e-Journal Summary

e-Journal Number : 43103
Opinion Date : 06/25/2009
e-Journal Date : 07/02/2009
Court : Michigan Court of Appeals
Case Name : Loll v. Decator
Practice Area(s) : Personal Protection Orders
Judge(s) : Per Curiam - Zahra, Whitbeck, and M.J. Kelly
Full Text Opinion
Issues:

Whether the trial court correctly found respondent-Decator harassed the petitioners and her actions caused them to suffer significant emotional distress; MCL 600.2950(4); Kampf v. Kampf; Pickering v. Pickering;"Stalking" defined (§ 411h(1)(d)); "Harassment" (§ 411h(1)(c)); "Unconsented contact" (§ 411h(1)(e)); "Emotional distress" (§ 411h(1)(b)); Hayford v. Hayford;  Whether the trial court correctly concluded respondent's behavior did not constitute constitutionally protected activity or serve a legitimate purpose; Nastal v. Henderson & Assoc. Investigations, Inc.

Summary

Concluding the trial court did not err in finding respondent-Decator initiated "unconsented contact" with the petitioners by falsely accusing them of crimes, they suffered emotional distress from respondent repeatedly accusing them of crimes they did not commit, and there was no evidence her conduct served a legitimate purpose, the court affirmed the trial court's modification of the previously-entered PPOs to restrain respondent from confronting, communicating, or approaching the petitioners. Petitioners have lived next-door to respondent since about 1996. They testified they experienced problems with her the entire time. The problems ranged from trivial fence disputes to allegations she repeatedly filed false police reports against them. The trial court refused to terminate the PPOs based on four instances when respondent contacted the police falsely accusing petitioners of committing crimes. First, she accused Kenneth Loll of damaging her car. Next, she accused him of peeking in her windows and breaking into her house. On another occasion, she claimed Nancy Loll trespassed on her property when, while mowing an elderly neighbor's yard, she strayed onto respondent's lawn. Finally, respondent accused both petitioners of stealing fascia board while her roof was being redone. The unrebutted testimony of petitioners, which the trial court clearly found credible, established on each of these occasions respondent's calls to the police were baseless and meant to falsely accuse them of crimes. Further, the court held the trial court could rationally conclude petitioners suffered emotional distress. They both testified at the hearing to terminate the PPOs and told the trial court of their respective accounts of respondent's actions. The trial court questioned them at length and found their testimony credible. They testified they were disturbed by her actions and were scared she would retaliate against them. The unrebutted evidence established her reports to the police were baseless, she provided no evidence to support her accusations, and there were no charges resulting from them. The trial court specifically found the respondent's conduct amounted to filing false police reports. Affirmed.

Full Text Opinion