Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
DOVER WEST CONDOMINIUM UNIT OWNERS' ASSOCIATION PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE
JOCELYN T. CARANDANG, ET AL. DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS
Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANTS L. Bryan Carr
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Joseph E. DiBaggio Robert E. Kmiecik
Kaman & Cusimano, L.L.C.
BEFORE: S. Gallagher, J., Kilbane, P.J., and Blackmon, J.
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
C. GALLAGHER, JUDGE.
Defendant-appellant Jocelyn Carandang ("appellant")
appeals from the denial of a motion for relief from judgment.
Upon review, we affirm the decision of the trial court.
On February 13, 2015, plaintiff-appellee Dover West
Condominium Unit Owners' Association, Inc. ("the
Association"), filed a complaint for preliminary and
permanent injunction against appellant. The Association
alleged in the complaint that appellant was in violation of
the Association's declaration and bylaws by engaging in
nuisance behavior on the condominium property. The alleged
nuisance behavior included and was not limited to
"harassing other residents, filing false complaints
against other residents * * *, making loud banging noises in
her unit, slamming doors in her unit, yelling and screaming
in her unit, throwing items down the stairs, leaving garbage
in the hallway, [and] leaving notes on other residents'
doors[.]" The Association also alleged that appellant
"bangs on other residents' doors and tries to
forcibly enter other units, while yelling and screaming and
acting aggressively[.]" The Association further alleged
that appellant had refused to abate the violation despite
written demands. The Association sought to enforce its
declaration and bylaws and to obtain injunctive relief
pursuant to R.C. 5311.19. The Association also sought
reimbursement of all costs, expenses, and attorney fees
incurred with regard to the action, which enforcement costs
were recoverable under the Association's declaration and
Appellant appeared pro se at the proceedings in the matter,
but did not file an answer. On October 6, 2015, the
Association filed a motion for default judgment with a
supporting affidavit attesting to the allegations in the
complaint. Following an evidentiary hearing, the trial court
granted the motion for default judgment and permanently
enjoined appellant from creating a nuisance on the property.
Further, the court recognized the Association was entitled to
recoupment of its enforcement costs pursuant to the
Association's declaration and bylaws. The court ordered
appellant to reimburse the Association in the amount of costs
and attorney fees incurred in the enforcement of the
declaration in an amount to be determined. On February 9,
2016, the trial court entered a judgment in the amount of
$14, 328.20 plus costs in favor of the Association and
against Carandang. No direct appeal was filed.
Just over one year later, on February 17, 2017, appellant
filed a motion for relief from judgment. The trial court
denied the motion. In its judgment entry, the trial court set
forth the following facts:
This case was an action brought by a condominium association
against one of its residents due to her ongoing disruptive
and threatening conduct that created a nuisance for other
residents in the building. Defendant appeared at all
proceedings pro se but persistently refused to file
an answer or retain counsel despite repeated warnings by the
Court. * * *
On November 3, 2015, the Court held the hearing on Plaintiffs
Motion for Default Judgment and allowed Plaintiff to present
evidence supporting its request for injunctive relief.
Defendant appeared late to the proceedings. The Court did not
allow Defendant to cross examine the witness because her
conduct was argumentative and digressed from the evidence at
issue but permitted the Defendant to lodge arguments and
objections directly to the Court. Notably, in doing so,
Defendant fully admitted to repeatedly engaging in disruptive
and threatening conduct.
Based on the evidence presented, including Defendant's
own statements to the Court about her actions, the Court
granted Plaintiffs Motion for Default Judgment on November 5,
2015. Pursuant to the condominium instruments and R.C.
5311.23, Plaintiff was entitled to recover its attorneys'
fees which were granted by order dated February 9, 2016.
The trial court proceeded to consider whether Civ.R. 60(B)
relief was warranted. The court found that appellant had
failed to present a meritorious defense; that her motion was
untimely as to arguments raised under Civ.R. 60(B)(1), (2),
or (3); that Civ.R. 60(B)(4) did not apply; and that her
decision to proceed as a pro se litigant did not warrant
relief under Civ.R. 60(B)(5). The trial court emphasized that
appellant "was repeatedly cautioned about proceeding
pro se, she was allowed more than ample time to
respond or seek counsel yet she refused to do so"
despite every possible allowance being afforded to her during
the proceedings. The court also found that the evidence
established the alleged facts and that appellant admitted to
repeatedly engaging in disruptive and threatening conduct.
As to the award of attorney fees, the trial court found that
an affidavit in support of attorney fees was filed and that
"Defendant failed to file any objection, argument in
opposition, or defense to Plaintiff's Request for
Attorney Fees." Thus, the trial court found: "There