FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE MOTION FOR REHEARING AND
DISPOSITION THEREOF IF FILED
from the Circuit Court for Brevard County, David E.
A. Russell and Jack L. Platt, of Platt Hopwood Attorneys at
Law, PLLC, Melbourne, for Appellant.
J. Volk, of Volk Law Offices, P.A., Melbourne, for Appellee.
Packal appeals a judgment granting a permanent injunction for
protection against stalking violence. Because competent,
substantial evidence does not support a finding of stalking,
we reverse the injunction.
evening of July 4, 2016, Packal's neighbor, Deniz D.
Johnson, set off fireworks with her family in the middle of
their street. Startled by the sound of the fireworks, Packal
emerged from his home with an unloaded gun, made explicit
verbal threats towards Johnson and her family, then crossed
the street and shoved Johnson's boyfriend's son,
Matthew Garcia, who had begun to record the incident on his
phone. According to Garcia, the entire confrontation occurred
within a twenty-minute timeframe. Johnson subsequently filed
a Petition for Injunction for Protection Against Stalking
Johnson alleged a history of confrontations involving Packal,
the trial court expressly disregarded this history at the
hearing on the petition and focused entirely on the July 4
altercation. The trial court ultimately found that
Packal's actions during the twenty-minute altercation
qualified as two separate incidents of harassment, warranting
an injunction. Specifically, the trial court found that
Packal harassed Johnson by: (1) verbally threatening her and
her family while demonstrating his firearm, and (2) shoving
784.0485(1), Florida Statutes (2016), establishes a cause of
action for an injunction for protection against stalking.
"Each incident of stalking must be proven by competent,
substantial evidence to support an injunction against
stalking." David v. Schack, 192 So.3d 625, 628
(Fla. 4th DCA 2016) (quoting Touhey v. Seda, 133
So.3d 1203, 1204 (Fla. 2d DCA 2014)). "A person who
willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows, harasses, or
cyberstalks another person commits the offense of
stalking." § 784.048(2), Fla. Stat (2016).
"'Harass' means to engage in a course of conduct
directed at a specific person which causes
substantial emotional distress to that person and serves no
legitimate purpose." Id. § 784.048(1)(a)
(emphasis added). "'Course of conduct' means a
pattern of conduct composed of a series of acts over a period
of time, however short, which evidences a continuity of
purpose." Id. § 784.048(1)(b).
the two acts cited by the trial court amount to one
continuous course of conduct, establishing only one instance
of harassment. Cf. Levy v. Jacobs, 69 So.3d 403, 404
(Fla. 4th DCA 2011) ("[T]he record evidence demonstrated
that in addition to occurring in different locations, there
was a temporal break of approximately five minutes between
the incidents. This was a sufficient temporal break to allow
[the respondent] time to pause, reflect, and form a new
intent before the second attack."). This single instance
cannot support a finding of stalking, which requires evidence
of repeat harassment. See § 784.048(2), Fla.
Stat. Further, even if we find that Packal's actions
constitute two separate instances of harassment, Packal
shoving Garcia does not qualify as harassment of Johnson.
See id. § 784.048(1)(a). Accordingly, we
reverse the injunction.
and TORPY, JJ., concur.