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Village of Baltimore v. Ansel

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District, Fairfield

August 24, 2017

VILLAGE OF BALTIMORE Plaintiff-Appellee
v.
SARAH K. ANSEL Defendant-Appellant

         Civil appeal from the Fairfield County Municipal Court, Case No. CVI 1700141

          For Plaintiff-Appellee AMBER DUBER Regional Income Tax Agency.

          For Defendant-Appellant SARAH K. ANSEL Pro Se.

          Hon. W. Scott Gwin, P.J. Hon. John W. Wise, J. Hon. Earle E. Wise, J.

          OPINION

          Gwin, P.J.

         {¶1} Appellant appeals the March 3, 2017 judgment entry of the Fairfield County Municipal Court, Small Claims Division.

         Facts & Procedural History

         {¶2} On January 18, 2017, appellee the Village of Baltimore c/o the Regional Income Tax Agency filed a small claims complaint against appellant Sarah Ansel. The complaint was commenced by Gabe Lancione ("Lancione"), an authorized employee of the Regional Income Tax Agency ("RITA"), the duly authorized income tax administrator for the Village of Baltimore. The face of the complaint contains an affidavit by Lancione attesting to the amount due. The complaint alleges appellant failed to pay municipal income taxes, penalties, and interest to appellee in the amount of $629.22 for tax years 2010 through 2015.

         {¶3} A notice and summons issued on January 18, 2017 is addressed to appellant and states appellee asks for judgment against her for $629.22 for municipal income tax years 2010 through 2015. The notice and summons provides, "the court will hold trial upon this claim at 136 W. Main Street, Lancaster, Ohio, 43130 at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, the 28th of February, 2017." Further, the notice and summons provides,

If you do not appear at the trial, the judgment may be entered against you by default, and your earnings may be subjected to garnishment or your property may be attached to satisfy the judgment. If your defense is supported by witnesses, account books, receipts, or other documents, you must produce them at the trial. Subpoenas for witnesses, if required by a party, will be issued by the clerk. If you admit the claim but desire time to pay, you may make such a request at the trial. * * *

         {¶4} Attached to the complaint is a statement by Allana Lombardo, auditor of accounts at the RITA, certifying a statement that is a true and correct description of the tax records which are maintained by the agency for appellant. The statement lists the taxes, penalty, interest, payments, and balance due for each year.

         {¶5} Appellant was served with the notice, summons, and complaint via certified mail on January 23, 2017.

         {¶6} The trial court issued a judgment entry on March 3, 2017. The judgment entry states the matter came before the court on February 28, 2017 for trial upon appellee's complaint. Further, that Lancione "appeared on behalf of Plaintiff; Defendant failed to appear." The trial court found, "based upon evidence adduced through sworn testimony and exhibits duly admitted, the court finds that Plaintiff has established the allegations in the complaint by a preponderance of the evidence." The trial court issued a judgment for appellee in the amount of $629.22 plus interest at the rate of 4% per annum and costs.

         {¶7} Appellant appeals the March 3, 2017 judgment entry of the Fairfield Municipal Court, Small Claims Division, ...


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