e-Journal Summary

e-Journal Number : 36303
Opinion Date : 06/14/2007
e-Journal Date : 07/19/2007
Court : Michigan Court of Appeals
Case Name : Bachand v. Werthmann
Practice Area(s) : Personal Protection Orders
Judge(s) : Per Curiam – Davis, Hoekstra, and Donofrio
Full Text Opinion
Issues:

Whether there was sufficient evidence to justify the PPO entered against the respondent; Pickering v. Pickering; Pobursky v. Gee; “Stalking” (MCL 750.411h(1)(d)); “Harassment” (MCL 750.411h(1)(c)); “Unconsented contact” (MCL 750.411h(1)(e)); “Course of conduct” (MCL 750.411h(1)(a)); Nastal v. Henderson & Assoc. Investigations, Inc.

Summary

The court rejected the respondent-Werthman’s argument there was insufficient evidence to justify a PPO entered against him, concluding the trial court did not err in determining there were two separate threats reflecting “a continuity of purpose” and establishing “a course of conduct by respondent.” Despite the lapse of over two years between the alleged acts, they could constitute stalking if there was a continuity of purpose between the acts. The petitioner produced evidence respondent threatened to “‘pound’” his head into the ground in July 2003, when petitioner (an attorney) represented a client in litigation where respondent was an opposing party. The petitioner also presented evidence respondent confronted him at a school function in March 2006, made reference to prior threats against petitioner, and told him he would keep his promise. Since the threats were made at two separate times, they provided evidence of two separate noncontinuous acts, and “because respondent made similar threats and referred to his prior threats in the 2006 encounter, there was evidence of a continuity of purpose.” Further, the court concluded the petitioner’s testimony (which the trial court found credible) alone was sufficient to permit the trial court to issue the PPO. The fact a police report was not presented did not establish the PPO was erroneously issued. The court also held respondent’s prior assault and battery conviction and need for anger management counseling were properly considered by the trial court because the petitioner was aware of this evidence, making it probative of his claim of actual emotional distress caused by the respondent’s threats. Affirmed.

Full Text Opinion