e-Journal Summary

e-Journal Number : 55573
Opinion Date : 10/15/2013
e-Journal Date : 10/23/2013
Court : Michigan Court of Appeals
Case Name : Jastrabek v. Jastrabek
Practice Area(s) : Personal Protection Orders
Judge(s) : Per Curiam - M.J. Kelly, Wilder, and Fort Hood
Full Text Opinion
Issues:

Statutory grounds for a PPO; MCL 600.2950(1) & (4); MCL 750.411h and i; MCL 600.2950(1)(b), (c), (i), and (j); Pickering v. Pickering; Attorney Gen. v. Harkins; "Credibility"; Department of Cmty. Health v. Risch

Summary

The court held that there was sufficient evidence to support the trial court's determination that the PPO should continue. Thus, the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it denied respondent's motion to dismiss the PPO. The parties were married in 1/04 and had a child together. They permanently separated in 5/11, and after contentious proceedings that included multiple requests for PPOs, they divorced in 2/12. In 10/12, petitioner petitioned for a PPO against respondent. She alleged that she needed the order because her ex-husband would not stop various inappropriate conduct, including allegedly threatening and intimidating her in front of their five-year old daughter. She relied on a recent incident where he allegedly threatened her at a hospital and to prior incidents where he assaulted or threatened her. Later that month, he moved to have the PPO set aside on the ground that her allegations were incredible. The trial court held a hearing where petitioner testified that she sought the PPO after a recent incident. She went to pick up their daughter from respondent's home and discovered that the daughter was running a high fever and was up all night vomiting. She told him that she was going to take the daughter to the hospital. As she was going to her car, respondent saw that her boyfriend was in the car and he got "very upset" and started yelling and jumping up and down and said he would not go to the hospital if the boyfriend was going to be there. She proceeded to take the daughter to the hospital. Later, he showed up at the hospital and started to call her names and got very loud. When the boyfriend warned that he might call the police, respondent said that he did not care, and said he was not afraid of cops. "Go ahead, you should be afraid of me." Petitioner said she was afraid the whole time he was there. She also testified about previous incidents involving him. She noted that two PPOs were issued, one after he shoved her into a wall, and another after he threatened her with a gun. In its ruling the trial court did not explicitly mention respondent's conduct from prior proceedings, but did find that he went to the hospital "to make trouble and demean his former wife," which it found was "harassment." It also said that it was "convinced" that respondent had a "problem with self control." The court held that given the evidence, it was not left with a definite and firm conviction that the trial court was mistaken as to its findings, which supported an inference that respondent might lose his self control and engage in the types of conduct that can be enjoined under MCL 600.2950(1)(b), (c), (i), or (j). Similarly, petitioner's testimony about prior incidents involving physical assault and a threat with a gun further supported an inference that respondent might threaten or harm her in the future. As such, there was sufficient evidence to permit the trial court to determine that there was "reasonable cause to believe" that respondent might commit one or more of the acts listed under MCL 600.2950(1). Affirmed.

Full Text Opinion