FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE AKRON MUNICIPAL COURT COUNTY OF
SUMMIT, OHIO No. 18CV07241
MENDENHALL and BRIAN UNGER, Attorneys at Law, for Appellant.
REID YODER, Attorney at Law, for Appellee.
DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY
JENNIFER HENSAL, JUDGE.
Stacy Hansford appeals a judgment of the Akron Municipal
Court that allowed a writ of restitution to Connie Thompson,
conservator of Barbara Hansford. For the following reasons,
this Court reverses.
Barbara Hansford owns a home in Akron where she and her
daughter Stacy Hansford lived for many years. In October
2015, Barbara Hansford created a revocable living trust with
her as the trustee and her daughter as the successor trustee.
The same day, she deeded the Akron home to the trust. A few
days later, a doctor diagnosed Barbara Hansford with
At some point during the next year, Barbara Hansford moved to
Missouri. Stacy Hansford remained living in the Akron home.
In December 2016, Barbara Hansford revoked a power of
attorney that she had previously signed. A week later she
revoked the trust agreement. She subsequently conveyed the
Akron home back to herself. In July 2017, a Missouri court
appointed Ms. Thompson conservator of Barbara Hansford. Ms.
Thompson testified that her responsibility as conservator is
to oversee Barbara Hansford's financial interests.
According to Ms. Thompson, after being appointed Barbara
Hansford's conservator, Barbara Hansford told her that
she would like the Akron home sold. Ms. Thompson testified
that, since November 2017, she has paid over $2, 700 in
utilities and $5, 500 in property taxes to maintain the home
even though Barbara Hansford has no intention of returning to
Ohio. She testified that she asked Stacy Hansford to pay the
utilities, but Stacy Hansford told her it was too expensive.
She, therefore, asked Stacy Hansford to vacate the home.
Stacy Hansford refused, claiming that the home still belongs
to the trust.
In August 2018, Ms. Thompson filed a complaint for forcible
entry, detainer, and other money damages in the Akron
Municipal Court, seeking to evict Stacy Hansford from the
Akron home. Stacy Hansford counterclaimed, alleging that the
property had been fraudulently transferred and seeking to
quiet title of the property in the trust. She also moved to
transfer the case to the court of common pleas because her
counterclaim exceeded the jurisdictional limits of the court.
The case proceeded to a hearing before a magistrate.
Following the hearing, the magistrate determined that Stacy
Hansford failed to establish that Barbara Hansford was
incompetent at the time she revoked the trust. He also
determined that, even if Barbara Hansford had been
incompetent, Stacy Hansford did not have any right to possess
the Akron home under the terms of the trust. He further
determined that Stacy Hansford's counterclaims did not
deprive the municipal court of jurisdiction over Ms.
Thompson's forcible entry and detainer action. He,
therefore, concluded that a writ should be granted. The
municipal court filed a journal entry that same day ordering
that a writ of restitution be allowed. Stacy Hansford has
appealed, assigning four errors.
OF ERROR I
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN ADOPTING THE MAGISTRATE'S
DECISION BECAUSE IT WAS IMPROPER FOR THE MUNICIPAL COURT TO
RETAIN JURISDICTION OVER, AND SUBSEQUENTLY DISPOSE OF, CLAIMS
EXCEEDING ITS JURISDICTION RATHER THAN TRANSFER THE ENTIRE
CASE TO THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS FOR A FULL ADJUDICATION.
Stacy Hansford argues that the trial court incorrectly
proceeded with Ms. Thompson's forcible entry and detainer
action even though it did not have jurisdiction over her
counterclaims. "A trial court's authority to
determine a matter in controversy is a question of law, which
this Court reviews ...