final until disposition of any timely and authorized motion
under Fla. R. App. P. 9.330 or 9.331.
appeal from the Circuit Court for Levy County. David W. Fina,
Bauer and Maria Youngblood of Bauer Law Group, P.A.,
Gainesville, and Abigail Beebe of The Law Office of Abigail
Beebe, P.A., West Palm Beach, for Appellant.
Stanley H. Griffis, III, pro se, Appellee.
Lee Hart challenges an injunction against domestic violence
issued by the trial court. We reverse.
Wife and Former Husband were married and had five minor
children in common. They were divorced in May 2013, but
shared parental responsibility. In the summer of 2018, the
parties agreed on the children attending school in Gilchrist
County, but in August 2018, Former Wife objected to the
arrangement. The family court ordered the children remain
enrolled in Gilchrist County.
Husband later filed a Petition for Injunction for Protection
Against Domestic Violence, claiming Former Wife committed or
threatened to commit domestic violence. After an evidentiary
hearing, the trial court granted the petition for injunction.
The trial court held that Former Husband was a victim of
domestic violence or had reasonable cause to believe he was
in imminent danger of becoming a victim by Former Wife. The
trial court found that Former Wife's past conduct was
intentional and willful with the purpose of causing Former
Husband to be removed as a judge or face legal reprimands
that could affect his ability to continue in office.
trial court has broad discretion to grant an injunction, and
we review an order imposing a permanent injunction for a
clear abuse of that discretion. But the question of whether
the evidence is legally sufficient to justify imposing an
injunction is a question of law that we review de novo."
Pickett v. Copeland, 236 So.3d 1142, 1143-44 (Fla.
1st DCA 2018) (internal citations omitted).
person who is a victim of domestic violence or has reasonable
cause to believe he or she is in imminent danger of becoming
the victim of any act of domestic violence has standing to
file a petition for an injunction for protection against
domestic violence. § 741.30(1)(a), Fla. Stat. (2019).
Domestic violence is "any assault, aggravated assault,
battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery,
stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false
imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical
injury or death of one family or household member by another
family or household member." § 741.28(2), Fla.
Husband's petition alleged past incidents of assault and
stalking. However, the alleged incidents of assault and
verbal abuse occurred more than four years before Former
Husband filed his petition, and are, therefore, too removed
in time to support the injunction. See Curl v. Roberts
o/b/o E. C., 279 So.3d 765, 767 (Fla. 1st DCA 2019)
(holding "[i]ncidents remote in time by as little as a
year are insufficient to support entry of a new injunction,
absent allegations of current violence or imminent danger
that satisfy the statute").
Husband alleged Former Wife contacted the court administrator
and the State Attorney in 2018 to have him investigated and
prosecuted, which constituted stalking. Stalking is defined
as the "willful[ ], malicious[ ], and repeated[ ]
follow[ing], harass[ing], or cyberstalk[ing of] another
person." § 784.048(2), Fla. Stat. (2019). Section
784.048(1)(a) defines "harass" as "engag[ing]
in a course of conduct directed at a specific person which
causes substantial emotional distress to that person
and serves no legitimate purpose." (emphasis
added). In addition, "[a]n injunction against domestic
violence requires malicious harassment that consists at the
very least of some threat of imminent violence, which
excludes mere uncivil ...