This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2000).
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Ramsey County District Court
File No. C199100598
Scott Wyman, 5972 Dellwood Avenue, Shoreview, MN 55126 (pro se appellant)
Alan J. Albrecht, Albrecht & Associates, Ltd., 7066 Brooklyn Boulevard, Brooklyn Center, MN 55429 (attorney pro se)
Considered and decided by Crippen, Presiding Judge, Randall, Judge, and Foley, Judge.*
Appellant Scott Wyman disputes the trial court’s finding that respondent Alan Albrecht committed “no act of harassment,” insisting that respondent “intentionally engaged in a series of acts, words and gestures that clearly invaded” his “safety, security and privacy.” Because the record sufficiently permits the trial court’s finding of fact, we affirm.
Appellant’s marriage to Susan Klasen was dissolved in 1997. Respondent Alan Albrecht is an attorney now married to Susan Klasen. In December 1999, appellant sought a harassment restraining order against respondent. The matter was heard over four days, producing a 254-page transcript of testimony. In March 2000, the trial court issued its order finding no act of harassment had occurred.
The trial court may issue a harassment restraining order if it finds “reasonable grounds to believe that the respondent has engaged in harassment.” Minn. Stat. § 609.748, subd. 5(a)(3) (2000). “Harassment” includes
repeated, intrusive, or unwanted acts, words, or gestures that are intended to adversely affect the safety, security, or privacy of another, regardless of the relationship between the actor and the intended target.
Id., subd. 1(a)(1) (2000). The trial court’s findings of fact must be upheld unless they are clearly erroneous. Witchell v. Witchell, 606 N.W.2d 730, 732 (Minn. App. 2000). The determination of whether a harassing act occurred is a question of fact.
Appellant contends that respondent harassed him by authoring two letters on Ms. Klasen’s behalf to the attorney who represented appellant in the divorce proceedings. Both letters involve disputes between appellant and his former wife, and the trial court found them to be “regular lawyer to lawyer letter[s].” Appellant contends that because respondent had not been substituted as counsel for Ms. Klasen, the letters were personal correspondence constituting harassment.
We need not determine whether respondent conformed with the rubrics governing whether he could act as counsel for Ms. Klasen at the time the letters were sent. What is important is that there is no evidence the letters were intended to adversely affect the safety, security, or privacy of appellant. To the contrary, evidence in the record supports the trial court’s finding that the letters contain a straightforward statement of Ms. Klasen’s position on the disputed importance of religious instruction and extracurricular activities of a minor child in her custody. There is an ample evidentiary basis in the record for the trial court’s finding that the letters did not constitute harassing acts.
Appellant also disputes respondent’s calls to appellant’s place of employment to inquire about the name and address of his employer, a preliminary step in determining the amount of appellant’s income for child-support purposes. Appellant again disputes respondent’s choice to conduct himself as Ms. Klasen’s counsel and also disputes whether there remained an open question regarding respondent’s support obligation. He further contends that the calls could not properly be made without disclosures of respondent’s purpose to collect a debt in conformity with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Even if the inquiries were unwarranted, the record permits the trial court’s finding that the two very brief calls did not affect the safety, security, or privacy of appellant. On this and other assertions, the trial court might have made a finding of harassment but did not clearly err in making a different finding. In such circumstances, trial court findings must be sustained on appeal
Finally, appellant makes other accusations of harassing conduct. In each of these instances the trial court had competing evidence permitting a finding that no intrusive or unwanted acts, words, or gestures occurred.
Appellant also disputes whether the trial court made sufficient findings by failing to address specifically each of his assertions of fact. Appellant cites no authority suggesting that the trial court must make negative findings on asserted facts or must reject each separate piece of evidence offered to establish that fact. Moreover, the trial court disclosed its reasoning on the record with reference to the regularity of the steps taken by respondent. These statements suggest that the trial court found respondent’s acts were either ordinary and harmless or were without intent to harass.
* Retired judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, serving by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.