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Ohio Primary Law Legal Research Guide

Guide based on Cleveland-Marshall's Ohio Primary Law Research Guide.Covers Ohio cases, statutes, legislative history, regulations, and administrative decisions.

Citation Formats for Ohio

Effective Jan. 1, 2012, see the  Supreme Court of Ohio Writing Manual.   Most attorneys use this format when filing briefs with Ohio state courts.


Ohio "Web Cite" Citations

For cases as of May 1, 2002, the Ohio Supreme Court posts the following to its website:

1. all Ohio Supreme Court cases,
2. all appellate court cases and
3. Court of Claims opinions.

See Rules for the Reporting of Opinions,.  The Ohio Supreme Court may also post common pleas or other trial court decisions reported in Ohio Miscellaneous (which existed until July 2012). 

The cases posted to the web site are assigned a unique citation, known as the "web cite". See Supreme Court of Ohio Writing Manual at page 5.  It is also sometimes called the "public domain cite". Here is an example of a web cite:


The first number is the year the case was decided, the last number is a unique number for that case.  Cases decided after May 1, 2002 must cite to the web cite, and to the Official Reporter cite (if any). Examples:

Bonacorsi v. Wheeling & Lake Erie Ry. Co., 95 Ohio St.3d 314, 2002-Ohio-2220, 767 N.E.2d 707

Brown v. McClain Constr. Co., 3d Dist. No. 16-01-19, 2002-Ohio-2834

When a web cite is not available, and the case is printed in a reporter, use the reporter citation, example:

Mers v. Dispatch Printing Co, 19 Ohio St.3d 100, 483 N.E.2d 150 (1985)

When a web cite is not available and the case was not published in a print reporter use:

Jones v. Brown, 8th Dist. No. 18220,  (Apr. 4, 1998)