Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

J.M. v. D.H.

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga

January 16, 2020

J.M., Petitioner-Appellee,
D.H., Respondent-Appellant.

          Civil Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Domestic Relations Division Case No. DV-19-375232

          Zukerman, Lear & Murray Co., L.P.A, and S. Michael Lear, for appellee.

          D.H., pro se.



         {¶ 1} Appellant-respondent D.H. appeals from a domestic-violence civil protection order that expired on August 11, 2019. We find that the appeal is not moot because the collateral-consequences exception to the mootness doctrine applies in this particular case. Upon review of the matter, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

         Collateral Consequences

         {¶ 2} Initially, we find that the appeal is not moot. The Supreme Court of Ohio has held that "absent a showing of legal collateral consequences resulting from an expired domestic-violence civil protection order, an appeal of that order is moot." Cyran v. Cyran, 152 Ohio St.3d 484, 2018-Ohio-24, 97 N.E.3d 487, ¶ 1. Appellant, who is an inactive attorney, filed with the trial court a notice of continuing legal collateral consequences with an affidavit in support stating that she will suffer legal collateral consequences with regard to her ability to serve as a guardian ad litem or court-appointed special advocate ("CASA"). Appellant has demonstrated legal collateral consequences and that the exception to the mootness doctrine applies to her appeal.


         {¶ 3} On January 25, 2019, appellee-petitioner J.M. filed a petition for a domestic-violence civil protection order ("DVCPO") against appellant-respondent D.H. Appellee alleged in the petition that he and appellant had been in a romantic relationship and that during the relationship appellant cohabitated with him at his residence on alternating weeks. Appellee indicated that he became concerned about appellant's possessiveness and that he terminated the relationship with appellant. The record reflects that around that time, appellant entered appellee's residence when he was not home and accessed his iCloud account on his personal computer without his permission. Appellee further maintained that appellant continued to contact him, his friends, and his family on a regular basis despite his repeatedly instructing her to stop contacting him. Appellee set forth specific factual allegations in his petition and claimed that appellant knowingly and continuously engaged in an obsessive pattern of conduct that caused him to suffer significant mental distress in violation of R.C. 2911.211, menacing by stalking.

         {¶ 4} The trial court issued an ex parte domestic-violence civil protection order and set the matter for a full hearing, which was held on February 6 and 12, 2019, before a court magistrate. On February 15, 2019, the magistrate issued a DVCPO, effective until August 11, 2019. The magistrate made the following findings of fact in the DVCPO:

Petitioner was sworn and gave testimony that supports finding that Respondent committed domestic violence as defined in R.C. §3113.31 and that the Petitioner is in danger of domestic violence. Petitioner's testimony is found to be credible. Petitioner testified with basic credibility. In 2017[, ] he and Respondent shared a household and were in a dating relationship. Respondent would live in the shared house every other week and used the mailing address as her own. Petitioner told Respondent on several occasions throughout 2018 to cease contact. On at least three occasions, Respondent willfully contacted the Petitioner. Petitioner testified that such contact [caused] him extreme mental distress that caused him to lose 30 pounds and seek medical treatment. Petitioner and respondent are currently involved in a criminal matter of Telecommunication Harassment. Respondent testified with basic credibility. Respondent believes there is an unknown third party involved. Respondent testified that the unknown person is "spoofing" both parties and trying to set her up. Respondent does admit to initiating contact after she was told to cease contact. No other witnesses gave testimony that offered anything of value.

         The DVCPO was adopted by the trial court and also was corrected, nunc pro tunc.

         {¶ 5} Appellant filed objections to the DVCPO and then filed a notice of appeal. This court remanded the case for the trial court to rule on the objections. On August 1, 2019, the trial court overruled appellant's objections along with the supplemental objections that were raised in her appellate brief.

         {¶ 6} In its decision, the trial court found that appellant's preliminary objection and some of her supplemental objections challenged whether appellee had a reasonable fear of imminent harm. The trial court aptly noted that "those objections are 'strawmen'" because the DVCPO was not issued on that basis, but rather, "is premised on Respondent's violation of R.C. 2903.211 - menacing by stalking." The trial court found competent, credible evidence in the record to support each of the elements of menacing by stalking and concluded that "a preponderance ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.