2743.03 Court of claims.

(A)

(1) There is hereby created a court of claims. The court of claims is a court of record and has exclusive, original jurisdiction of all civil actions against the state permitted by the waiver of immunity contained in section 2743.02 of the Revised Code and exclusive jurisdiction of the causes of action of all parties in civil actions that are removed to the court of claims. The court shall have full equity powers in all actions within its jurisdiction and may entertain and determine all counterclaims, cross-claims, and third-party claims.

(2) If the claimant in a civil action as described in division (A)(1) of this section also files a claim for a declaratory judgment, injunctive relief, or other equitable relief against the state that arises out of the same circumstances that gave rise to the civil action described in division (A)(1) of this section, the court of claims has exclusive, original jurisdiction to hear and determine that claim in that civil action. This division does not affect, and shall not be construed as affecting, the original jurisdiction of another court of this state to hear and determine a civil action in which the sole relief that the claimant seeks against the state is a declaratory judgment, injunctive relief, or other equitable relief.

(3) In addition to its exclusive, original jurisdiction as conferred by division (A)(1) and (2) of this section, the court of claims has exclusive, original jurisdiction as described in division (F) of section 2743.02, division (B) of section 3335.03, and division (C) of section 5903.02 of the Revised Code.

(B) The court of claims shall sit in Franklin county, its hearings shall be public, and it shall consist of incumbent justices or judges of the supreme court, courts of appeals, or courts of common pleas, or retired justices or judges eligible for active duty pursuant to division (C) of Section 6 of Article IV, Ohio Constitution, sitting by temporary assignment of the chief justice of the supreme court. The chief justice may direct the court to sit in any county for cases on removal upon a showing of substantial hardship and whenever justice dictates.

(C)

(1) A civil action against the state shall be heard and determined by a single judge. Upon application by the claimant or the state, the chief justice of the supreme court may assign a panel of three judges to hear and determine a civil action presenting novel or complex issues of law or fact. Concurrence of two members of the panel is necessary for any judgment or order.

(2) Whenever the chief justice of the supreme court believes an equitable resolution of a case will be expedited, the chief justice may appoint magistrates in accordance with Civil Rule 53 to hear the case.

(3) When any dispute under division (B) of section 153.12 of the Revised Code is brought to the court of claims, upon request of either party to the dispute, the chief justice of the supreme court shall appoint a single referee or a panel of three referees. The referees need not be attorneys, but shall be persons knowledgeable about construction contract law, a member of the construction industry panel of the American arbitration association, or an individual or individuals deemed qualified by the chief justice to serve. No person shall serve as a referee if that person has been employed by an affected state agency or a contractor or subcontractor involved in the dispute at any time in the preceding five years. Proceedings governing referees shall be in accordance with Civil Rule 53, except as modified by this division. The referee or panel of referees shall submit its report, which shall include a recommendation and finding of fact, to the judge assigned to the case by the chief justice, within thirty days of the conclusion of the hearings. Referees appointed pursuant to this division shall be compensated on a per diem basis at the same rate as is paid to judges of the court and also shall be paid their expenses. If a single referee is appointed or a panel of three referees is appointed, then, with respect to one referee of the panel, the compensation and expenses of the referee shall not be taxed as part of the costs in the case but shall be included in the budget of the court. If a panel of three referees is appointed, the compensation and expenses of the two remaining referees shall be taxed as costs of the case.

All costs of a case shall be apportioned among the parties. The court may not require that any party deposit with the court cash, bonds, or other security in excess of two hundred dollars to guarantee payment of costs without the prior approval in each case of the chief justice.

(4) An appeal from a decision of the attorney general pursuant to sections 2743.51 to 2743.72 of the Revised Code shall be heard and determined by the court of claims.

(D) The Rules of Civil Procedure shall govern practice and procedure in all actions in the court of claims, except insofar as inconsistent with this chapter. The supreme court may promulgate rules governing practice and procedure in actions in the court as provided in Section 5 of Article IV, Ohio Constitution.

(E)

(1) A party who files a counterclaim against the state or makes the state a third-party defendant in an action commenced in any court, other than the court of claims, shall file a petition for removal in the court of claims. The petition shall state the basis for removal, be accompanied by a copy of all process, pleadings, and other papers served upon the petitioner, and shall be signed in accordance with Civil Rule 11. A petition for removal based on a counterclaim shall be filed within twenty-eight days after service of the counterclaim of the petitioner. A petition for removal based on third-party practice shall be filed within twenty-eight days after the filing of the third-party complaint of the petitioner.

(2) Within seven days after filing a petition for removal, the petitioner shall give written notice to the parties, and shall file a copy of the petition with the clerk of the court in which the action was brought originally. The filing effects the removal of the action to the court of claims, and the clerk of the court where the action was brought shall forward all papers in the case to the court of claims. The court of claims shall adjudicate all civil actions removed. The court may remand a civil action to the court in which it originated upon a finding that the removal petition does not justify removal, or upon a finding that the state is no longer a party.

(3) Bonds, undertakings, or security and injunctions, attachments, sequestrations, or other orders issued prior to removal remain in effect until dissolved or modified by the court of claims.

Amended by 130th General Assembly File No. TBD, HB 261, §1, eff. 7/10/2014.

Effective Date: 09-26-1988; 2008 SB289 08-22-2008