Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eleventh District, Trumbull
GARRICK G. KRLICH, Plaintiff,
MATTHEW P. SHELTON, et al., Defendants-Appellees. LUCINDA KRLICH, Plaintiff-Appellant,
Appeal from the Trumbull County Court of Common Pleas, Case
No. 2014 CV 02134.
C. Essad, (For Plaintiff-Appellant).
Michael D. Rossi, Guarnieri & Secrest, PLL, (For
JANE TRAPP, J.
Appellant, Lucinda Krlich, appeals the judgment of the
Trumbull County Court of Common Pleas adopting a
magistrate's decision that ordered her to pay attorney
fees in the amount of $8, 250 for frivolous conduct.
Since Mrs. Krlich failed to file a transcript of the
magistrate's evidentiary hearing with the trial court
within 30 days of filing her objections to the
magistrate's decision, our review is limited to
determining whether the trial court abused its discretion in
adopting the magistrate's decision. We find no clear
error or other defect on the face of the magistrate's
decision determining Mrs. Krlich engaged in frivolous conduct
under R.C. 2323.51 (A)(2)(a)(iii) and (i).
Thus, we affirm the judgment of the Trumbull County Court of
History and Procedural Background
On November 26, 2014, appellant, Lucinda Krlich ("Mrs.
Krlich"), and Garrick Krlich (collectively, the
"Krliches"), through counsel, filed a complaint
captioned "Intentional Infliction of Emotional
Distress" in the Trumbull County Court of Common Pleas
against appellees, Mary Beth Foltz, Brian Stipetich, David
Nicora, Brian Trinckes, Tracy Trinckes, Florence Buydos,
Barbara Novotny, Adam Novotny, and Timothy Novotny
(collectively, the "appellees"), as well as 29
The Krliches' complaint alleged that over a period of
time exceeding 42 months, the appellees and the other
defendants (1) deliberately harassed/annoyed and
menaced/stalked them, (2) trespassed, (3) blatantly violated
the sanctity of their residence in Hubbard, Ohio and their
entitlement to privacy and quiet enjoyment, (4) intentionally
and at all hours sounded automobile horns/sirens outside
their residence and made harassing phone calls, (5) drove
over their side yard lawn, (6) paint-balled the side of their
residence, (7) strew trash over their front lawn, (8) made
threats of physical harm through electronic messaging, (9)
made lewd gestures, and (9) defamed their reputations by
making slanderous remarks and libelous comments through
The Krliches' alleged damages consisted of loss of value
of their real estate, extreme sleep deprivation, anxiety,
debilitating emotional distress, loss of income, and medical
The appellees, through counsel, sent correspondence to the
Krliches' counsel requesting dismissal of the appellees
and offering to provide affidavits indicating none of them
had engaged in the alleged conduct.
This was apparently unsuccessful since the appellees jointly
filed an answer denying the allegations and a counterclaim
against the Krliches and their counsel for alleged violations
of Civ.R. 11 and R.C. 2323.51.
The Krliches propounded no discovery after filing their
complaint and failed to respond to appellees' requests
for admissions, which the trial court deemed as admitted.
The appellees jointly moved for summary judgment, attaching
their affidavits denying each allegation contained in the
The Krliches filed a brief in opposition, attaching their
affidavits, photographs of vehicles taken from a video system
they installed outside their residence, and copies of vehicle
registrations relating to each appellee. In their affidavits,
the Krliches asserted that they had witnessed and visually
recorded vehicles registered to each appellee repeatedly
driving past their residence and sounding the automobile
The trial court issued a judgment entry granting the
appellees' motion for summary judgment. The trial court
construed the Krliches' complaint as asserting claims for
defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress,
trespass, and nuisance. It found the Krliches had not
presented any evidence of defamation, trespass, or nuisance.
With respect to intentional infliction of emotional distress,
the trial court found that honking a horn did not constitute
extreme and outrageous conduct that went beyond all possible
bounds of decency. According to the trial court, the
Krliches' affidavits only established a horn was blown
from appellees' automobiles, not that the appellees blew
the horn. Finally, the trial court found that the Krliches
provided no evidence to establish severe emotional distress.
The Krliches appealed the trial court's judgment, which
we dismissed for lack of a final, appealable order in
Krlich v. Shelton, 11th Dist. Trumbull No.
2016-T-0003, 2016-Ohio-3292. At the time of the appeal, the
trial court had not entered judgment on the appellees'
counterclaim, and there had been no disposition against
another defendant. Id. at ¶10.
Following our dismissal of the appeal, the magistrate held a
hearing on appellees' counterclaim, where the parties
offered testimony and evidence. The magistrate subsequently
issued a decision finding as follows: (1) "there was no
good ground to support any of the claims against" the
appellees "[w]ithin the meaning of Civil Rule 11";
(2) "the allegations in the complaint had no evidentiary
support and were not likely to have evidentiary support after
a reasonable opportunity for further investigation or
discovery"; and (3) "the bringing and/or
maintenance of this action served merely to harass, annoy and
maliciously injur[e]" the appellees. The magistrate also
incorporated by reference the trial court's judgment
entry granting summary judgment in favor of the appellees.
The magistrate awarded $8, 250 in attorney fees to the
appellees and against the Krliches for frivolous conduct.
The Krliches filed objections to the magistrate's
decision but did not file a transcript of the evidentiary
hearing with the trial court. The trial court adopted the
magistrate's decision in its entirety and entered
judgment against the Krliches on the appellees'
Mrs. Krlich now appeals, asserting the following assignment
"The trial court erred when it held that Appellant
Lucinda Krlich's complaint was frivolous, had no
evidentiary support, and was brought in bad faith to harass,
injure, or annoy. To the contrary, there were good grounds to
file the complaint, even if it was ultimately
Garrick Krlich is not a party to this appeal, and Mrs.
Krlich's current appeal does not involve the trial
court's granting of summary judgment in favor of the
Mrs. Krlich's failure to file a transcript of the
magistrate's hearing with the trial court is
determinative of our standard of review.
Under Civ.R. 53(D)(3)(b)(i), a party may file written
objections to a magistrate's decision within 14 days of
the filing of the decision, whether or not the court has
adopted the decision during that 14-day period. Civ.R.
53(D)(3)(b)(iii) describes certain requirements to support ...