This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. 480A.08, subd. 3 (2002).

 

 

STATE OF MINNESOTA

IN COURT OF APPEALS

C4-02-2035

 

Marcia Beier, petitioner,

Respondent,

 

vs.

 

Shawn Sheets,

Appellant.

 

Filed May 6, 2003

Affirmed

Robert H. Schumacher, Judge

 

Stearns County District Court

File No. CX024859

 

 

John E. Mack, Mack & Daby, P.A., 26 Main Street, P.O. Box 302, New London, MN 56273 (for appellant)

 

Marcia Beier, 22084-383rd Avenue, Belgrade, MN 56312 (respondent pro se)

 

 

Considered and decided by Anderson, Presiding Judge, Schumacher, Judge, and Willis, Judge.

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

ROBERT H. SCHUMACHER, Judge

Appellant Shawn Sheets appeals the district court's grant of a harassment restraining order against him. We affirm.

FACTS

On October 1, 2002, respondent Marcia Beier filed a petition for a temporary harassment restraining order against Sheets. In her petition, Beier claimed that Sheets made a threat to her safety, called her obscene names, used obscene gestures toward her, and vandalized her car. After a hearing at which testimony was taken, the district court ruled:

Based on the testimony I find that in February of 2002, and August 10th of 2002 [Sheets] called [Beier] a psycho bitch, and that on September 22, 2002 he threw a drink on her. Those acts constitute harassment, a restraining order will issue.

 

The district court issued a written order that same day providing,

1. [Sheets] shall not harass [Beier]

 

2. [Sheets] shall have no contact with [Beier]

 

3. [Sheets] shall stay at least 300 feet away from where [Beier] resides

 

* * * *

 

4. [Sheets] shall stay away from [Beier's] place of employment * * *.

 

D E C I S I O N

1. Sheets claims that the district court's findings were insufficient to support the restraining order. This court will review harassment restraining orders under an abuse-of-discretion standard. Witchell v. Witchell, 606 N.W.2d 730, 731-32 (Minn. App. 2000).

A district court may grant a 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(3) (2002). "Harassment" is defined in the statute as

a single incident of physical or sexual assault or 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, regardless of the relationship between the actor and the intended target[.]

 

Minn. Stat. 609.748, subd. 1(a)(1) (2002).

Actions do not need to be obscene or vulgar to constitute harassment. Welsh v. Johnson, 508 N.W.2d 212, 216 (Minn. App. 1993). Inappropriate and argumentative comments, however, are insufficient to rise to the level of harassment. Witchell, 606 N.W.2d at 732 (noting that "[a]lthough husband's statements are inappropriate and argumentative, we cannot say that they were intrusive or that they were intended to adversely affect the safety, security, or privacy of wife.")

The district court ruled that Sheets engaged in harassment of Beier by calling her a "psycho bitch" on two occasions and throwing a drink on her.[1] The district court found that in February 2002 Sheets telephoned Beier and called her the abusive name. Such a phone call at her home can be viewed as having an adverse effect on her safety, security, or privacy. The court also found that six months later, outside of a local bar, Sheets again called Beier a "psycho bitch."

Minn. Stat. 609.748, subd. 1, also provides that harassment is "a single incident of physical * * * assault." The district court determined that Sheets engaged in assaultive conduct when he threw a drink on Beier. An assault is "an act done with intent to cause fear in another of immediate bodily harm." Minn. Stat. 609.02, subd. 10 (2002). It was reasonable for the district court to determine that the drink-throwing incident was assaultive conduct under the harassment statute.

Although the evidence of harassment is not overwhelming, we cannot say the district court abused its discretion in its determination. When looking at the name-calling and drink-throwing incidents, we cannot find that the district court abused its discretion in finding harassment.

2. Sheets argues that the restraining order is overbroad. While the restraining order statute is not specific, prior cases suggest that, in determining whether a restraining order is overly broad, the court must weigh the interests of the victim against the burden on the restrained party. See, e.g., Davidson v. Webb, 535 N.W.2d 822, 824 (Minn. App. 1995) (finding that problems would rise if parties had contact and that restrained party could conduct business from office rather than at site where victim's business was located); Welsh, 508 N.W.2d at 215 (balancing "well-being, tranquility, and privacy" of victim's home against restrained party's rights to express views (quotation omitted)). Based on the record before us, we find no evidence suggesting that Sheets would be unfairly burdened by the restraining order.

Affirmed.



[1] It should be noted that the district court ruled that Sheets threw a drink on Beier on September 9, 2002, but the testimony indicates that the incident took place on August 10, 2002.