Another PPO Terminated

In Blog, Recent Cases by Chris Kessel

After a hearing at the Wayne Court Circuit Court, a judge dismissed what can only be described as yet another bogus PPO. My client and the petitioner had previously been in a relationship (stop my if you’ve heard this before…). The relationship did not end particularly well, with hard feelings on both sides. To make matters more difficult, both parties worked in the same place. However, my client went out of her way to have little to no contact with the petitioner. So far so good…

However, when she moved out, my client was unable to gather all of her things from the home. She attempted to contact the petitioner, multiple times. Each attempt was ignored. Eventually, my client simply went to the home to gather her remaining items. The petitioner decided the appropriate move was to call the police! The petitioner then went to court and filed a PPO against my client, claiming that she had stalked and harassed her.

At the hearing the petitioner presented several emails sent from my client, none of which were particularly offensive and none of which were, in any way, threatening. During my questioning the petitioner admitted that the parties would often brake up, my client would “chase” her, then the petitioner would finally respond and the two would get back together. When I asked her if she had expressly told my client that she did not want to see her or hear from her ever again, the petitioner simply stated “well, I assumed that she would know that.” When I asked how she would know that based on their history, she had no answer. The petitioner also admitted that my client did have several items that were still in her home.

I had prepared my client for a long and involved period of questioning. But when you are an experienced attorney you know when the judge has already made up his or her mind. In this case there was no doubt in my mind that the judge was ready to terminate this PPO without my client going into detail about the past relationship. So while the petitioner testified for over 20min, my client testified for less than 3min.

As the judge terminated the PPO, he explained that PPO’s are court orders, meant for actual stalking and harassing behavior. They are not meant for people who have broken up and are being mean to people. He was absolutely correct. While the language in the PPO statute is fairly broad, they are often given out far too easily, as was the case here.

PPO’s are real court orders with real consequences. If you or a friend or family member feels that they have unjustly had a PPO set against them, contact Chris Kessel Law today.