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Knopik v. Hahn

Court of Appeals of Nebraska

October 17, 2017

Abbie Knopik, appellee,
v.
Douglas D. Hahn, appellant. Lance Greenwood, appellee,
v.
Douglas D. Hahn, appellant.

         1. Judgments: Injunction: Appeal and Error. A protection order is analogous to an injunction. Accordingly, the grant or denial of a protection order is reviewed de novo on the record.

         2. ___: ___: ___. In a de novo review of a protection order, an appellate court reaches conclusions independent of the factual findings of the trial court. However, where the credible evidence is in conflict on a material issue of fact, the appellate court considers and may give weight to the circumstances that the trial judge heard and observed the witnesses and accepted one version of the facts rather than another.

         3. Statutes: Appeal and Error. Appellate courts give statutory language its plain and ordinary meaning and will not resort to interpretation to ascertain the meaning of statutory words which are plain, direct, and unambiguous.

         Appeals from the District Court for Merrick County: Rachel A. Daugherty, Judge. Reversed and remanded with directions.

          Charles R. Maser for appellant.

          Paul A. Clark, of Clark & Curry, P.C., for appellees.

          Moore, Chief Judge, and Bishop and Arterburn, Judges.

         [25 Neb.App. 158] Moore, Chief Judge.

         INTRODUCTION

         Douglas D. Hahn appeals from harassment protection orders entered by the district court for Merrick County finding that the ex parte harassment orders entered against Hahn for the protection of Abbie Knopik and Lance Greenwood are to remain in effect until October 26 and November 3, 2017. respectively. Hahn argues insufficient evidence was provided to support issuance of the protection orders. Specifically, Hahn argues his actions did not amount to a course of harassing conduct, a statutory requirement for issuance of harassment protection orders. Finding no such course of conduct, we reverse, and remand with directions to vacate the harassment protection orders.

         BACKGROUND

         On October 26, 2016, Knopik filed a "Petition and Affidavit to Obtain Harassment Protection Order" pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. § 28-311.09 (Reissue 2016) against Hahn. This petition was also made on behalf of Knopik's 4-year-old son. On November 3, Greenwood filed a "Petition and Affidavit to Obtain Harassment Protection Order" pursuant to § 28-311.09 against Hahn, arising from the same incident. Greenwood is the fiance of Knopik. Included in both affidavits were descriptions of the alleged harassment that inspired the protection order requests. The incident occurred on October 14, in front of a residence shared by Knopik and Greenwood.

         On the same day as the petitions were filed, the court entered ex parte harassment protection orders. The order regarding Knopik also applied to her son. Hahn filed requests for a hearing on the respective protection orders.

         A combined evidentiary hearing on both petitions was held on November 14, 2016. Knopik and Greenwood each testified during the hearing. Hahn did not provide testimony or any ...


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