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Farakhan v. Wade

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth District, Summit

March 30, 2018

SYED FARAKHAN Appellee
v.
LASHAWN WADE Appellant

          APPEAL FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE AKRON MUNICIPAL COURT COUNTY OF SUMMIT, OHIO CASE No. 17 CV 06648

          GREGORY R. SAIN, Attorney at law, for Appellant.

          SYED FARAKHAN, pro se, Appellee.

          DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY

          LYNNE S. CALLAHAN, Judge.

         {¶1} Appellant, Lashawn Wade, appeals from the default judgment entered against her in the Akron Municipal Court as to the second cause of action for money damages. For the reasons set forth below, this Court reverses.

         I.

         {¶2} Syed Farakhan rented the premises at 411 Noble Avenue in Akron to Ms. Wade. On August 18, 2017, Mr. Farakhan filed a complaint for forcible entry and detainer and money damages for unpaid rent and water bills against Ms. Wade. The docket reflects personal service of the summons and complaint upon Ms. Wade on August 25, 2017.[1]

         {¶3} On September 8, 2017, a magistrate held a hearing on Mr. Farakhan's first cause of action for forcible entry and detainer and concluded that the writ be allowed. On the same day, the trial judge adopted the Magistrate's conclusion and ordered a writ of restitution.

         {¶4} On September 15, 2017, Mr. Farakhan filed an application for default judgment as to his second cause of action for money damages. Four days later, on September 19, 2017, the trial court granted default judgment against Ms. Wade and in favor of Mr. Farakhan in the amount of $1, 179. Ms. Wade timely appeals from this judgment entry, asserting one assignment of error.

         II.

         ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR

         THE TRIAL COURT ERRED WHEN IT GRANTED [MR. FARAKHAN'S] APPLICATION FOR DEFAULT PRIOR TO [THE] EXPIRATION OF THE TIME FOR AN ANSWER OR OTHER REPLY TO THE COMPLAINT.

         {¶5} In her sole assignment of error, Ms. Wade argues that the trial court erred by granting a default judgment against her prior to the expiration of the period of time to file an answer to the complaint. This Court agrees.

         {¶6} This Court reviews a trial court's decision to grant or deny a motion for default judgment for an abuse of discretion. Thomas v. Steps, 9th Dist. Summit No. 27187, 2014-Ohio-5018, ¶ 5. "However, where a trial court's order is based on a misconstruction of law, an abuse-of-discretion standard is not appropriate; in determining questions of law, an appellate court may properly substitute its judgment for that of the trial court." Swartzentruber v. Orrville Grace Brethren Church,163 Ohio App.3d 96, 2005-Ohio-4264, ¶ 6 (9th Dist.). See Telxon Corp. v. Smart Media of Del, Inc., 9th Dist. Summit Nos. 22098 and 22099, 2005-Ohio-4931, ΒΆ 131 (interpretation or application of the Ohio Rules of Civil ...


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