Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eleventh District, Lake
Appeal from the Willoughby Municipal Court, Case No. 2019 MIS
Jeffrey Holland and Danamarie Kristyna Pannella, Holland and
Muirden, For Plaintiff-Appellee.
Michela J. Huth, For Appellant.
On May 8, 2019, appellant, Nadine Bechtel,  filed a notice of
appeal from a May 3, 2019 "Journal Entry" from the
Willoughby Municipal Court. However, the "entry"
was signed by the court's magistrate.
On June 13, 2019, this court issued an entry ordering
appellant to show cause why the appeal should not be
dismissed since the appeal is premature because the trial
court has not issued an entry deciding the case and setting
forth its ruling. On June 20, 2019, appellant filed a
response to our entry.
Initially, we must determine whether there is a final,
appealable order, as this court may entertain only those
appeals from final judgments or orders. Noble v.
Colwell, 44 Ohio St.3d 92, 96 (1989). Under Section
3(B)(2), Article IV of the Ohio Constitution, a judgment of a
trial court can be immediately reviewed by an appellate court
only if it constitutes a "final order in the action.
Germ v. Fuerst, 11th Dist. Lake No. 2003-L-116,
2003-Ohio-6241, ¶ 3. If a lower court's order is not
final, then an appellate court does not have jurisdiction to
review the matter, and the matter must be dismissed. Gen.
Acc. Ins. Co. v. Ins. Co. of N. Am., 44 Ohio St.3d 17,
20 (1989). For a judgment to be final and appealable, it must
satisfy the requirements of R.C. 2505.02 and if applicable,
Civ.R. 54(B). See Children's Hosp. Med. Ctr. v.
Tomaiko, 11th Dist. Portage No. 2011-P-0103,
2011-Ohio-6838, ¶ 3.
R.C. 2505.02(B) defines a "final order and sets forth
seven categories of appealable judgment, and if the judgment
of the trial court satisfies any of them, it will be deemed a
"final order and can be immediately appealed and
reviewed by a court of appeals.
Here, the May 3, 2019 "Journal Entry" was signed by
the magistrate, not by a judge.
"* * * [A] magistrate may enter orders without judicial
approval if necessary to regulate the proceedings and if not
dispositive of a claim or defense of a party." See
Civ.R. 53(D)(2)(a)(i). This court had previously stated that
magistrate orders require trial court approval if they
dispose of a party's claim. In the Matter of
Dougherty, 11 th Dist. Ashtabula No. 2013-A-0023,
2013-Ohio-2841, ¶ 4.
This court has also held that there is no final judgment
where the trial court fails to both adopt the
magistrate's decision and enter judgment stating the
relief to be afforded because "orders are not court
orders unless certain formalities are met." Id.
at ¶ 5. Only judges, not magistrates, may terminate
claims or actions by entering judgment. Id.
In this matter, the magistrate issued an "entry,"
but the trial court failed to enter judgment stating the
relief to be afforded. At this juncture, there is no entry
issued by the trial court that fits within any of the
categories of R.C. 2505.02. Thus, there is no final
appealable order, and this court does not have jurisdiction
to hear this appeal. Since the "entry" signed by
magistrate has not yet received "judicial approval"
pursuant Civ.R. 53(D)(2)(a)(i), it remains an interlocutory
order and may be reconsidered upon the court's own motion
or that of a party. Nothing is preventing appellant from
obtaining effective relief through an appeal once the trial
court has entered a final judgment in the action.
Based upon the foregoing analysis, the judgment of the trial
court is not a final appealable order. Accordingly, this