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Coomes v. Coomes

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Twelfth District, Clermont

July 1, 2019

JOHN COOMES, Appellant,
v.
JENNIFER COOMES, Appellee.

          APPEAL FROM CLERMONT COUNTY COMMON PLEAS COURT DOMESTIC RELATIONS DIVISION Case No. 2015DRB01089

          John J. Coomes, pro se

          Zachary D. Smith, for appellee

          OPINION

          S. POWELL, J.

         {¶ 1} Appellant, John Coomes ("Husband"), appeals the decision of the Clermont County Court of Common Pleas, Domestic Relations Division, finding his objections to a magistrate's decision requiring him to pay certain fees and costs incurred by appellee, Jennifer Coomes ("Wife"), were untimely filed.[1] For the reasons outlined below, we reverse the domestic relations court's decision and remand this matter to the domestic relations court for further proceedings.

         {¶ 2} On December 14, 2016, Husband and Wife were divorced. Following their divorce, both Husband and Wife moved the domestic relations court to order the other to pay certain fees and costs they had incurred while litigating several post-decree matters. After holding a hearing on the matter, a domestic relations court magistrate issued a decision ordering Husband to reimburse Wife for a portion of her fees and costs. The magistrate's decision was filed on October 22, 2018.

         {¶ 3} Pursuant to Civ.R. 53(D)(3)(b)(i), "[a] party may file written objections to a magistrate's decision within fourteen days of the filing of the decision[.]" Considering the magistrate's decision was filed on October 22, 2018, Husband was required to file any objections to the magistrate's decision by November 5, 2018. According to the domestic relations court's Loc.R. DR 5, Husband had the option of filing his objections via facsimile "24 hours per day seven days per week." The domestic relations court's Loc.R. DR 5 also provides that "[p]leadings and other documents sent by fax and accepted by the Clerk of Courts are considered filed as of the date and time the Clerk of Courts received the fax."

         {¶ 4} On November 5, 2018 at 8:36 p.m., Husband filed objections to the magistrate's decision via facsimile in accordance with the domestic relations court's Loc.R. DR 5. This is confirmed by a facsimile coversheet contained in the record that notes Husband filed his objections via facsimile on "2018-11-06 00:36:46 GMT."[2] But, despite being timely filed via facsimile, Husband's objections contain a timestamp indicating his objections were not filed until the following day on November 6, 2018 at 7:34 a.m.

         {¶ 5} On December 5, 2018, the domestic relations court issued a decision affirming and adopting the magistrate's October 22, 2018 decision. In so holding, the domestic relations court found Husband's objections to the magistrate's decision were untimely filed on November 6, 2018 rather than timely filed via facsimile on November 5, 2018. Husband now appeals from the domestic relations court's decision, raising the following single assignment of error for review.

         {¶ 6} THE TRIAL COURT ABUSED ITS DISCRETION IN FINDING PLAINTIFF APPELLANT'S OBJECTION TO BE UNTIMELY.

         {¶ 7} In his single assignment of error, Husband argues the domestic relations court erred by finding his objections to the magistrate's October 22, 2018 decision were untimely filed. We agree, as the record indicates Husband's objections were filed via facsimile on November 5, 2016 at 8:36 p.m. Pursuant to domestic relations court's Loc.R. DR 5, Husband's objections to the magistrate's decision were timely in that his objections were filed within the 14-day timeframe as required by Civ.R. 53(D)(3)(b)(i). Therefore, because Husband's objections were timely filed, Husband's single assignment of error is sustained and this matter is reversed and remanded to the domestic relations court for further proceedings.[3]

         {¶ 8} Judgement reversed and remanded.

          HENDRICKSON, P.J., and ...


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