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Repp v. Van Someren

Supreme Court of South Dakota

June 24, 2015

MICHELLE ELIZABETH REPP, Petitioner and Appellee,
v.
BENJAMIN JACOB VAN SOMEREN, Respondent and Appellant

March 23, 2015, Considered on Briefs

APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE SIXTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT HUGHES COUNTY, SOUTH DAKOTA. THE HONORABLE JOHN L. BROWN, Judge.

Reversed and remanded.

BEVERLY J. KATZ of Katz Law Office, Prof., LLC, Huron, South Dakota, Attorneys for petitioner and appellee.

CHRISTINA L. KLINGER of May, Adam, Gerdes & Thompson, LLP, Pierre, South Dakota, Attorneys for respondent and appellant.

WILBUR, Justice. GILBERTSON, Chief Justice, and ZINTER, SEVERSON, and KERN, Justices, concur.

OPINION BY: WILBUR

OPINION

Page 123

WILBUR, Justice

[¶1] Michelle Repp filed for a protection order against her former boyfriend Benjamin Van Someren. The circuit court granted Repp the protection order for a period of five years on the basis of stalking. Van Someren appeals and argues that the findings of fact do not support the court order. We reverse and remand for findings of fact and conclusions of law.

Background

[¶2] On May 5, 2014, Repp filed a petition and affidavit for a stalking protection order. Repp checked boxes on the petition alleging Van Someren: (1) " Willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly followed me; " or (2) " Harassed me by pursuing a knowing and willful course of conduct which seriously alarms, annoys or harasses me with no legitimate purpose. The pattern of conduct is a series of acts over a period of time, however short, showing a continuing pattern of harassment." On the petition, Repp described her dysfunctional relationship with Van Someren and the alleged reasons that necessitated a protection order. The circuit court issued a temporary protection order against Van Someren and set a hearing for a permanent protection order on July 2, 2014. Around this time, Van Someren found employment in Saint Peters--a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri--and planned to move on July 5, 2014.

[¶3] Repp and Van Someren offered conflicting testimony at the permanent protection order hearing on July 2, 2014. Therefore, we restate the facts in this case " in a light most favorable to the circuit court's" decision. Donat v. Johnson, 2015 S.D. 16, ¶ 2, 862 N.W.2d 122, 125. Repp testified that she and Van Someren began dating on August 24, 2012, and that the two of them had eight to ten breakups over the following two years. The final breakup occurred on May 1, 2014. Repp testified that she had increasing concerns for her safety during their unstable relationship. She testified that she continued to date him despite the many breakups because she " was constantly trusting him" and that she " was scared half to death of him, but he made [her] believe that it was

Page 124

all [her] fault and so [she] was constantly trying to change ...


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