e-Journal Summary

e-Journal Number : 71920
Opinion Date : 12/12/2019
e-Journal Date : 01/02/2020
Court : Michigan Court of Appeals
Case Name : JLT v. DAC
Practice Area(s) : Personal Protection Orders
Judge(s) : Per Curiam - Fort Hood, Servitto, and Boonstra
Full Text Opinion
Issues:

Petition for an ex parte personal protection order (PPO); MCL 600.2950; MCL 600.2950a; TM v. MZ; Petition to modify or rescind a PPO; MCL 600.2950a(13) & (14); Burden of persuasion; MCR 3.310(B)(5); Pickering v. Pickering; Whether there was reasonable cause to believe that respondent may commit one or more of the acts listed in MCL 600.2950(1); MCL 600.2950(4); Entering onto premises; MCL 600.2950(1)(a); Engaging in conduct that is prohibited under MCL 750.411h or 411i; MCL 600.2950(1)(j); Stalking; MCL 750.411h(2); Definitions; MCL 750.411h(1); Hayford v. Hayford; Pobursky v. Gee

Summary

Holding that the trial court erred by denying respondent’s motion to terminate an ex parte PPO issued against him in favor of petitioner (his daughter), the court reversed and remanded for entry of an order granting his motion. Petitioner sought and was granted the PPO. Respondent then sought to have it terminated. The trial court denied his motion. On appeal, the court rejected his argument that the trial court impermissibly shifted the burden of persuasion to him. “[T]he trial court heard all the evidence and held that petitioner’s testimony justified the denial of respondent’s motion.” It found that petitioner "proved through her testimony that she was entitled to a PPO.” There was “no indication that the trial court violated MCR 3.310(B)(5).” However, it agreed with respondent that the trial court “failed to address whether there was reasonable cause to believe that respondent would commit one or more of the acts listed in MCL 600.2950(1),” and concluded that “the evidence on which the trial court relied in denying respondent’s motion” did not support a finding of reasonable cause. “[U]nder MCL 600.2950(4), the trial court must issue a PPO if it finds that there is reasonable cause to believe that respondent may commit one or more of the acts listed in subsection (1).” Here, however, it “did not address MCL 600.2950 or find reasonable cause to believe that respondent would commit an act identified in MCL 600.2950(1).” Rather, it “stated that the PPO was justified simply because respondent had responded to petitioner’s text message after she told him that she did not want any further contact.” There was “no evidence presented that respondent either stalked petitioner by engaging in a ‘course of conduct’ or that he harassed petitioner by engaging in ‘repeated or continuing’ unconsented contact.”

Full Text Opinion