may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1998).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Filed April 27, 1999
Beltrami County District Court
File No. C8-98-909
Thomas L. D'Albani, 205 Seventh St., Bemidji, MN 56619-0978 (for respondent)
Considered and decided by Toussaint, Chief Judge, Halbrooks, Judge, and Foley, Judge.
Appellant seeks review of the district court's denial of her petition for a harassment restraining order under Minn. Stat. § 609.748 (1998). Because the allegations stated in the petition were not proved, the district court correctly denied the petition, and we affirm.
Appellant Leyla Tarlan and respondent Alan Sorenson are married. Tarlan filed for dissolution of the marriage on June 18, 1998. At the time, Tarlan did not file a motion for temporary relief regarding the custody of the parties' three minor children, child support, or the parties' living arrangements. Both parties have thus continued to reside in their home together with their children.
On July 23, 1998, Tarlan filed this action seeking the issuance of a harassment restraining order pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 609.748 (1998). On August 5, the district court held a hearing regarding the petition for a harassment restraining order. The court attempted to get the parties to resolve the matter willingly by agreeing to incorporate into the summons in the pending dissolution matter the definition of harassment found in Minn. Stat. § 609.748, subd. 1(a), but Tarlan refused to accept this solution. Because it became apparent to the district court that the matter could not be resolved easily, another hearing was scheduled at which the parties would be able to present evidence.
Tarlan and Sorensen both testified at the second hearing. Subsequently, the district court denied her petition for a harassment restraining order, finding Tarlan had failed to prove the allegations in her petition. Tarlan appealed.
This court reviews the district court's decision denying the issuance of a harassment restraining order under an abuse of discretion standard. See Anderson v. Lake, 536 N.W.2d 909, 911 (Minn. App. 1995) (applying domestic abuse case law to harassment restraining orders); FitzGerald v. FitzGerald, 406 N.W.2d 52, 54 (Minn. App. 1987) (standard of review for domestic abuse orders is abuse of discretion).
A district court may issue 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(a)(3) (1998). Harassment includes "repeated, intrusive, or unwanted acts, words, or gestures that are intended to adversely affect the safety, security, or privacy of another." Id., subd. 1(a)(1) (1998).
Tarlan alleged in her petition that Sorensen harassed her by hiring a babysitter to watch the children when Tarlan was home and able to care for them herself. Tarlan testified that she thought Sorensen did so with the intention of interfering with her relationship with her children. She also testified, however, that the parties have almost always had nannies or babysitters, that the nannies have sometimes been there even when one of them was home, and that in any event, the babysitter was no longer there.
Tarlan also alleged that Sorenson released her medical records without her permission, violating her right to privacy. Our review of the record leaves us with the impression that while both parties have said inappropriate things about each other in front of, or to their employees, neither party's conduct rose to the level necessary to require the issuance of a harassment restraining order under Minn. Stat. § 609.748.
Tarlan also alleged that Sorenson interfered with her ability to receive mail. She testified, however, that she filed the petition for dissolution on June 18, 1998, and that Sorensen canceled the post office box, which was in his name only, sometime during the middle of August. Tarlan admitted that she was still able to get her mail. It seems reasonable that the district court may have found that, just as Sorensen had to go to the post office to get a new mail box, so could Tarlan.
Finally, we note that on cross-examination Tarlan admitted that while she filed the petition she had no intention of getting divorced. From this and other testimony the district court may have found that Tarlan's creditability was questionable. This court defers to the district court's determinations with regard to credibility issues. See Davidson v. Webb, 535 N.W.2d 822, 824 (Minn. App. 1995) (this court gives due regard to trial court's opportunity to judge credibility of witnesses).
[*] Retired judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, serving by apointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.