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Vance v. Cibella

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eleventh District, Trumbull

December 31, 2019

MARY J. VANCE, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
CAROL L. CIBELLA, Defendant-Appellant.

          Civil Appeal from the Trumbull County Court of Common Pleas, Case No. 2018 CV 00239.

         Judgment: Reversed and remanded.

          Elise M. Burkey and James R. Scher, Burkey, Burkey & Scher Co., L.P.A., 200 Chestnut Avenue, N.E., Warren, Ohio 44483 (For Plaintiff-Appellee).

          Michael D. Rossi, Guarnieri & Secrest, PLL, 151 East Market Street, P.O. Box 4270, Warren, Ohio 44482 (For Defendant-Appellant).

          OPINION

          THOMAS R. WRIGHT, P.J.

         {¶1} Appellant, Carol L. Cibella, appeals the trial court's decision denying her motion for relief from judgment. Cibella and appellee, Mary Vance, own adjacent real property. Vance's dwelling, situated predominantly on her property, slightly encroaches on Cibella's property. Vance filed suit for adverse possession, among other things, and the case was eventually settled pursuant to an agreed judgment entry granting Vance partial summary judgment and dismissing her other claims. Cibella sought relief from the parties' amended agreed judgment entry arguing that the agreement authorized a conveyance of more property than they had agreed, and the trial court improperly denied her motion. For the following reasons, we reverse and remand.

         {¶2} Cibella raises one assignment of error:

         {¶3} "The trial court erred in denying Appellant's motion for relief from judgment."

         {¶4} Cibella argues the trial court abused its discretion in failing to grant her motion for relief from judgment. Cibella's motion seeks relief pursuant to subsections (B)(1) and (B)(3). She claims that it is evident that there is a mistake or misconduct by Vance warranting relief from the parties' agreed judgment because the documents attached to the agreed judgment and the amended agreed judgment convey more property to Vance than was agreed to by the parties.

         {¶5} In response, Vance urges affirmance claiming that any mistake was that of Cibella's counsel alone, and as such, Civ.R. 60(B) relief is not warranted. Vance argues that the parcel to be conveyed via adverse possession included the overhang of the house and the six feet surrounding the encroachment to access the property for mowing and access to wash and repair the home. A plain language description of this nature conveying this additional six feet, however, is not present in the body of the parties' agreed judgment entry or the amended agreement.

         {¶6} Vance argues that Cibella's problem arose because her attorney failed to comprehend the conveyance documents. And because he failed to understand and adequately explain the documents to Cibella, there was no mutual mistake of fact warranting relief from judgment.

         {¶7} The trial court denied Cibella's motion without explanation.

         {¶8} We review appeals from a denied motion for relief from judgment for an abuse of discretion. State ex rel. Richard v. Seidner, 76 Ohio St.3d 149, 151, 666 N.E.2d 1134 (1996), citing Rose Chevrolet, Inc. v. Adams, 36 Ohio St.3d 17, 20, 520 N.E.2d 564 (1988). An abuse of discretion connotes judgment exercised by the trial court that does not comport with reason or the record. Ivancic v. Enos, 11th Dist. Lake No. 2011-L-050, 2012-Ohio-3639, 978 N.E.2d 927, ¶ 70.

         {¶9} "When an appellate court is reviewing a pure issue of law, 'the mere fact that the reviewing court would decide the issue differently is enough to find error (of course, not all errors are reversible. Some are harmless; others are not preserved for appellate review). By contrast, where the issue on review has been confined to the discretion of the trial court, the mere fact that the reviewing court would have reached a different result is not enough, without more, to ...


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