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State ex rel. Eichenberger v. Jamison

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Tenth District

June 28, 2019

State ex rel. Raymond L. Eichenberger, Relator,
v.
Judge Terri B. Jamison et al., Respondents.

         IN MANDAMUS ON OBJECTIONS TO THE MAGISTRATE'S DECISION

          Raymond L. Eichenberger, pro se.

          Ron O'Brien, Prosecuting Attorney, and Bryan B. Lee, for respondents.

          DECISION

          DORRIAN, J.

         {¶ 1} In this original action, relator, Raymond L. Eichenberger, filed his complaint in mandamus seeking a writ compelling respondent, Judge Terri B. Jamison of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, Division of Domestic Relations, to rule on the merits of relator's underlying divorce matter and release to relator an appeal bond posted by relator. Relator also names the administrative judge of the domestic relations court as a respondent, but the complaint does not specify any claim or relief sought against this party. Relator further seeks an award of attorney fees and court costs he has expended in this mandamus action.

         {¶ 2} Pursuant to Civ.R. 53 and Loc.R. 13(M) of the Tenth District Court of Appeals, we referred this matter to a magistrate, who issued the appended decision, including findings of fact and conclusions of law. The magistrate sua sponte reviewed the trial court record in this case and took judicial notice of later proceedings before the trial court in Franklin C.P. No. 14DR-4674. The magistrate noted that the trial court had set this case for hearing on May 8, 2019 and was proceeding toward final judgment with this case. Accordingly, the magistrate concluded the matter had become moot because relator had obtained the result corresponding to the relief sought in this case. The magistrate recommended this court sua sponte dismiss this action.

         {¶ 3} Relator has filed the following two objections to the magistrate's decision:

         [I.] THE MAGISTRATE ERRED AS A MATTER OF LAW BY EITHER REFUSING TO RECOGNIZE THE MANDAMUS CASE AS AUTOMATICALLY STAYING THE LOWER COURT ACTION, OR BY REFUSING TO GRANT THE RELATOR'S MOTIONS FOR A STAY OF THE LOWER COURT PROCEEDING.

         [II.] THE MAGISTRATE ERRED AS A MATTER OF LAW IN STATING THAT THE TRIAL COURT HAD A RIGHT TO PROCEED WITH THE UNDERLYING TRIAL COURT CASE IN ORDER TO MAKE THE MANDAMUS ACTION MOOT.

         {¶ 4} We will discuss the objections together as relator's arguments in support thereof are intertwined. Relator argues as follows:

1) it is a uniform and common practice in Ohio and Franklin County courts that a trial judge will not proceed forward in a case when a Mandamus action has been filed in the underlying case, 2) a trial Court lacks jurisdiction in a case when an appeal has been filed (and the Mandamus action is a quasi-appeal and has all of the characteristics of an appeal), and, 3) Ohio courts have held that the Stay provisions of Civil Rule 62 govern the filing of Writs in the courts of Ohio, including a Complaint for a Writ of Mandamus.

(Relator's Objs. at 3.)

         {¶ 5} Relator points this court to State ex rel. Special Prosecutors v. Judges, Court of Common Pleas, 55 Ohio St.2d 94, 97 (1978). Special Prosecutor's states: "The general rule of law is that the trial court loses jurisdiction to take action in a cause after an appeal has been taken and decided." Id. Relator confuses a direct appeal with a complaint in mandamus or procedendo. Contrary to relator's argument, Special Prosecutors does not hold that a trial court lacks jurisdiction to proceed on a case when a mandamus action seeking an order to compel a trial court to proceed on the same case is pending in the court of appeals. Neither do State ex rel Geauga Cty. Bd. of Commrs. v. Milligan, 100 Ohio St.3d 366, 2003-Ohio-6608, nor State ex rel Ocasek v. Riley, 54 Ohio St.2d 488 (1978).

         {¶ 6} Indeed, this court as well as the Supreme Court of Ohio have on numerous occasions determined to be moot a complaint in mandamus or procedendo where the trial court judge has performed the very action the complaint seeks to compel while the complaint is pending.

         {¶ 7} In State ex rel Hamilton v. Brunner, 105 Ohio St.3d 304, 2005-Ohio-1735, the Supreme Court affirmed this court's denial of a writ seeking to compel a trial court judge to rule on his pending postconviction motions. The court stated:

In November 2002, Hamilton filed a petition in the Court of Appeals for Franklin County for a writ of mandamus to compel appellee, Franklin County Common Pleas Court Judge Jennifer L. Brunner, to rule on his pending postconviction motions and to correct his judgment entry to reflect that the common pleas court never obtained jurisdiction over him. [While the complaint was pending], [o]n July 23, 2003, Judge Brunner denied Hamilton's petition for postconviction relief and pending motions. On July 25, 2003, Judge Brunner moved to ...

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