RICHARD JUSTICE, et al. Appellees
ERIC SCHELL Appellant
FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF
SUMMIT, OHIO CASE No. CV 2014-03-1566
M. MEDVICK, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.
B. SUGERMAN, Attorney at Law, for Appellees.
DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY
A. SCHAFER, Judge.
Defendant-Appellant, Eric Schell, appeals the judgment of the
Summit County Court of Common Pleas granting
Plaintiffs-Appellees, Richard Justice, James Whited, Edna
Peteya, and David Banks' (collectively,
"Petitioners"), petition for a civil stalking
protection order. We affirm.
Petitioners are public officials and/or residents of Lake
more, Ohio who were involved in a contentious zoning dispute
with Mr. Schell. In 2012, Mr. Schell filed an application for
a zoning permit to construct an over sized garage on his
residential property in the Village of Lake more. Although
the Village initially granted Mr. Schell's permit, it was
later determined that the permit had been issued in error.
Accordingly, the Village later issued a stop-work order to
Mr. Schell after construction of his garage had already
commenced. The Board of Zoning Appeals subsequently denied
Mr. Schell's requested zoning variance. Litigation
ultimately ensued concerning the Village's issuance and
revocation of the permit, and eventually an injunction was
issued enjoining Mr. Schell from constructing the garage.
Petitioners assert that after these zoning issues began, Mr.
Schell began harassing, stalking, and/or threatening them
and/or members of their family.
Thus, in early 2014, Petitioners individually petitioned for
a civil stalking protection order against Mr. Schell pursuant
to R.C. 2903.214 and each case was initially assigned to a
different trial judge. Petitioners sought relief on their own
behalf and on behalf of their respective family members. The
magistrate assigned to each case granted an ex parte
protection order. Although the cases were not yet
consolidated, a magistrate eventually held a joint
evidentiary hearing on Petitioners' respective petitions
on June 10, 2016 and June 28, 2016. At the full hearing, each
party was represented by counsel, was provided with an
opportunity to testify and ask questions of the opposing
party, and was given an opportunity to present evidence. At
the conclusion of the hearing, the magistrate took the matter
under advisement and ultimately issued four separate
five-year civil stalking protection orders in favor of the
Petitioners. Mr. Schell then filed objections to each of the
magistrate's decisions. Due to the duplicative nature of
Mr. Schell's objections, Petitioners filed a motion to
consolidate the cases, which the trial court granted. The
trial court ultimately denied Mr. Schell's objections to
the magistrate's decisions and adopted the
Mr. Schell filed this timely appeal and presents three
assignments of error for our review. To facilitate our
analysis, we elect to address Mr. Schell's assignments of
of Error I
was insufficient evidence to support the magistrate's
decision and/or the magistrate's decision in these
matters were against the manifest weight of the evidence.
of Error II
magistrate improperly heard these cases at once to the