e-Journal Summary

e-Journal Number : 44009
Opinion Date : 10/13/2009
e-Journal Date : 10/19/2009
Court : Michigan Court of Appeals
Case Name : Campbell v. Wolanin
Practice Area(s) : Litigation, Personal Protection Orders
Judge(s) : Per Curiam - Murray, Markey, and Borrello
Full Text Opinion
Issues:

Subject matter jurisdiction; Whether the petitioner-tenant's claim centered on a landlord/tenant dispute and should have been heard in district court rather than circuit court; Manning v. Amerman; Altman v. Nelson; Whether the trial court properly granted the PPO; Pickering v. Pickering; MCL 600.2950a(1); "Stalking" (MCL 750.411h(1)(d) and750.411i(1)(e)); Whether the appeal was moot; People v. Cathey; MCL 600.2950a(14) and (17)

Summary

While the trial court had subject matter jurisdiction since the nature of the petitioner-tenant's claim comported with a personal protection claim despite the fact the case involved a dispute between the parties in their capacities as tenant and landlord, the court concluded the trial court erred in granting the petitioner a PPO because there was a question as to whether the trial court considered all the necessary elements of "stalking." The court noted the petition alleged the respondent-landlord threatened the petitioner, "screamed at her, swore at her, entered her home without permission or notice, and left intimidating messages on her voicemail." While the respondent argued the case should have been heard in district court because petitioner's claim centered on a landlord/tenant dispute, the court disagreed and held the case was properly before the trial court. However, the court concluded it was prudent to remand the case to the trial court for further consideration consistent with this opinion. MCL 750.411h(1)(d) and 411i(1)(e) define stalking as "a willful course of conduct involving repeated or continuing harassment of another individual that would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested and that actually cases the victim to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested." "Looking at the evidence and making some basic assumptions about the reasoning of the trial court," the court could conclude the evidence was sufficient to establish respondent's actions constituted stalking as statutorily defined, but it was "leery about wading into such an analysis in light of the dearth of relevant findings by" the trial court. Thus, the court reversed and remanded the case.

Full Text Opinion