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George v. George

Supreme Court of North Dakota

December 18, 2014

Tina M. George, Petitioner and Appellant
v.
Jess J. George, Respondent and Appellee

Appeal from the District Court of Burleigh County, South Central Judicial District, the Honorable Wayne D. Goter, Judicial Referee.

Gregory I. Runge (on brief), Bismarck, N.D., for petitioner and appellant.

Suzanne M. Schweigert (on brief), Bismarck, N.D., for respondent and appellee.

Mikayla Jablonski Jahner and James Fitzsimmons, Bismarck, N.D., for amicus curiae North Dakota Council On Abused Women's Services.

Dale V. Sandstrom, Daniel J. Crothers, Lisa Fair McEvers, Carol Ronning Kapsner, Gerald W. VandeWalle, C.J. Opinion of the Court by Sandstrom, Justice.

OPINION

Page 770

Sandstrom, Justice.

[¶1] Tina George appeals from a district court order dismissing her petition for a disorderly conduct restraining order against her ex-husband, Jess George. Because the district court's findings are unclear and the law may have been misapplied in determining whether sufficient grounds existed to justify the issuance of a disorderly conduct restraining order, we reverse and remand to the district court.

I

[¶2] On January 17, 2014, Tina George petitioned the district court for a disorderly conduct restraining order against her ex-husband, alleging he had contacted her repeatedly following the parties' separation and subsequent divorce in an attempt to reconcile their relationship. Specifically,

Page 771

she claimed he committed various acts of disorderly conduct by driving past her residence on numerous occasions, sending her ten dozen flowers to her place of employment on their anniversary, following her from a family gathering, and accessing her voice mail messages. She also claimed that several months earlier she had tried to obtain a disorderly conduct restraining order against him, but that petition was dismissed. The district court issued a temporary restraining order against Jess George.

[¶3] At a February 2014 hearing, Tina George testified that although she asked her ex-husband to stop contacting her, he persisted in trying to talk with her about reconciling their relationship. She testified that after she requested he leave her alone, he continued to drive by her residence, approach her at her place of employment and in public, and send her numerous text messages.

[¶4] She also testified about three specific instances when he allegedly committed acts of disorderly conduct. She testified the first occurred on June 7, 2013, the parties' tenth wedding anniversary, when he sent her ten dozen roses while she was at work, despite having been told that she no longer wanted to remain in contact with him.

[¶5] She testified the second incident occurred in December 2013 when Jess George followed her after she had left a family holiday gathering very upset. She testified that she noticed he was following her on the interstate as she drove back to Bismarck and that she became frightened as a result and attempted to elude him by ...


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