e-Journal Summary

e-Journal Number : 59633
Opinion Date : 03/26/2015
e-Journal Date : 04/16/2015
Court : Michigan Court of Appeals
Case Name : DS v. Staffeld
Practice Area(s) : Personal Protection Orders
Judge(s) : Per Curiam - Ronayne Krause, K.F. Kelly, and Shapiro
Full Text Opinion

Personal protection order (PPO); MCL 600.2950a; "Stalking" defined; MCL 750.411h; "Course of conduct" defined; MCL 750.411h(1)(a); "Harassment" defined; MCL 750.411h(1)(c); Whether the children suffered emotional distress; MCL 750.411h(1)(b) & (c); Whether the trial court's ruling infringed upon respondent's ability to be heard and to meaningfully participate in the process; Cummings v. Wayne Cnty.


The court held that the trial court did not err by denying the respondent's motions to terminate two of the three PPOs previously entered against him on an ex parte basis. The petitioner sought PPOs against respondent, her former child care provider, to keep him from contacting her or her two children. The trial court granted the request on an ex parte basis. It later granted respondent's motion to terminate the PPO as to petitioner personally, but denied it as to the children. On appeal, the court rejected his argument that the trial court erred by denying his motion to terminate the PPOs as to the children. It first held that "[g]iven the very young age of the children, i.e., four and five years old, it is reasonable to assume that contact with the children that was not consented to by their mother was also not consented to by the children." Further, the actions "respondent did not dispute could cause a reasonable person to suffer emotional distress." Finally, it found that the trial court did not erred by concluding that "respondent had ‘a relationship with a couple of young boys, ages 4 and 5, that is unordinary, and he has pursued that relationship in a manner which is also unordinary'" or that "the totality of the circumstances - including 'the fact that he had a PPO against the children's father, dropped that PPO, and now . . . is appearing at every custody hearing . . . , driving 5 hours to appear' - caused legitimate 'concern that these children have something to fear' based on the 'unordinary' way that respondent 'has injected himself into these children's lives.'" The court also rejected his argument that he was prejudiced by the trial court's limitation of his cross-examination of petitioner concerning his claim that her husband had engaged in domestic violence against her, noting he had an opportunity to be heard and to participate in the process. Affirmed.

Full Text Opinion