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Rose B. v. Dawson

Court of Appeals of Connecticut

August 29, 2017

ROSE B.[*]
v.
PRINCESS DICKSON DAWSON

          Argued May 31, 2017

         Procedural History

         Application for civil order of protection, brought to the Superior Court in the judicial district of Fairfield, where the court, Kamp, J., granted the application; thereafter, following a hearing, the court, Hon. Edward F. Stodolink, judge trial referee, continued the order of protection, and the defendant appealed to this court. Affirmed.

          Robert Berke, for the appellant (defendant).

          DiPentima, C. J., and Keller and Mullins, Js.

         Syllabus

         The defendant appealed to this court from the judgment of the trial court granting the plaintiff's application for a civil protection order. The plaintiff had filed the application, pursuant to statute (§ 46b-16a), against the defendant, a former friend, claiming that she had been the victim of stalking by the defendant and that she feared for her safety and well-being.

         Held:

         1. The defendant could not prevail on her claim that the trial court abused its discretion in granting the application because the plaintiff did not present sufficient evidence to warrant such relief; because the record did not contain either a memorandum of decision or a transcribed copy of an oral decision signed by the trial court stating the reasons for its decision as required by the rules of practice (§ 64-1 [a]), and the defendant merely included a copy of three pages of the trial transcript that was not signed by the court, which did not reveal the factual or legal bases for the court's decision, this court's review of the record did not afford it a basis on which to conclude that errors were made, and this court would not speculate with regard to the rationale of the trial court's decision nor presume that the court acted erroneously.

         2. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying the defendant's request for reconsideration, in which she alleged that because the application filed by the plaintiff did not include dates, she lacked adequate notice as to the specific facts that formed the basis for the plaintiff's application and was unduly surprised at the hearing by the plaintiff's version of the events; the defendant did not raise any issue with respect to a lack of specificity in the plaintiff's application prior to the date of the full hearing, during the presentation of evidence at the hearing, or after the court heard the evidence but prior to the time that it rendered its decision in this matter, and because the defendant did not assert that she was prejudiced by the lack of specificity in the plaintiff's application until after the court announced its ruling, which was adverse to her, the trial court properly found the defendant's expressed concern to be untimely.

          OPINION

          KELLER, J.

         The defendant, Princess Dickson Dawson, appeals from the judgment of the trial court granting the application for a civil protection order filed by the plaintiff, Rose B.[1] The defendant claims (1) that the court abused its discretion in granting the application because the plaintiff did not present sufficient evidence to warrant such relief[2] and (2) the court improperly denied the defendant's ‘‘request for a continuance and reconsideration.'' We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

         The record reveals the following facts. On September 27, 2016, the plaintiff, pursuant to General Statutes § 46b-16a, filed an application for an order of civil protection against the defendant, who is described in the application as the plaintiff's ‘‘former friend, '' a person whom she has known for more than fifteen years. In her application, the plaintiff alleged in relevant part that she had been the victim of stalking by the defendant and that she feared for her ‘‘safety [and] well-being.'' She referred to three incidents involving her and the defendant. One incident took place outside of her place of employment, a second incident took place at a Walmart store in Stratford, and a third incident took place at a courthouse. The plaintiff stated that, during the incident at Walmart, the defendant and the defendant's daughter ‘‘followed [her] into every aisle.'' The plaintiff requested that the court order that the defendant (1) not assault, threaten, abuse, harass, follow, interfere with, or stalk her; (2) stay away from her home; (3) not contact her in any manner; and (4) stay 100 yards away from her. The court, Kamp, J., granted the application and issued an ex parte civil protection order.

         The court, Hon. Edward F. Stodolink, judge trial referee, held a hearing on the application on October 6, 2016. At the hearing, the court considered the application brought by the plaintiff against the defendant as well as a separate application brought by the plaintiff against the defendant's daughter.[3] The plaintiff testified with respect to three separate incidents. The first was on May 10, 2016, at the Stratford Walmart store; the second was on June 25, 2016, at a public park in Bridgeport; the third was on September 26, 2016, at a courthouse in Bridgeport. The court also heard testimony from the defendant, the defendant's daughter, and Sylveri Gonzalez, a victim's advocate. At the conclusion of the hearing, the court granted the plaintiff's application, with the conditions sought by ...


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