Claim that the respondent's right to procedural due process was violated when the trial court granted the PPO without holding an evidentiary hearing; Thomas v. Pogats; Cummings v. Wayne Cnty.; MCR 3.705(B); Lamkin v. Engram; Mootness; Kieta v. Thomas M. Cooley Law Sch.
Because respondent was not denied due process of law and his remaining issue was moot since the PPO expired by its own terms, the court affirmed the trial court's entry of a PPO against him pursuant to MCL 600.2950a(1). The dispute stemmed from a shared driveway that runs through respondent's property and provides petitioner access to his home. Dealings between respondent, petitioner, and their families became contentious after respondent believed that petitioner and his wife were trying to widen the easement on respondent's property without his permission. Petitioner filed a petition for an ex parte PPO against respondent. When the trial court denied that petition, petitioner requested a hearing pursuant to MCR 3.705(B)(1)(b). Following the hearing, the trial court granted the PPO. On appeal, respondent argued that his right to procedural due process was violated when the trial court granted the PPO without holding an evidentiary hearing. He acknowledged that the trial court held a hearing pursuant to MCR 3.705(B)(1)(b) upon petitioner's request, but contended that he was denied a meaningful hearing at which he could present evidence. A review of the record showed that respondent was not denied his right to procedural due process. At the beginning of the hearing, the trial court indicated that it had reviewed all of the materials that the parties submitted. The trial court questioned petitioner as to his allegations and allowed respondent an opportunity to respond to the allegations. The trial court viewed pictures that respondent presented to it. The parties and the trial court discussed the allegations in detail and respondent was provided an opportunity to respond to each allegation. The only piece of evidence that respondent attempted to submit that the trial court did not accept was an unsigned note. The trial court indicated that it did not accept unsigned notes as a general rule because of authenticity concerns. Because the trial court considered the parties' arguments, all of the evidence submitted with the exception of the unsigned note, and allowed respondent an opportunity to defend against the allegations, it did not deny respondent his right to procedural due process. Further, because the PPO expired by its own terms, and nothing indicated that the PPO was extended, the court did not need to address respondent's remaining argument that the conduct at issue did not constitute stalking behavior.
Full Text Opinion
State Bar of Michigan
306 Townsend St
Lansing, MI 48933-2012