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M.N.M. v. S.R.B.

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Third Division

September 27, 2016

M.N.M., Petitioner/Respondent,
v.
S.R.B., Respondent/Appellant.

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of St. Louis County Hon. Mary Bruntrager Schroeder

          OPINION

          Lisa Van Amburg, Judge

         Appellant S.R.B. appeals the judgment of the circuit court granting an Order of Protection against her in favor of Respondent M.N.M. We reverse and vacate the judgment.

         Background

         The parties were roommates for four weeks in 2015. Appellant moved out of Respondent's apartment and into a neighbor's unit. Three months later, Respondent sought an order of protection alleging that Appellant took something from Respondent's apartment and failed to return it, defaced her front door and mailbox, telephoned her friends, and made her uncomfortable by remaining in the complex.

         At a hearing on the petition, Respondent testified that: she believed but couldn't prove that Appellant wrote the obscenities on her door and mailbox; Appellant contacted two of Respondent's friends "to talk about me in a negative way;" Appellant "contacted me with a nasty test message;" and Appellant saw Respondent in the parking lot and called her a bitch. On cross-examination, Respondent conceded that she was not afraid of Appellant but didn't know what she was capable of and didn't want her around. Respondent testified as follows:

Q: So, my only question to you is: you are not afraid of her?
A: No, I'm not afraid of her.
Q: So what harm do you believe she could do to you based on your petition?
A: I believe she wrote on my house. She can come back and write on my house.
Q: But you're not afraid of her harming you physically?
A: She could. … I believe that people can harm you and people can do things maliciously.

         At the close of the evidence, the trial court orally granted a full order of protection. However, in its standard form written judgment, the court did not check the box confirming an evidentiary finding that Respondent had proven allegations constituting abuse or stalking. Appellant appeals the court's order and asserts that the evidence in the record was insufficient to support findings of stalking or harassment.

         Standard ...


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