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Cornell v. Hatfield

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Twelfth District, Fayette

February 12, 2018

ASHLEY CORNELL, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
NICHOLAS HATFIELD, Defendant-Appellant.

         APPEAL FROM FAYETTE COUNTY COURT OF COMMON PLEAS DOMESTIC RELATIONS DIVISION Case No. DRH 20160274

          Mary E. King, for plaintiff-appellee

          Jeffrey A. McCormick, for defendant-appellant

          OPINION

          RINGLAND, J.

         {¶ 1} Respondent-appellant, Nicholas Hatfield, appeals a decision of the Fayette County Court of Common Pleas granting the petition of petitioner-appellee, Ashley Cornell, for a domestic violence civil protection order (DVCPO). For the reasons detailed below, we affirm.

         {¶ 2} On November 4, 2016, Cornell filed for a DVCPO seeking protection from Hatfield, who is her ex-boyfriend and the father of her daughter. Cornell alleged that Hatfield had confronted her fiancé, Jamie Mallow, at his place of employment and Hatfield began making threats to kill Cornell and break into her residence. The trial court granted an ex parte DVCPO and set the matter for a full hearing.

         {¶ 3} At a hearing held on January 3, 2017 and February 28, 2017, both parties presented testimony as to the alleged altercation. Hatfield denied that any such altercation had ever occurred.

         {¶ 4} Following the hearing, the trial court determined that Hatfield had committed domestic violence and issued a DVCPO. The protection order included Cornell and Mallow, as well as three of Mallow's children that resided in their shared residence, and Cornell's parents. Hatfield now appeals the decision of the trial court and raises two assignments of error for review.

         {¶ 5} Assignment of Error No. 1:

         {¶ 6} THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN GRANTING A DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CIVIL PROTECTION ORDER WHEN THERE WAS INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT THE ORDER.

         {¶ 7} In his first assignment of error, Hatfield argues that there was insufficient evidence to support the issuance of the DVCPO and that the trial court erred by including additional parties in the order of protection. We find no merit to Hatfield's argument.

         {¶ 8} A petition for a DVCPO is governed by R.C. 3113.31. Crawford v. Brandon, 12th Dist. Butler Nos. CA2013-08-150 and CA2013-08-151, 2014-Ohio-3659, ¶ 6. In order to obtain a DVCPO, the petitioner must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the respondent has engaged in an act of domestic violence against petitioner or petitioner's family or household members. Caramico v. Caramico, 12th Dist. Clermont No. CA2015-03-025, 2015-Ohio-4232, ¶ 25.

         {¶ 9} A trial court's decision to grant or deny a DVCPO will not be reversed where such decision is supported by the manifest weight of the evidence. Kohus v. Daly, 12th Dist. Clermont No. CA2015-05-042, 2016-Ohio-73, ¶ 43. Under a manifest weight challenge, this court weighs the evidence and all reasonable inferences, considers the credibility of witnesses and determines whether, in resolving conflicts in the evidence, the finder of fact clearly lost its way and created such a manifest miscarriage of justice that the judgment must be reversed and a new trial ordered. Id. A judgment will not be reversed as being against the manifest weight of the evidence where the judgment is supported by some competent, credible evidence going to all essential elements of the case. Id.

         {¶ 10} Based on our review, we find the trial court did not error by granting the DVCPO. In the present case, the trial court heard evidence that Hatfield went to Mallow's place of employment, unleashed a verbal tirade, and then threatened to harm Mallow, Cornell, and members of ...


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