This opinion will be unpublished and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
Teresa Rose Page,
William J. Bostrom,
Filed June 19, 2001
Washington County District Court
File No. F9-00-5049
Anne Spencer Tretinyak, Family Violence Network, P.O. Box 854, Lake Elmo, MN 55042 (for respondent)
William J. Bostrom, 2199 Oakwood Drive, Mounds View, MN 55112 (pro se appellant)
Considered and decided by Crippen, Presiding Judge, Harten, Judge, and Poritsky, Judge.
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
In this domestic-abuse proceeding, appellant argues that the evidence does not support the district court’s decision to issue a domestic-abuse order for protection against him. We affirm.
Appellant William Bostrom and respondent Teresa Page became acquainted over the Internet and began dating in December 1999. Bostrom moved in with Page in August 2000. After three distinct incidents in which Page alleged that Bostrom committed physical assaults on her and her children, she sought an order for protection against him pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 518B.01, subd. 4 (2000).
The Washington County District Court held a hearing regarding this matter on October 5, 2000, with both parties present. Page testified that Bostrom physically assaulted her and her children, threatened their lives, and destroyed her property. Bostrom testified that he never caused physical harm to Page or damaged her property. He also presented evidence that Page did not complete a 911 call on a specific date. Bostrom’s wife (from whom he was obtaining a divorce) testified as to his nonviolent nature.
The district court found that a significant romantic or sexual relationship existed between the parties and that Bostrom had committed domestic abuse by pushing Page and holding her arm behind her back and threatening harm to her through others. Based on these findings and conclusions, the district court ordered that Bostrom was not to commit further acts of domestic abuse against Page and her children, that he should not make any attempt to contact them, and that he must remain at least 120 yards from her residence in Cottage Grove. This appeal followed.
D E C I S I O N
Under the domestic-abuse act, domestic abuse occurs and an order for protection may issue, where a person involved with another in “a significant romantic or sexual relationship” has committed “assault” or “terroristic threats” upon the other. Minn. Stat. § 518B.01, subd. 2(a)(1), (3); (b)(7) (2000). Bostrom does not dispute that he and Page had a relationship that met the statutory requirement. Rather, he argues that the district court erred in believing Page’s testimony, and in using Page’s testimony as its basis for concluding that he committed domestic abuse.
On appeal, we will not set aside a district court’s findings unless we find them to be clearly erroneous. Minn. R. Civ. P. 52.01. A finding is “clearly erroneous” if the reviewing court is “left with the definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been made.” Gjovik v. Strope, 401 N.W.2d 664, 667 (Minn. 1987). When determining whether findings are clearly erroneous, “we view the record in the light most favorable to the district court’s findings.” Lossing v. Lossing, 403 N.W.2d 688, 690 (Minn. App. 1987). Furthermore, we must defer to a district court’s credibility determinations. Sefkow v. Sefkow, 427 N.W.2d 203, 210 (Minn. 1988). A district court’s findings are not defective merely because we might have drawn inferences from the record different from those drawn by the district court. See Elliott v. Mitchell, 311 Minn. 533, 535, 249 N.W.2d 172, 174 (1976) (affirming district court’s findings despite admitting “the evidence might [have] support[ed] another conclusion”); see also Fletcher v. St. Paul Pioneer Press, 589 N.W.2d 96, 101 (Minn. 1999) (stating “[i]t is not the province of [an appellate court] to reconcile conflicting evidence”). Here, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the findings and deferring to the district court’s credibility determinations, we conclude that the record supports the district court’s decision.
Bostrom argues that Page’s credibility was impeached by an exhibit that—he claims—shows that no 911 calls were completed from his home on August 29, 2000. Page had testified that she was phoning 911 on that date to report an assault by Bostrom and that the phone rang once or twice, but Bostrom unplugged the phone before the call could be completed. Bostrom testified that the telcom center would have picked up Page’s call on the first ring and that the call “automatically comes up on the telcom center whether you make contact or not.” Bostrom argues that because Page’s August 29 call does not appear on the exhibit, it proves she did not make the call and thus she is lying. But the only evidence he offered to support his claim that an uncompleted 911 call would appear on the exhibit was his own testimony, which apparently the district court did not accept. In a situation such as this, where witness testimony is directly contradictory, we must defer to the district court’s ability to assess the credibility of witnesses. Sefkow, 427 N.W.2d at 210.
Because Bostrom does not establish that the district court clearly erred in its findings, which support the conclusion that he had committed domestic abuse, we affirm its decision issuing an order for protection.
* Retired judge of the district court, serving as judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.