final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
from the Circuit Court for the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit,
Palm Beach County; Jessica Ticktin, Judge; L.T. Case No.
Kenneth A. Gordon and Julia Wyda of Brinkley Morgan, Fort
Lauderdale, for appellant.
J. Hauser of Pankauski Hauser PLLC, West Palm Beach, for
Burns appeals a final judgment of injunction for protection
against stalking entered in favor of Jerilyn Bockorick. We
reverse because there was not competent substantial evidence
to support the issuance of the injunction and there was no
stipulation to evidence of stalking.
filed a petition for injunction for protection against
stalking against Burns. In the petition, she alleged that
since the end of their romantic relationship several months
earlier, Burns had repeatedly tried contacting her by phone
and email, despite her requests that he stop. The trial court
found there was not a sufficient factual basis to enter a
temporary injunction and set the matter for an evidentiary
was represented by counsel at the hearing. Burns appeared pro
se. The judge began by asking if the parties had reached an
agreement as to whether an injunction should be entered.
Bockorick's attorney responded that she spoke to Burns
before the hearing and "explained what our request would
be and the basis for the petition." The judge asked
counsel to apprise the court of the agreement and instructed
Burns to "listen carefully." Counsel did not
provide a legal basis for the injunction, but explained that
under the proposed agreement, Burns would be prohibited from
contacting Bockorick or going within 500 feet of her home.
Burns agreed to stay away from his ex, but expressed concern
about the 500 feet requirement because the parties live down
the street from each other. Bockorick's attorney agreed
to modify the distance, and offered to include a provision
that inadvertent or casual contact in public would not be a
violation. After both parties agreed to the wording of the
inadvertent contact provision, and without taking any
evidence, the judge signed the final judgment of injunction.
signing the final judgment, the judge told Burns that any
attempt to contact Bockorick was prohibited, that he needed
to surrender any firearms he had to the Sheriff's
Department, and that a violation of the injunction could lead
to a criminal case.
court entered an "agreed" final judgment for
protection against stalking violence to remain in effect for
one year. The findings section of the final judgment stated
that based on the specific facts of the case, Bockorick was a
victim of stalking.
timely moved for rehearing, arguing that although he agreed
to stop contacting Bockorick during his pre-hearing
discussion with her attorney, he never admitted or agreed
that stalking occurred. Burns asserted that he signed the
acknowledgment of receipt of the final judgment in open
court, because he thought it merely represented his agreement
to stop contacting Bockorick. Burns requested the judgment be
reversed, or alternatively, that he be granted a new hearing
at which he be given an opportunity to present evidence and
defend against the petition. The motion for rehearing was
denied without explanation.
argues the trial court erred in entering an injunction when
there was not competent substantial evidence of stalking.
Bockorick responds that Burns agreed to the order prohibiting
contact. Significantly, Bockorick concedes it is
"impossible to tell" from the transcript whether
Burns agreed to a finding that he engaged in stalking.
that the trial court erred in entering an injunction where
there was no evidence of stalking and no stipulation to
evidence of stalking, and abused its discretion in denying
the motion for rehearing.
784.0485, Florida Statutes (2016), creates "a cause of
action for an injunction for protection against
stalking." "The Florida Criminal Code authorizes
circuit courts to issue temporary injunctions against
stalking, but it contemplates a 'full hearing' before
a permanent injunction may be entered." Ceelen v.
Grant, 210 So.3d 128, 129 (Fla. 2d DCA 2016) (citing
§ 784.0485(5)(c)(1)). "In order to be entitled to
an injunction for stalking, the petitioner must allege and
prove two separate instances of stalking." David v.
Schack, 192 So.3d 625, 627-28 (Fla. 4th DCA 2016);
see also Touhey v. Seda, 133 So.3d 1203, 1204 (Fla.