This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996)




Captain Patrick Chase, et al.,



Teresa Graham,


Filed November 10, 1998


Lansing, Judge

Ramsey County District Court

File No. C298100132

Hubert H. Humphrey III, Attorney General, Jeffrey S. Bilcik, Michael Pahl, Assistant Attorneys General, 525 Park Street, Suite 200, St. Paul, MN 55103 (for respondents)

Teresa M. Graham, 4837 Ewing Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55410 (appellant pro se)

Considered and decided by Lansing, Presiding Judge, Randall, Judge, and Short, Judge.



Teresa Graham appeals a harassment restraining order issued under Minn. Stat. § 609.748 (1996). Because the evidence satisfies the statutory requirements and the restraining order does not violate constitutional or statutorily protected rights, we affirm.


On petition of Patrick Chase, a Minnesota State Patrol Captain, the district court issued an order restraining Teresa Graham from contacting five state government agencies for two years except in writing. Chase, the director of State Capitol Security, petitioned on behalf of all five agencies. At the contested hearing, the district court heard testimony from Chase, two other Capitol Security officers, three state employees, and Graham.

According to these witnesses, Graham engaged in repeated, intrusive, aggressive acts in each of the five agencies, adversely affecting safety and security. These acts included refusing requests to leave, screaming, pushing a tape recorder into employees' faces, blocking an office doorway, making confrontational phone calls, refusing to follow department procedures for viewing public records, and loudly alleging that employees were corrupt or harassing her. According to Chase, Graham's actions prompted about 60 calls to Capitol Security from various employees in the five agencies during an eight-month period and also required Capitol Security to respond to three "panic button" alarms.

After the district court granted the restraining order, Graham unsuccessfully moved for reconsideration and removal of the hearing referee. In this appeal, Graham challenges (1) the sufficiency of the evidence, (2) the quashing of her 13 subpoenas, (3) the harassment statute's application to agencies, and (4) the alleged violation of her informational and constitutional rights.



This court reviews harassment restraining orders under an abuse-of-discretion standard. See Anderson v. Lake, 536 N.W.2d 909, 911 (Minn. App. 1995) (applying caselaw construing domestic abuse act to harassment statute); Mechtel v. Mechtel, 528 N.W.2d 916, 920 (Minn. App. 1995) (detailing district court's discretion to grant relief under domestic abuse act). Graham argues that the record contains no evidence that she violated Minn. Stat. § 609.748. We disagree. The record contains substantial evidence that Graham engaged in harassment of the state agencies named in the order. The testimony of three Capitol Security officers and three additional state employees specifically described Graham's actions that demonstrated aggressive, accusatory, and confrontational behavior. In addition to the witnesses' testimony, the court made a specific finding that Graham had displayed the very conduct at issue in the proceedings before the court. See Minn. R. Civ. P. 52.01 (reviewing court defers to district court's assessment of witness credibility and factual findings).


Graham asserts error in the district court's quashing her 13 subpoenas. The court evaluated each subpoena separately and determined that two had not been properly served, two had been issued to witnesses who had already testified and were cross-examined by Graham, one was to obtain documents that had already been supplied, and the remaining subpoenas were for witnesses who lacked personal knowledge. See Minn. R. Evid. 402 (evidence must be relevant); Minn. R. Evid. 403 (court may exclude cumulative evidence); Minn. R. Evid 602 (witness must have personal knowledge). We find no abuse of the district court's broad discretion to determine admissible evidence and to quash subpoenas. Uselman v. Uselman, 464 N.W.2d 130, 138 (Minn. 1990) (evidence); Phillippe v. Commissioner of Pub. Safety, 374 N.W.2d 293, 297 (Minn. App. 1985) (subpoenas). We also reject, as lacking factual support, Graham's allegations that Chase's attorney engaged in witness tampering and ex parte conversations with the court.


Graham maintains that because state agencies are not people, the harassment statute may not be invoked for their protection. See Minn Stat. § 609.748, subd. 2 (1996) ("[a] person who is a victim of harassment" may seek a restraining order) (emphasis added). We have previously determined that a corporation is a "person" for purposes of obtaining a restraining order under Minn. Stat. § 609.748. See Dayton Hudson Corp. v. Johnson, 528 N.W.2d 260, 262-63 (Minn. App. 1995). Analogous to a private corporation, a state agency has a duty to protect public customers and to provide safe working conditions for employees. We conclude that a state agency is a "person" for purposes of the harassment statute and that the broad scope of the order is necessary in light of Graham's pattern of conduct.


Finally, Graham contends that the restraining order violates her rights to obtain public data under Minnesota law and the Americans with Disabilities Act and her expression rights protected by the U.S. Constitution. Graham's right to access data under Minn. Stat. § 13.41, subd. 4 (1996), has not been impermissibly constrained. The restraining order allows Graham to contact the agencies in writing and provides for personal contact upon the invitation of a state employee. See Minn. Stat. § 13.03, subd. 3 (1996) (public government data to be made available "at reasonable times and places") (emphasis added). With respect to informational rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101, et. seq. (1996), Graham has failed to demonstrate that she is a qualified person with a disability. See Tyler v. City of Manhattan, 857 F. Supp. 800, 817 (D. Kan. 1994).

In analyzing Graham's constitutional argument, we note, first, that the district court imposed the restraining order to regulate the manner of Graham's contact with the state and its employees. The purpose and the specific provisions of the injunction are content-neutral. Madsen v. Women's Health Ctr., Inc., 512 U.S. 753, 762-64, 114 S. Ct. 2516, 2523-24 (1994). In evaluating the constitutionality of a content-neutral restraining order, we determine only whether the order burdens more speech than is necessary to serve a significant government interest. Id. at 765; 114 S. Ct. at 2525. Given Graham's pattern of repeated harassment, the order does not burden more speech than is necessary to serve the important government interest of providing safe areas for public access and providing safety and security for public employees in their workplace.