Denial of the respondent's request to terminate an ex parte PPO; Whether the PPO was void because the trial court did not decide whether to issue it within 24 hours of the petitioner's filing; MCR 3.705(A)(1); Court rule interpretation; Wilcoxon v. Wayne Cnty. Neighborhood Legal Servs.; In re Forfeiture of Bail Bond (On Remand); Whether petitioner met her burden of proof; MCL 600.2950 (governing the issuance of PPOs where the petitioner and the person to be restrained are or were married, in a dating relationship, or cohabitated); MCL 600.2950(4); Kampf v. Kampf; The trial court's superior position to assess witness credibility; Mogle v. Scriver; Whether the issuance of the PPO was improper because the petitioner was allegedly a "prisoner" (MCL 600.2950a(32)(e)); Applicability of MCL 600.2950a(31)
Since the record indicated that the trial court ruled on the petitioner's request for an ex parte PPO within 24 hours of her filing, as provided in MCR 3.705(A)(1), the court rejected the respondent's claim that the PPO was void on the basis the trial court did not decide whether to issue it within 24 hours of the filing. Further, the court held that "even if the trial court had not ruled on the request within 24 hours, the effect of the delay would not be to render the untimely order void." Respondent appealed the trial court's denial of his request to terminate the ex parte PPO. MCR 3.705(A)(1) requires a trial court to rule on a request for an ex parte PPO within 24 hours of the filing of the petition. The court noted that court rules are interpreted using the same principles governing statutory interpretation. "The stated time for performance set forth in a statute should be viewed as directory, rather than mandatory, when there is no language denying performance after the specified time." The court rule at issue "provides no direction that failure to respond to a request for a PPO within 24 hours is to result in mandatory denial of the petition." While respondent also argued, inter alia, that the petitioner did not meet her burden of proof, the court disagreed. "MCL 600.2950 governs the issuance of a PPO in cases where the petitioner and the person to be restrained are or were married, in a dating relationship, or cohabitated. MCL 600.2950(4) requires a court to issue a PPO if it determines there is reasonable cause to believe that the individual to be restrained will engage in certain conduct, including entering onto premises, assaulting the petitioner, interfering with the petitioner's place of employment, or acts that would constitute stalking under MCL 750.411h, MCL 750.411i, or MCL 750.411s." Petitioner testified that she was subjected "to sexual and physical abuse by respondent in the past and that respondent continued to enter her home without permission even after being told not to." She also stated that he disturbed her at her place of employment. "This testimony formed a sufficient basis to grant the requested PPO." While the court acknowledged that respondent denied the allegations, "this does not equate to a lack of evidentiary support for petitioner's allegations." Further, the court recognized the trial court's superior position to assess witness credibility issues. Affirmed.
Full Text Opinion
State Bar of Michigan
306 Townsend St
Lansing, MI 48933-2012