This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996)
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Captain Patrick Chase, et al.,
Filed November 10, 1998
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
Considered and decided by Lansing, Presiding Judge, Randall, Judge, and Short,
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
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.
D E C I S I O N
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