Medina County Courthouse

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Lorain County Appellate Decision for February, 2014

There were five appellate decisions for Lorain County cases released in February, 2014, by the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Appellate District. Two were appeals from criminal cases, two were appeals from civil cases, and one was an appeal from the Lorain County Juvenile Court regarding termination of a father's parental rights. 

The two civil appellate decisions were Third Fed. S. & L. Assn. v. Haupt, 2014-Ohio-348, released on February 3, 2014 and  Varga v. Drees Co., 2014-Ohio-643, released on February 24, 2014. Both were appeals from decisions of the Lorain County Common Pleas Court. 

The Haupt case involved the issue of whether a trial court errs if it does not give notice of a magistrate's decision under Civ. R. 53. In the Haupt case the record did not reveal that Haupt was served with a copy of the magistrate's order and therefore did not have an opportunity to object to the order granting the bank's motion for summary judgment prior to the trial court adopting the order and granting the bank's motion. 

The Varga case involved the issue of whether a trial court should have stayed a lawsuit between the parties which concerned the building of a residence for the Vargas by the Drees Company. In reversing the trial court the appellate court held that if arguably the causes of action can be related to the subject matter of the contract, and if the contract contains an arbitration clause, then the case must be stayed by the trial court and the parties given the opportunity to arbitrate the dispute. In this case the appellate court found that the issues raised by the Vargas' lawsuit arguably arose out of the contract and therefore the action should be stayed. 

The two criminal appellate decisions were State v. D'Agostino,2014-Ohio-551, and  State v. Marrero, 2014-Ohio-553.

In D'Agostino the appellate court held the following:"[1]-Defendant failed to show that her appointed counsel was suffering from a medical condition that affected her ability to represent defendant; appointed counsel conducted voir dire, gave both the opening statement and closing argument, cross-examined the victim, and conducted the direct examination of defendant; [2]-By having her own expert testify extensively about his methodologies and her credibility, defendant opened the door for the State to rebut that testimony through its expert; as such, defendant could not demonstrate prejudice as a result of her counsel's failure to object to the testimony of the State's expert; [3]-The trial court erred by sentencing defendant for both felonious assault and domestic violence as the offenses were allied offenses of similar import; hence, it was necessary to remand the matter for the trial court to issue a nunc pro tunc entry." (Quote from decision on Lexis."

In Marrero the appellate court found that the defendant had filed a petition for post-conviction relief untimely and therefore the trial court did not have jurisdiction to grant the relief sought. The trial court's dismissal of the petition was affirmed. 

The remaining case was a case from the Lorain County Juvenile Court. The case was captioned In re A.H., 2014-Ohio-552.  In that case the appellate court affirmed the order of the trial court terminating the parental rights of A.H.'s father. From Lexis: "HOLDING: [1]-A father's parental rights over his child were properly terminated because the evidence supported the finding that the child was in the care of the social service agency for the requisite period of time pursuant to R.C. 2151.414(B)(1)(d); [2]-Accordingly, even if the father's challenge to the termination under § 2151.414(E) was not supported by the record, any error was not reversible because it did not result in prejudice to the father; [2]-The record supported the trial court's conclusion that termination of parental rights and permanent custody in the social service agency was in the child's best interests based on consideration of the factors under § 2151.414(D)(1)(a)-(d), the child's need for a secure permanent placement, and the father's inability to provide that."

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