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S.M.H. v. Gerald Wayne Anderson

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 07-11-2012
Case #: A147165
Hadlock, J. for the Court; Ortega, P.J.; and Sercombe, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://courts.oregon.gov/Publications/A147165.pdf

Family Abuse Prevention Act: Isolated contact without overt threats or an effort to be present in the same state as a petitioner is not sufficient to qualify as an immanent or credible threat to the physical safety of a person.

SMH obtained a restraining order against Anderson under the Family Abuse Prevention Act (FAPA). Anderson appealed the trial court's decision to continue the restraining order. SMH and Anderson cohabitated in the 90's in Arizona, and Anderson was sometimes abusive. While Anderson was in jail for unrelated reasons, SMH and her children moved back to Oregon, taking some of Anderson's stuff. Several years later, Anderson contacted SMH asking how she and her parents were doing and to let her know he might come for his stuff. She told him to leave her and her family alone. In 2009, Anderson spoke with a mutual friend of his and SMH, and asked the friend about SMH. SMH then obtained the FAPA restraining order. Anderson argued that there was no evidence that he presented an imminent danger of further abuse or a credible threat to SMH's physical safety. The Court agreed, explaining that, although close, Anderson never overtly threatened SMH, made an effort to come to Oregon from Arizona, or otherwise made contact with her except for the one letter. Reversed.