This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. 480A.08, subd. 3 (2000).

 

STATE OF MINNESOTA

IN COURT OF APPEALS

C4-00-1818

 

Vicki Erickson,

Respondent,

 

vs.

 

Richard Reinhold Sorgert,

Appellant.

 

 

Filed April 3, 2001

Affirmed

Schumacher, Judge

 

Hennepin County District Court

File No. HA009740

 

 

Mitchell J. Ask, 3135 Major Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55422 (for respondent)

 

Ronald Resnik, 6200 Shingle Creek Parkway, Suite 340, Brooklyn Center, MN 55430 (for appellant)

 

 

Considered and decided by Schumacher, Presiding Judge, Kalitowski, Judge, and Stoneburner, Judge.

U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N

SCHUMACHER, ROBERT H., Judge

Appellant Richard Reinhold Sorgert challenges the district court's issuance of a restraining order against him. Sorgert argues that (1) the district court's findings of fact are inadequate and do not find support in the evidence; and (2) Sorgert's acts do not fall within the statutory definition of "harassment." We affirm.

FACTS

On February 26, 2000, Sorgert arrived at the office of Great Expectations Dating Service located in the Minneapolis metropolitan area. Respondent Vicki Erickson was an employee and conducted an interview with Sorgert to gauge his personality and preferences in the event that Sorgert decided to become a member of the dating service. Erickson's interview with Sorgert lasted approximately four hours, during which Sorgert made several comments that made Erickson feel uncomfortable. At the end of the interview, Erickson declined membership.

Approximately two days later, Erickson received a dozen roses along with a note that stated as follows:

VICKI!

 

YOUR ONENESS HAS BEEN ACCEPTED, WITH THE LOVE OF GOD. I HEREIN NOW GIVE GOD THANKS!

 

ME.

 

Erickson, correctly suspecting that Sorgert had sent the flowers and note, replied by sending Sorgert a note thanking him for the flowers and stating, in relevant part, "I was put in a position on Saturday that I honestly was not very comfortable in," and "I truly believe that you will meet this person that you will spend your life with but it is not in the direction that was given on Saturday."

On March 2, 2000, Sorgert phoned the dating service, asking to speak with Erickson. When Erickson received the message that Sorgert had called, she asked her supervisor to speak with him and to clarify that Erickson did not wish to speak with him. Her supervisor did so, telling Sorgert that he should neither call again nor attempt to make further contact with Erickson, and if he did, the "authorities would be notified."

On July 11, 2000, Sorgert contacted Erickson's mother by telephone. Sorgert explained that he wished to speak with Erickson and inquired as to how he might contact her. Erickson's mother was aware of the incidents and told Sorgert that Erickson did not wish to have any contact with him. Sorgert continued to engage Erickson's mother in a telephone conversation. Sorgert told her that he had hired a service to find Erickson. Erickson's mother also testified that Sorgert gave details concerning the mother's car and license plate number, implying that he had been following her.

On July 12, Erickson filed a petition and affidavit to obtain a harassment restraining order against Sorgert. At the hearing, Sorgert conceded that he had sent the flowers and note, that he had made the phone call to Erickson's place of employment, that he had made the phone call to Erickson's mother, and that he had hired a service to find Erickson. Following the hearing, the district court granted the petition, finding that there existed "reasonable grounds to believe that [Sorgert] has engaged in harassment." This appeal followed.

D E C I S I O N

1. Sorgert argues that the district court made inadequate findings of fact to support issuance of the restraining order and that the district court's findings were not supported by the evidence in the record.

"In all actions tried upon the facts without a jury * * * the court shall find the facts specially and state separately its conclusions of law theron * * *." Minn. R. Civ. P. 52.01. Findings of fact will not be set aside unless clearly erroneous. Id. A remand may be required if the trial court fails to make adequate findings. Welch v. Commissioner of Pub. Safety, 545 N.W.2d 692, 694 (Minn. App. 1996). But "[w]here it appears that the decisive issues have been decided by the trial court without a jury, the reviewing court is not required to reverse simply because the trial court might have gone into more detail in the explanation of its findings." Peterson v. Johnston, 254 N.W.2d 360, 362 (Minn. 1977) (citation omitted). Moreover, a remand is unnecessary where the reviewing court is able to infer the findings from the trial court's conclusions. State v. Kvam, 336 N.W.2d 525, 528 (Minn. 1983).

The district court may grant a harassment restraining order if it "finds at the hearing that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the respondent has engaged in harassment." Minn. Stat. 609.748, subd. 5(a)(3) (2000). Here, the court made a finding that there existed "reasonable grounds to believe that [Sorgert] has engaged in harassment" and therefore concluded that the harassment restraining order should issue. Admittedly, the district court could have gone into more detail in stating its findings. Based on the record, however, we find without difficulty the factual basis for the district court's conclusions and order.

Sorgert admitted to all the essential facts contained in the petition. He admitted to making several attempts to contact Erickson, despite knowing that such contact was unwelcome. The district court clearly relied on these admissions, along with the testimony of Erickson and her mother, in determining that Sorgert's statements and gestures constituted harassment. We find support in the record for the district court's findings that Sorgert had engaged in harassment.

2. Sorgert argues that his acts do not fall within the statutory definition of "harassment." Application of law to undisputed facts is a question of law which we review de novo. Boubelik v. Liberty State Bank, 553 N.W.2d 393, 402 (Minn. 1996).

For the purposes of the harassment restraining order statute, the term "harassment" is defined as, inter alia, "repeated incidents of intrusive or unwanted acts, words, or gestures that have a substantial adverse effect or are intended to have a substantial adverse effect on the safety, security, or privacy of another." Minn. Stat.  609.748, subd. 1(a)(1) (2000).[1] We have held, for instance, that unwelcome contact between an abortion protester and an abortion clinic director fit within the statutory definition of harassment, despite the protester's claims that his contact was benign in nature. Welsh v. Johnson, 508 N.W.2d 212, 216 (Minn. App. 1993). In Welsh, we concluded that the record contained ample evidence of harassment where the protester, in relevant part, "showed unwelcome and unwarranted familiarity with [the director] when he was, in fact, a stranger." Id. Similarly, Sorgert persistently attempted to contact Erickson personally, via her employer, and via her mother despite knowing that such contact was unwelcome. These repeated contacts demonstrate a conspicuous and unwelcome familiarity, which in turn had an adverse effect on Erickson's security and privacy. We conclude Sorgert's acts fall within the statutory definition of harassment.

Affirmed.



[1] Formerly, the text of the statute limited the definition of "harassment" to "repeated, intrusive, or unwanted acts, words, or gestures that are intended to adversely affect the safety, security, or privacy of another." Minn. Stat. 609.748, subd. 1(a)(1) (1998). The new language applies to petitions filed on or after July 1, 2000. 2000 Minn. Laws ch. 476, 4. Since Erickson's petition was filed on July 11, 2000, the new language is applicable.