Bryant O. Powell, Plaintiff-Appellant,
Ashley N. Lawson, Defendant-Appellee
APPEALS from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas,
Division of Domestic Relations, Juvenile Branch, C.P.C. No.
Anelli Law Firm, LLC, and Dianna M. Anelli, for appellant.
Argued: Dianna M. Anelli.
K. Sabath; Williams & Schoenberger Co., LLC, and Susan
S.R. Petro, for appellee. Argued: Susan S.R. Petro.
1} In these consolidated appeals, Bryant O. Powell
("father"), plaintiff-appellant, appeals from
several judgments of the Franklin County Court of Common
Pleas, Division of Domestic Relations, Juvenile Branch. In a
March 21, 2018 judgment, the trial court denied father's
"Motion to Recuse" the magistrate (more properly a
motion for disqualification of magistrate, pursuant to Civ.R.
53(D)(6), infra). In an April 23, 2018 judgment, the trial
court overruled father's objections to a magistrate's
decision deciding numerous motions. In a January 21, 2016,
judgment, the trial court denied several of father's
motions regarding a December 10, 2015 magistrate's order
granting a motion to Nos. 18AP-289 and 18aP-360 2 quash. In a
May 21, 2015 judgment, the trial court denied several of
father's motions regarding a March 18, 2015
magistrate's order that addressed various guardian ad
litem ("GAL") issues.
2} Father and Ashley N. Lawson ("mother"),
defendant-appellee, were never married. Mother gave birth to
their son on August 26, 2006. Father lives in California and
mother lives in Ohio. On January 4, 2012, the parties entered
into an agreed judgment entry, which designated mother as the
sole residential parent and legal custodian and granted
father parenting time.
3} On May 5, 2014, father filed a motion to
reallocate parental rights and responsibilities. Three years
and many, many pleadings later, a 17-day hearing was held
before a magistrate on the motion to reallocate, as well as
numerous other motions, which will be discussed in the
assignments of error as necessary.
4} After the trial before the magistrate concluded,
father filed a motion to recuse the magistrate.
5} On February 13, 2018, with regard to the motion
to reallocate parental rights and responsibilities, the
magistrate issued a decision. Both parties filed objections
to the magistrate's decision. The parties did not file a
transcript of the 17-day hearing to support their objections.
6} On February 28, 2018, father's motion to
recuse the magistrate was heard by the trial court. At trial,
four witnesses testified on behalf of father as to the
magistrate's alleged bias. On March 21, 2018, the trial
court denied father's motion to recuse the magistrate.
7} On April 23, 2018, the trial court overruled both
parties' objections to the magistrate's February 13,
2018 decision. Father appealed both judgments. In these
consolidated appeals, father asserts the following
assignments of error, renumbered sequentially for ease of
[I.] The trial court abused its discretion in failing to
recuse Magistrate Reedus.
[II.] The trial court erred when it ruled that the evidence
did not show that Magistrate Reedus harbored a hostile
feeling or spirit of ill will toward Bryant and Ms. Anelli.
Nos. 18AP-289 and 18aP-360 3
[III.] The trial court erred when it ruled that Magistrate
Reedus had not formed fixed anticipatory judgments on several
issues of fact.
[IV.] The trial court abused its discretion when it failed to
conduct a de novo review of the magistrate's decision.
[V.] The trial court erred in holding Bryant in Contempt for
failure to pay child support and/or failure to pay uncovered
[VI.] The trial court erred in sanctioning Bryant $2, 500
payable to Ashley for increasing GAL fees for requesting the
[VII.] The trial court abused its discretion when it made
findings about child support that were not supported by the
[VIII.] The trial court abused its discretion in quashing
plaintiffs subpoenas seeking cash flow documentation for
child support calculation purposes.
[IX.] The trial court abused its discretion when it failed to
hold Ashley in contempt for failure * * * to ensure telephone
calls and visitation with Bryant.
[X.] The trial court violated plaintiffs fundamental Due
Process and Equal Protection rights when it reduced
Bryant's parenting time from one weekend per month to one
weekend per ...