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Goldman v. Griffin

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

December 18, 2019

TODD GOLDMAN
v.
NICOLE GRIFFIN TODD GOLDMAN
v.
PETER GRIFFIN

          Assigned on Briefs October 1, 2019

          Appeal from the Circuit Court for Davidson County Nos. 18X812 Philip E. Smith, Judge

         This is a consolidated appeal concerning the trial court's dismissal of two orders of protection in this domestic relations action. We affirm.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit Court Affirmed; Case Remanded

          Todd Goldman, Nashville, Tennessee, pro se.

          Janelle A. Simmons, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Nicole and Peter Griffin.

          John W. McClarty, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Richard H. Dinkins and Arnold B. Goldin, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          JOHN W. McCLARTY, JUDGE

         I. BACKGROUND

         Todd Goldman ("Petitioner") filed the petitions for orders of protection at issue against his ex-wife, Nicole Griffin ("Mother"), and her new husband, Peter Griffin ("Stepfather") (collectively "Respondents"), in September 2018, following Mother's relocation to Tennessee with Petitioner's minor child. In support of his petitions, Petitioner alleged that on September 7, 2018, Respondents "showed up at [his] property unannounced" and were "p[ee]king through the windows snapping pictures of the house" while he was exercising his co-parenting time with the minor child. He alleged that he confronted Stepfather and told him to leave but that he later saw Respondents circling his property when he and the minor child left the home to take a walk. He further claimed that Respondents also circled his property on August 5, 2018. He asserted that he was "afraid of their intentions" and wanted them to stay away from him and his residence. He explained that Stepfather has access to weapons and had threatened to shoot in the past.

         The First Circuit Court issued orders of protection following a hearing. Respondents appealed the orders entered against them individually in the Fourth Circuit Court. The cases were consolidated for the court's consideration. The case proceeded to a hearing, at which the trial court limited Petitioner's examination of his witnesses to the event giving rise to his filing of the petitions.

         Petitioner confirmed the account of the event contained in his petition and also provided some testimony concerning the contentious nature of the relationship between the parties involved. In turn, Stepfather explained that he and Mother visited the residence because they were concerned for the minor child. Stepfather alleged that Petitioner routinely exercised his co-parenting time in a hotel following Mother's relocation to Tennessee but that Petitioner exercised his co-parenting time at a new residence on the day at issue. Stepfather claimed that he became concerned when he was unable to confirm the address provided and that they only intended to confirm Petitioner's whereabouts with the minor child. He explained that Petitioner had previously taken the minor child to Ohio without permission and in violation of a court order. The court credited Stepfather's explanation and dismissed the orders of protection, finding that Petitioner failed to carry his burden of proof by a preponderance of the evidence that the incidents alleged occurred as sworn. This timely consolidated appeal followed.

         II.ISS ...


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