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Tredanary v. Fritz

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eleventh District, Lake

June 19, 2018

ANTOINETTE TREDANARY, Petitioner-Appellant,
v.
DANIEL FRITZ, Respondent-Appellee.

          Civil Appeal from the Lake County Court of Common Pleas, Domestic Relations Division, Case No. 2017 DV 000153.

          David M. Lynch, For Petitioner-Appellant.

          Elaine Tassi, For Respondent-Appellee.

          OPINION

          DIANE V. GRENDELL, J.

         {¶1} Petitioner-appellant, Antoinette Tredanary, appeals an award of attorney fees from the Lake County Court of Common Pleas, Domestic Relations Division. The issue before this court is whether a court may avoid holding a hearing on a motion for sanctions pursuant to R.C. 2323.51 and Civil Rule 11 where the court determines such a hearing would be burdensome for the parties. For the following reasons, we reverse the decision of the court below and remand for further proceedings.

         {¶2} On July 19, 2017, Tredanary filed a Petition for Domestic Violence Civil Protection Order (R.C. 3113.31) alleging that the respondent-appellee, Daniel Fritz, had committed acts of domestic violence against their son.[1] A Civil Protection Order was issued ex parte allocating to Tredanary "temporary possession of the protected child."

         {¶3} On August 17, 2017, following the full hearing on the Petition mandated by Civil Rule 65.1, a Magistrate's Order issued, dismissing the Petition and terminating the ex parte Order as Tredanary failed to meet her burden of proof.

         {¶4} On August 29, 2017, Tredanary filed Objections to the Magistrate's Decision with a Request for Leave to Supplement these Objections once the Transcript of the Hearing is Prepared. The domestic relations court granted Tredanary until September 29, 2017, to file the transcript and supplemental objections.

         {¶5} On September 15, 2017, Fritz filed a Motion for Attorney Fees and Expenses pursuant to R.C. 2323.51 and a Motion for Sanctions pursuant to Civil Rule 11.

         {¶6} On September 25, 2017, a Magistrate's Order issued, ruling that "the respondent's motions shall be set for hearing, once the petitioner's objections have been decided."

         {¶7} On October 23, 2017, the domestic relations court adopted the August 17 Magistrate's Order and overruled Tredanary's Objections. The court noted that Tredanary failed to file a transcript of supplementary objections and, inasmuch as "the Petitioner's objection is fact based, said objection cannot be considered without a transcript." With respect to Fritz' Motions for Attorney Fees and Sanctions, the court ruled: "Counsel for the Respondent is ordered to file by November 9, 2017, her affidavit of fees and companion billing invoice detailing the legal services provided in the instant case for the Court's consideration."

         {¶8} On November 3, 2017, counsel for Fritz submitted an Affidavit of Reasonable Attorney Fees and Costs in the amount of $3, 690.

         {¶9} On November 27, 2017, the domestic relations court awarded Fritz attorney fees in the amount of $3, 690. The court held:

The Court finds a hearing on the Respondent's August 29, 2017 Motion for Attorney Fees and Costs will only increase the attorney fees incurred by both parties. Such a hearing would be burdensome for both parties and inequitable as to the Respondent. The Petitioner has had over 21 days to file a response to the Respondent's fee affidavit and chose not to do so. The Court finds the fee ...

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