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Linda N. v. William N.

Supreme Court of Nebraska

December 5, 2014

LINDA N., ON BEHALF OF A MINOR CHILD, REBECCA N., APPELLEE AND CROSS-APPELLANT,
v.
WILLIAM N., APPELLANT AND CROSS-APPELLEE

Appeal from the District Court for Valley County: KARIN L. NOAKES, Judge.

Page 437

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 438

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 439

Chris A. Johnson and Joshua A. Johnson, of Conway, Pauley & Johnson, P.C., for appellant.

Michael S. Borders, of Borders Law Office, and Brandon B. Hanson, of Hanson Law Offices, for appellee.

HEAVICAN, C.J., WRIGHT, CONNOLLY, STEPHAN, MCCORMACK, MILLER-LERMAN, and CASSEL, JJ.

OPINION

Page 440

[289 Neb. 608] McCormack, J.

NATURE OF CASE

In early 2014, Linda N., on behalf of her minor child, filed a petition for a domestic abuse protection order against the minor child's father, William N. An ex parte domestic abuse protection order was issued by the district court, and William requested a show cause hearing on the ex parte order. The evidence against William included many text messages including vulgar language and name-calling. Upon hearing, the district court upheld its domestic abuse protection order. William appeals, stating that the district court erred in considering his [289 Neb. 609] conduct " abuse" under Neb. Rev. Stat. § 42-903 (Cum. Supp. 2014). Linda maintains that William's conduct should be considered abuse. She also cross-appeals, arguing that the district court should have issued a harassment protection order instead of a domestic abuse protection order.

BACKGROUND

A petition and affidavit to obtain a domestic abuse protection order was filed against William in the district court on January 2, 2014, by Linda on behalf of her minor child. The stated rationale for such protection order was verbal abuse of the child by William in what Linda felt to be a " threat to [the minor child]." Further, Linda states that the way William spoke to the child was " very disgusting [and] disturbing." Further, " It upsets [the minor child] and is causing her a lot of stress." Following the petition and affidavit, an ex parte domestic abuse protection order was filed on January 2. William then requested a hearing on the order.

At a show cause hearing on January 21, 2014, the minor child, who was 16 years old, testified against William, and William also testified. An exhibit was received into evidence of the text messages that had been sent between the minor child and William. The text messages showed that William repeatedly texted the minor child, stating that Linda was a " drunk" or " piece of loser shit," that the minor child's boyfriend was a " fag" and " pussy," and that William was going to file charges against Linda and the minor child's boyfriend. William called the minor child " an asshole" and told her she could " kiss [his] ass." William texted the minor child: " Im ur dad u will one day regret all of ur sick rude twisted desgusting [sic] ignorant shit. I never ever harmed u or hurt u. I love u and miss u so much u ass." Many more texts were exchanged between the minor child and William in which William continued the name-calling and vulgar language. William threatened to take Linda and the minor child to court.

At the hearing, the minor child testified that the texts from William scared and intimidated her. She further testified that she felt threatened by the texts. William testified [289 Neb. 610] that the arguments between the minor child and himself were provoked by the actions of the minor child's boyfriend, with whom William had argued. William testified that he did not keep track of all of the texts between the child and himself but asserts that she had sent provoking texts to him as well, including that " [he is] not her dad anymore, [he does not] belong in her life anymore, that [he is] nothing to her anymore." William stated that he was very upset about the breakdown of his relationship with his daughter and that though his messages were not justified, he felt misunderstood.

Following the show cause hearing, the district court issued an order affirming the

Page 441

domestic abuse protection order. William appeals the domestic abuse protection order. Linda defends the entry of the domestic abuse protection order, but also cross-appeals, arguing that the district court erred in failing to grant a harassment protection order.

ASSIGNMENTS OF ERROR

William contends that the district court erred in affirming a domestic abuse protection order preventing him from contacting or interacting with his daughter, because his actions did not ...


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