Thursday, August 8, 2013

Incidents Constituting a Course of Conduct Need Not Occur Within a Certain Time Frame.

Butters v. Herbert, 2012 UT App. 329, Utah Court of Appeals, November 23, 2012

Butters sought and obtained a civil stalking injunction against Herbert and awarded Butters her attorney fees for the two day trial.  Herbert appealed.

In order to obtain a stalking injunction, a petitioner must show that respondent engaged in a course of conduct (two or more incidents) directed at petitioner that respondent knows or should know would cause a reasonable person fear for their or another’s safety or emotional distress.  Herbert argues that the incidents in this case are too sporadic and not outrageous enough.  Court of Appeals disagreed and affirmed the trial court.

The court of Appeals found that actions in support of a stalking injunction need not occur in any specific time frame. The Court found that Herbert’s actions of speeding towards Butters in a grocery store parking lot, followed by him circling her car for several minutes is a sufficiently outrageous.  That combined with his actions of his approaching of Butters in the mall parking lot and silently staring at her is also sufficiently outrageous.  Those two actions alone are sufficient for the entry of a stalking injunction.  Particularly when coupled with the two incidents at the gym, one which he circled her car on foot, followed her inside the continued to stare at her.

This combination of incidents could cause a reasonable person to fear for his/her safety.

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