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P. K. W. v. Steagall

Court of Appeals of Oregon

October 9, 2019

P. K. W., Petitioner-Respondent,
v.
David Edward STEAGALL, Respondent-Appellant. 299 Or.App. 820

          Submitted June 7, 2019

          Linn County Circuit Court 18PO05430; David E. Delsman, Judge.

          Tyler Reid fled the brief for appellant.

          Chelsea D. Armstrong and Armstrong Chai, LLC, fled the brief for respondent.

          Before Hadlock, Presiding Judge, and DeHoog, Judge, and Mooney, Judge.

         Case Summary: Respondent appeals from an order that continued an ex parte restraining order following a contested hearing. Respondent argues that the trial courter red by continuing the restraining order because there was insufficient evidence in the record to support the restraining order as required by ORS 107.710(1). Held: The trial court did not err. The record contained sufficient evidence to support the trial court's findings and conclusions of law.

          [299 Or.App. 821] MOONEY, J.

         This is a Family Abuse Prevention Act (FAPA), ORS 107.700 to 107.735, restraining order case between the parties to a six-year intimate relationship. Respondent appeals from an order that continued an ex parte restraining order following a contested hearing. Respondent argues that the trial court erred by continuing the restraining order because there was insufficient evidence in the record to support the restraining order as required by ORS 107.710(1). We disagree and, therefore, affirm.

         Prior to stating the facts of this case, we briefly set out the applicable legal standards and process for obtaining a FAPA restraining order. When a person has been abused within the previous 180 days, he or she may petition the circuit court for a restraining order. ORS 107.710(1). After receiving the petition, the court shall hold an ex parte hearing and grant the restraining order upon a showing that (1) the petitioner has been a victim of abuse within the 180-day time period immediately before the petition for the restraining order is filed, (2) the petitioner is in imminent danger of further abuse, and (3) the respondent represents a credible threat to the petitioner's physical safety. ORS 107.718(1). If the court issues the ex parte restraining order, the respondent may request a hearing to challenge the restraining order. ORS 107.718(10). The burden of proof at both the ex parte and the contested hearing is by a preponderance of the evidence and is carried by the petitioner. ORS 107.718(1); ORS 107.710(2).[1]

          [299 Or.App. 822] On appeal, we review the trial court's legal conclusions for legal error.[2] Kargol v. Kargol, 295 Or.App. 529, 530, 435 P.3d 814 (2019). We are bound by the trial court's factual findings-both those that are explicit and those that are necessarily implied by its rulings-if any evidence in the record supports them. Hannemann v. Anderson, 251 Or.App. 207, 208, 283 P.3d 386 (2012). We therefore describe the facts consistent with that standard.

         The following facts are taken from the evidence admitted at the contested hearing. Petitioner and respondent began their romantic relationship sometime in 2012. For the first three years, they lived in separate residences and then, in December 2015, petitioner and her son, A, moved into respondent's home, where he resided with his children, D, J, and K. The parties worked on some "combined parenting skills," but generally each was responsible for disciplining his or her own child(ren). The dynamics of that arrangement became complicated and the parties' relationship deteriorated. Their interactions became volatile; respondent began tracking petitioner's whereabouts with a GPS device, and he frequently boasted about physical fights he had been in and won. Respondent required petitioner to turn her paychecks over to him for deposit into their joint account. Approximately one week before the June 3 incident (described below), he removed her name from the account so that she no longer had access to her money.

         In January 2018, an incident occurred during a family trip to the store in respondent's truck. Respondent went into the store for bread and the others waited in the truck. Respondent's son, J, pushed K down in the back seat where they were sitting. Petitioner, seated in the front passenger seat, attempted to intervene and defuse the situation by flicking J in the mouth with her finger. J resisted [299 Or.App. 823] by blocking those attempts and the situation escalated. While in the store, respondent noticed a commotion out in the truck, at which point he returned, opened the back door, and hit petitioner several times on both sides of her head.

         The incident that prompted petitioner to file her restraining order petition occurred on June 3, 2018. It is undisputed that petitioner and respondent began that day with an intimate encounter. Petitioner testified that the intimate encounter was consensual but that, after it ended, respondent penetrated her rectum with his finger several times after she told him not to do so. Respondent disputes that petitioner told him not to do so and testified further that petitioner had said that "that's how she liked it."

         They then attended church services later that morning. While the parties were still in respondent's truck after returning from church, they argued about money, with respondent telling petitioner that she needed to turn her paychecks over to him. The argument was heated, and petitioner got out of the truck and went into the house, specifically to A and D's shared bedroom. Respondent followed her, making loud statements about petitioner's experiences with other men while her son was close enough to hear. Petitioner began to videotape respondent with her phone, and she told respondent that his comments were criminal because her son was present to hear them. Respondent, further angered by this, knocked her down onto the bed and took her phone. As petitioner jumped up in an effort to retrieve her phone, respondent threw her into an elliptical exercise machine, causing pain and leaving her bruised. Petitioner chased respondent in an unsuccessful attempt to get her phone back. She and her ...


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