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Reigert v. Ruscin

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth District, Lorain

May 29, 2018

JOHN L. REIGERT, EXECUTOR OF THE ESTATE OF LORI A. REIGERT, DECEASED Appellant
v.
KEVIN A. RUSCIN Appellee

          APPEAL FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF LORAIN, OHIO CASE No. 16PC00032

          JOHN L. REIGERT, pro se, Appellant.

          JAMES D. FALVEY, Attorney at Law, for Appellee.

          DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY

          THOMAS A. TEODOSIO JUDGE

         {¶1} John L. Reigert, executor of the estate of Lori A. Reigert, appeals the judgment of the Lorain County Court of Common Pleas, Probate Division, entered on August 10, 2017, overruling his objections and adopting the magistrate's decision. We affirm.

         I.

         {¶2} Lori A. Reigert passed away in March 2016, and her father, John L. Reigert, was appointed as executor of the estate. In June 2016, Mr. Reigert filed a complaint alleging concealment of assets against Kevin A. Ruscin, who had been Ms. Reigert's fiancé. The assets at issue included an engagement ring, a bike rack, a space heater, and two card tables. At a hearing before the magistrate in November 2016, Mr. Reigert also disputed ownership of the proceeds of a fundraiser held at the Willoughby Brewing Company. Also at the hearing, Mr. Ruscin was questioned with regard to a proposed release of claims drafted by his attorney and presented to Mr. Reigert.

         {¶3} The magistrate issued a decision in December 2016, and upon Mr. Reigert's request for findings of fact and conclusions of law, the magistrate issued a supplemental decision in January 2017. Mr. Reigert filed objections to these decisions, and on August 10, 2017, the trial court overruled Mr. Reigert's objections and adopted the decision of the magistrate, finding Mr. Ruscin not guilty of the concealment of assets. The trial court entered judgment that the engagement ring and bike rack were the property of Mr. Ruscin, denied Mr. Reigert's claims as to the remaining tangible personal property items, and divided the proceeds of the Willoughby Brewing Company fundraiser equally between Mr. Ruscin and Ms. Reigert's estate.

         {¶4} Mr. Reigert now appeals, raising one assignment of error.

         II.

         ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR

         THE MAGISTRATE IN THE HEARING AND IN HIS DECISION/SUPPLEMENT DECISION (AKA DECISION) AND THE TRIAL COURT IN ITS JUDG[]MENT IGNORED THE PLAINTIFF'S/APPELLANT'S OBJECTIONS TO THE DECISION, ABUSED JUDICIAL DISCRETION, IGNORED MULTIPLE, OBVIOUS PLAIN ERRORS, MADE DECISIONS AGAINST THE MANIFEST WEIGHT AND SUFFICENCY OF THE EVIDENCE[, ] AND [WERE] BIAS[ED]/PREJUDICE[D] AGAINST THE PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT REIGERT, THE EXECUTOR, THROUGHOUT THE PROCESS SO THAT THE PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT REIGERT, EXECUTOR[, ] WAS NOT AFFORDED HIS RIGHT TO A FAIR TRIAL.

         {¶5} In his assignment of error, Mr. Reigert raises multiple arguments which he has divided into six categories: bias, the release, the ring, fundraiser proceeds, the bike rack, and miscellaneous personal property. We adopt this structure in addressing his arguments below.

         {¶6} "This Court reviews a trial court's action with respect to a magistrate's decision for an abuse of discretion." Tabatabai v. Tabatabai, 9th Dist. Medina No. 08CA0049-M, 2009- Ohio-3139, ¶ 17. An abuse of discretion is more than an error of judgment; it means that the trial court was unreasonable, arbitrary, or unconscionable in its ruling. Blakemore v. Blakemore, 5 Ohio St.3d 217, 219 (1983). As a reviewing court applying the abuse of discretion standard, we may not substitute our judgment for that of the trial court. Pons v. Ohio State Med. Bd., 66 Ohio St.3d 619, 621 ...


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