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Cyran v. Cyran

Supreme Court of Ohio

January 4, 2018

Cyran, Appellee,
v.
Cyran, Appellant.

          Submitted September 13, 2017

         Appeal from and Certified by the Court of Appeals for Montgomery County, No. 27009, 2016-Ohio-7323.

          Wright & Schulte, L.L.C., and Stephen D. Behnke, for appellant.

          O'NEILL, JUDGE.

         {¶ 1} In this case we are asked to determine whether the collateral-consequences exception to mootness applies to an appeal of an expired domestic- violence civil protection order issued pursuant to R.C. 3113.31, in the absence of any collateral consequences at the time of the appeal. We hold that absent a showing of legal collateral consequences resulting from an expired domestic-violence civil protection order, an appeal of that order is moot.

         Facts and Procedural History

         {¶ 2} Rebecca and Curtis Cyran's marriage was dissolved in 2013, and a shared-parenting decree was put into effect for their three sons. On June 19, 2015, in the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas, Domestic Relations Division, Rebecca filed a petition for a domestic-violence civil protection order against Curtis under R.C. 3113.31. The incident that led Rebecca to file the petition took place when she was picking up the children from Curtis on June 17, 2015. Rebecca's petition stated that she was approaching the front door of Curtis's house when Curtis rushed out the front door and threw her backward into the bushes. The petition added that Curtis went back inside the house, then came back out and said Rebecca was lucky that he did not shoot her. The domestic-relations court issued an ex parte domestic-violence civil protection order on June 19, 2015. The order made no change to Curtis and Rebecca's parenting schedule and was to remain in effect until June 19, 2016.

         {¶ 3} On July 2, 2015, a magistrate conducted a full evidentiary hearing on Rebecca's petition. The magistrate found by a preponderance of the evidence that Rebecca was in danger of or had been a victim of domestic violence as defined in R.C. 3113.31(A) and on August 20, 2015, issued a decision and permanent domestic-violence civil protection order that expired on June 19, 2016. Curtis timely objected to the magistrate's decision, arguing that his statement was a conditional threat and that the protection order was not supported by the manifest weight of the evidence. On January 15, 2016, the trial court dismissed Curtis's objections and adopted the magistrate's order without change, retaining the June 19, 2016 expiration date. Curtis timely appealed. On September 9, 2016, the appellate court issued a show-cause order asking the parties to explain why the case should not be dismissed as moot because the protection order had expired. Curtis responded that Rebecca had sought the domestic-violence civil protection order only as leverage for herself in future postdivorce proceedings. Curtis also argued that he faced the possibility of collateral consequences with respect to his concealed-firearm permit and his credit report as well as his ability to obtain housing, drive certain vehicles, and obtain future employment. He urged the court to adopt the Eighth District's rule that the possibility of collateral consequences is sufficient to support appellate consideration of an expired domestic-violence civil protection order. See Wilder v. Perna, 174 Ohio App.3d 586, 2007-Ohio-6635, 883 N.E.2d 1095 (8th Dist). Rebecca did not respond to the show-cause order, and she did not seek to extend the protection order.

         {¶ 4} On October 14, 2016, the appellate court dismissed the appeal as moot. The court examined each of the potential collateral consequences asserted by Curtis and found no provision of Ohio law imposing sanctions or adverse legal consequences on the basis of an expired protection order. The court acknowledged the Eighth District's Wilder decision but declined to apply it. The court determined that it had no authority to speculate whether Curtis would suffer collateral consequences from the expired order in future post-divorce proceedings.

         {¶ 5} Curtis appealed to this court, asserting the following two propositions of law:

Proposition of Law No. 1: The collateral consequences exception to mootness applies to an appeal from an expired protection order when the appellant faces possible collateral consequences that may not be ascertainable at the time of the appeal.
Proposition of Law No. 2: There is a rebuttable presumption that an appeal from an expired protection order is not moot.

         {¶ 6} On February 22, 2017, this court accepted Curtis's discretionary appeal. 148 Ohio St 3d 1409, 2017-Ohio-573, 69 N.E.3d 750. We also determined that a conflict exists between the Second Appellate District's decision in this case and the Eighth Appellate District's decision in Wilder on the following question of law: "Does the collateral consequences exception to mootness apply to an appeal from an expired protective order when the appellant faces possible collateral consequences that may not be ascertainable at the time of the appeal?" Accordingly, we consolidated Curtis's discretionary appeal with the certified-conflict case. 148 Ohio St.3d 1408, 2017-Ohio-573, 69 N.E.3d 749.

         {¶ 7} We reject both propositions of law and answer the certified question in the negative. We hold that in the absence of demonstrated legal collateral consequences, the collateral-consequences exception to the mootness doctrine does not apply to an expired domestic-violence civil protection order. In reaching this conclusion, however, we express no opinion about whether another exception to the mootness doctrine might apply in a different case. We also ...


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