November 19, 2008
LISA A. RUANE, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
PATRICK J. RUANE, JR., DEFENDANT-RESPONDENT.
On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Ocean County, Docket No. FV-15-968-08.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted October 21, 2008
Before Judges Collester and Grall.
Plaintiff Lisa A. Ruane appeals from the denial of a final restraining order she sought pursuant to the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (PDVA), N.J.S.A. 2C:25-17 to -35. The defendant Patrick J. Ruane, Jr., is plaintiff's former husband.
The judge's decision is based largely on his assessment of the credibility of the witnesses and his factual findings are supported by "adequate, substantial, credible evidence." See Cesare v. Cesare, 154 N.J. 394, 412 (1998). Accordingly, we affirm.
The judge concluded that plaintiff failed to establish one of two acts, which she alleged amounted to a course of conduct constituting harassment. The judge did not believe plaintiff when she testified that defendant drove in a manner that forced plaintiff to drive her car off the road. Although the judge found that the defendant committed the second act plaintiff alleged, which was that defendant appeared on plaintiff's property with a camera in his hand, the judge concluded that defendant did not act with the purpose of harassing the plaintiff. The judge believed defendant's explanation, which was that his purpose was to gather evidence in support of his opposition to plaintiff's post-judgment motion in their divorce action. Because the judge did not find the elements necessary to establish harassment, N.J.S.A. 2C:33-4c, the judge properly refused to enter a final restraining order and properly dismissed plaintiff's complaint and temporary restraining order, N.J.S.A. 2C:25-29a.
Plaintiff's argument that her evidence indicating that defendant took pictures on the day before this incident compelled the court to discredit defendant's explanation lacks sufficient merit to warrant more than brief comment. R. 2:11-3(e)(1)(E). The question was one of credibility, and the trial judge, who had the opportunity to hear and observe the witnesses, was in a position and obligated to resolve the disputed facts.
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