Anne-Marie E. Martin, Appellee
Emily J. Popson, Appellant
Trial Court No. 12-CV-487H.
Kristopher K. Hill and Thomas J. DeBacco, for appellee.
Ron Nisch, for appellant.
DECISION AND JUDGMENT
(¶ 1} Appellant appeals the issuance of a civil stalking protective order against her by the Ottawa County Court of Common Pleas. Because we conclude that appellee presented evidence sufficient to support the order, we affirm.
(¶ 2} Appellee, Anne-Marie E. Martin, is a horse trainer who in 2012 worked out of the same Marblehead stable where appellant, Emily J. Popson, boards her horse. According to appellee's subsequent testimony, during summer she had multiple unpleasant encounters with appellant who is physically the larger of the two. Appellee characterized appellant as confrontational and verbally abusive, at one point directing appellee not to turn out her horses when appellant was riding.
(¶ 3} On August 30, 2012, a physical altercation occurred between the two women. Appellee testified it was at the instigation of appellant and escalated to appellant striking appellee multiple times in the face with a closed fist. According to appellant, she sustained a concussion, a broken nose and numerous abrasions as the result of this attack. Police were called and appellant was charged with assault.
(¶ 4} On September 12, 2012, appellee petitioned the court for a civil stalking protective order, alleging that appellant had been verbally and physically abusive toward her and that as a result appellee feared to go to her workplace. The court issued the order ex parte, then, following a full hearing, confirmed the order for a five year period. From the issuance of this order, appellant now brings this appeal. Appellant sets forth the following two assignments of error:
I. The Appellee presented insufficient evidence to show that Appellant violated R.C. Sec. 2903.211 and that Appellee was entitled to the issuance of a civil protection order pursuant to R.C. Sec. 2903.214(C).
II. The trial court's October 30, 2012 issuance of a Civil Protection Stalking Order was against the manifest weight of the evidence.
(¶ 5} We shall discuss appellant's assignments of error together.
(¶ 6} The issuance of a civil stalking protection order is governed by R.C. 2903.214. A petitioner may obtain such an order if he or she proves by a preponderance of the evidence that the person against whom the order is directed engaged in behavior that constituted menacing by stalking against the petitioner. R.C. 2903.214(C)(1). Palmer v. Abraham, 6th Dist. Ottawa No. OT-12-028, 2013-Ohio-3062, ¶ 11. R.C. 2903.211 defines the offense of menacing by stalking. The statute provides that "No person by engaging in a pattern of conduct shall knowingly cause another person to believe that the offender will cause physical harm to the other person or cause mental distress to the other person." R.C. 2903.211(A)(1). A "pattern of conduct" is two or more actions or incidents closely related in time. R.C. 2902.211(D)(1); Palmer, supra, at ¶ 12. A person acts "knowingly" when he or she is aware that his or her conduct will more likely than not cause a certain result or will more likely than not be of a certain nature. Id. . at ¶ 13; R.C. 2901.22(B).
(¶ 7} Appellant argues that appellee presented insufficient evidence of the elements of R.C. 2903.211 to establish a violation and that the trial court's determination that the offense had been established was against the manifest weight of the evidence.
(¶ 8} The standard of review for sufficiency of the evidence and manifest weight are the same in a civil case as in a criminal case. Eastley v. Volkman, 132 Ohio St.3d 328, 2012-Ohio-2179, 972 N.E.2d 517, ¶ 17. Weight of the evidence concerns the greater amount of credible evidence offered in trial to support one side or the other of an issue. The party having the burden of proof will be entitled to a verdict if the trier of fact, on weighing the evidence, finds that the greater amount of credible evidence ...