these case searches require that you enter some or all of the following information:
You can narrow your search by selecting the case type: civil, small claims, criminal, traffic, and so on. Keep in mind that, if you're being sued for a debt, your lawsuit will either be a civil or small claims case.
If you do not have any tangible information yet, type in your full name—the last name first, then the first name, and finally your middle name. This should give you a list of cases with similar names, and you will most likely find yours among them.
Now that you have confirmed your creditor has filed a lawsuit against you and know what is in the court records, you must respond to the suit before the deadline is up. In Ohio, you have 28 days to respond to a debt lawsuit. Failure to respond before the deadline will lead to a default judgment, which means your wages can be garnished and liens may be put on your property.
The first step to winning your debt collection lawsuit is to respond with a written Answer. Once you've filed your Answer, you will want to stay updated on your case by following the steps listed in this article. Keep checking the case status online to see if any other action is taken. You may be pleasantly surprised to see that your case is dismissed in response to your Answer.
Learn more about how to respond to a civil lawsuit in this video:
SoloSuit makes it easy to fight debt collectors.
You can use SoloSuit to respond to a debt lawsuit, to send letters to collectors, and even to settle a debt.
SoloSuit's Answer service is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your Answer. Upon completion, we'll have an attorney review your document and we'll file it for you.
"First time getting sued by a debt collector and I was searching all over YouTube and ran across SoloSuit, so I decided to buy their services with their attorney reviewed documentation which cost extra but it was well worth it! SoloSuit sent the documentation to the parties and to the court which saved me time from having to go to court and in a few weeks the case got dismissed!" – James
You can ask your questions on the SoloSuit forum and the community will help you out. Whether you need help now or are just looking for support, we're here for you.
>>Read the FastCompany article: Debt Lawsuits Are Complicated: This Website Makes Them Simpler To Navigate
>>Read the NPR story on SoloSuit. (We can help you in all 50 states.)
Here's a list of guides for other states.
Being sued by a different debt collector? Were making guides on how to beat each one.
Is your credit card company suing you? Learn how you can beat each one.
Going to Court for Credit Card Debt — Key Tips
How to Negotiate Credit Card Debts
How to Settle a Credit Card Debt Lawsuit — Ultimate Guide
Need more info on statutes of limitations? Read our 50-state guide.
Why do debt collectors block their phone numbers?
How long do debt collectors take to respond to debt validation letters?
What are the biggest debt collector companies in the US?
Is Zombie Debt Still a Problem in 2019?
If a car is repossessed, do I still owe the debt?
Is Portfolio Recovery Associates Legit?
Is There a Judgment Against Me Without my Knowledge?
Should I File Bankruptcy Before or After a Judgment?
What is a default judgment?— What do I do?
Summoned to Court for Medical Bills — What Do I Do?
What Happens If Someone Sues You and You Have No Money?
What Happens If You Never Answer Debt Collectors?
What Happens When a Debt Is Sold to a Collection Agency
What is a Stipulated Judgment?
What is the Deadline for a Defendants Answer to Avoid a Default Judgment?
Can a Judgement Creditor Take my Car?
Can I Settle a Debt After Being Served?
Can You Appeal a Default Judgement?
Do I Need a Debt Collection Defense Attorney?
Do I Need a Payday Loans Lawyer?
Do student loans go away after 7 years? — Student Loan Debt Guide
Am I Responsible for My Spouses Medical Debt?
Should I Marry Someone With Debt?
Can a Debt Collector Leave a Voicemail?
How Does Debt Assignment Work?
What Happens If a Defendant Does Not Pay a Judgment?
How Does Debt Assignment Work?
Can You Serve Someone with a Collections Lawsuit at Their Work?
How Many Times Can a Judgment be Renewed in Oklahoma?
Does Debt Consolidation Have Risks?
What Happens If You Avoid Getting Served Court Papers?
Does Student Debt Die With You?
Can Debt Collectors Call You at Work in Texas?
How Much Do You Have to Be in Debt to File for Chapter 7?
What Is the Statute of Limitations on Debt in Washington?
How Long Does a Judgment Last?
Can Private Disability Payments Be Garnished?
Can Debt Collectors Call From Local Numbers?
Does the Fair Credit Reporting Act Work in Florida?
The Truth: Should You Never Pay a Debt Collection Agency?
Should You Communicate with a Debt Collector in Writing or by Telephone?
What Happens After a Motion for Default Is Filed?
Can a Process Server Leave a Summons Taped to My Door?
Need help managing your finances? Check out these resources.
How to Make a Debt Validation Letter - The Ultimate Guide
How to Make a Motion to Compel Arbitration Without an Attorney
How to Stop Wage Garnishment — Everything You Need to Know
How to File an FDCPA Complaint Against Your Debt Collector (Ultimate Guide)
Defending Yourself in Court Against a Debt Collector
Tips on you can to file an FDCPA lawsuit against a debt collection agency
Advice on how to answer a summons for debt collection.
Effective strategies for how to get back on track after a debt lawsuit
New Hampshire Statute of Limitations on Debt
Sample Cease and Desist Letter Against Debt Collectors
The Ultimate Guide to Responding to a Debt Collection Lawsuit in Utah
West Virginia Statute of Limitations on Debt
What debt collectors cannot do — FDCPA explained
Defending Yourself in Court Against Debt Collector
Arkansas Statute of Limitations on Debt
Youre Drowning in Debt — Heres How to Swim
Help! Im Being Sued by My Debt Collector
How to Make a Motion to Vacate Judgment
How to Answer Summons for Debt Collection in Vermont
North Dakota Statute of Limitations on Debt
ClearPoint Debt Management Review
Indiana Statute of Limitations on Debt
Oregon Eviction Laws - What They Say
CuraDebt Debt Settlement Review
How to Write a Re-Aging Debt Letter
How to Appear in Court by Phone
How to Use the Doctrine of Unclean Hands
Debt Consolidation in Eugene, Oregon
Summoned to Court for Medical Bills? What to Do Next
How to Make a Debt Settlement Agreement
Received a 3-Day Eviction Notice? Heres What to Do
How to Answer a Lawsuit for Debt Collection
Tips for Leaving the Country With Unpaid Credit Card Debt
Kansas Statute of Limitations on Debt Collection
How to File in Small Claims Court in Iowa
How to File a Civil Answer in Kings County Supreme Court
Roseland Associates Debt Consolidation Review
Do Debt Collectors Ever Give Up?
Can They Garnish Your Wages for Credit Card Debt?
How Often Do Credit Card Companies Sue for Non-Payment?
How Long Does a Judgement Last?
How Long Before a Creditor Can Garnish Wages?
How to Beat a Bill Collector in Court