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Combs v. Lund

Supreme Court of North Dakota

January 15, 2015

Justin Combs and his children, Petitioners
v.
Dallas Lund, Respondent and Appellant

Appeal from the District Court of Divide County, Northwest Judicial District, the Honorable Robin Ann Schmidt, Judge.

Elizabeth Ledgerwood Pendlay, Crosby, ND, for respondent and appellant.

Justin Combs and his children, petitioners, no appearance.

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

OPINION

Page 312

Crothers, Justice.

[¶1] Dallas Lund appeals from a district court order granting Justin Combs and the Combs' children a disorderly conduct restraining order against him. Lund argues the district court failed to make the necessary findings of fact and conclusions of law under N.D.R.Civ.P. 52(a) and N.D.C.C. § 12.1-31.2-01(5). Lund also argues the district court abused its discretion in issuing the order because the order improperly created a right of review or modification in a divorce proceeding to which Lund was not a party. We reverse and remand.

I

[¶2] Justin Combs and Lisa Combs are divorcing. Lund is in a dating relationship with Lisa Combs. In the early hours of March 23, 2014, Lisa Combs had an argument with one of her children at the Combs' residence. The argument became physical, and Lisa Combs called Lund, asking him to come over and provide her with assistance.

[¶3] On March 27, 2014, Justin Combs and the Combs' children filed a petition for a disorderly conduct restraining order against Lund. The district court granted a temporary order and set a hearing for April 10, 2014. According to the children's testimony, Lund used physical force with one or more of the Combs' children. Lisa Combs and Lund testified that Lund did not. The children testified they were afraid of Lund. After hearing the testimony, the district court ruled from the bench, stating:

" I'm appalled, frankly, by this behavior. This is ridiculous to act like this in front of children. And I understand that children are children, and probably overreact as well, but somebody has to be the adult. I'm going to enter an order here that will be modifiable by the pending divorce, because I think there's more that needs to be said and done on this. But at this point, I don't want those children around you. I don't think that they need to be around you. I need for you people to understand that these

Page 313

children are going through a lot right now. And I'm sure you get that but this can't happen again. This is unacceptable. So, I'm entering a one year order that can be modified by the divorce. And ...

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