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C.S.J. v. S.E.J.

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga

August 15, 2019

C.S.J., Petitioner-Appellee,
v.
S.E.J., Respondent-Appellant.

          Civil Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Domestic Relations Division Case No. DV-17-368501

          Adam S. Baker, for appellee.

          S.E.J., pro se.

          JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION

          PATRICIA ANN BLACKMON, PRESIDING JUDGE.

         {¶ 1} Appellant S.E.J. appeals from the judgment of the trial court that granted appellee's petition for a domestic violence civil protection order pursuant to R.C. 3113.31. He assigns three errors for our review:

I. The trial court erred and abused its discretion when trial [court] continued to proceed with trial after the appellant established for the record the appellee had procedural [sic] defaulted by failing to timely answer the admissions as required by Civ.R 36(C).
II. The trial court erred and abused its discretion when trial [court] continued to proceed with trial after the appellant established for the record the court's order of service had not been perfected.
III. The appellee failed to establish perfected service on three separate occasions without any proof of service.

         {¶ 2} Having reviewed the record and the controlling law, we affirm the decision of the trial court. For the sake of clarity, we shall address the assigned errors out of their predesignated order.

         {¶ 3} The record indicates that appellant and appellee were married in 2008 and have one son who was born the following year. On August 22, 2017, appellee filed a petition for an ex parte domestic violence civil protection order against appellant. The court issued an ex parte protection order that day.

         {¶ 4} The court scheduled a full hearing on the matter commencing in February 2018, after both parties signed an agreed entry approving trial dates. Appellant filed discovery requests, including multiple requests for admissions under Civ.R. 36. He also filed motions to deem various matters admitted that were later denied by the trial court. Both parties appeared at the evidentiary hearing and presented evidence. According to the App.R. 9(C) statement of the evidence submitted in this case:

On February 7, 2018, [appellee] was sworn and gave testimony that supports finding that [appellant] committed domestic violence as defined in RC. 3113.31 and that the [appellee] is in danger of domestic violence. Her testimony is found to be credible. [Appellant's] testimony was marginally credible. * * *
[Appellee] testified that on or about August 1, 2017, [appellant] forcefully took [appellee's] backpack from her person.
[Appellant] picked up a box and threw it forcefully at [appellee's] face, while she was wearing her glasses causing injury and bleeding. [Appellee] played an audio recording of the incident. [Appellee] was hysterical and crying. [Appellant] profusely apologized. [Appellee] submitted four (4) cell-phone photographs of herself taken 30 minutes after the aforementioned incident. The photographs clearly depict [appellee's] swollen face, cheek and lips. [Appellant's] objection to [the recording] is overruled as the [appellee] testified that she recorded the incident, and that the recording was accurate. Same corroborated her testimony.
On or about August 15, 2017, [appellant] dropped [appellee] off at Rite-Aid drug store to pick up a prescription. [Appellant] left Petitioner at the drug store and she had to take bus home. Upon her return home, [appellee] noticed a camera set up with note that stated, "Don't touch the camera." [Appellee] testified that she was so frightened she called the police. The Police advised her to go to a shelter. [Appellee] contacted shelters and they were filled up [so she] stayed at a hotel. *
* *
[Appellant] disputed that on August 1, 2017, he threw a box at [appellee]. He testified that it was a "flinch," and that [appellee] "bumped his wrist with her lips." However, [appellant] conceded that the photographs accurately reflected [appellee's] injuries. As such, it is readily apparent that [appellant] caused ...

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