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M.H v. A.T

March 16, 2012

M.H., PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
A.T., DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Atlantic County, Docket No. FV-01-001440-10.

Per curiam.

RECORD IMPOUNDED

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted February 7, 2012

Before Judges Yannotti and Kennedy.

Defendant appeals from a final restraining order (FRO) entered by the Family Part on May 5, 2010, pursuant to the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (PDVA), N.J.S.A. 2C:25-17 to -35. We affirm.

On March 28, 2010, plaintiff filed a complaint alleging that defendant committed a predicate act of domestic violence in violation of the PDVA, specifically harassment. On March 29, 2010, the trial court issued a preliminary restraining order and scheduled the matter for a final hearing on whether a FRO should be issued. The hearing took place on May 5, 2010.

Plaintiff testified that she worked as a floorperson in a casino in Atlantic City. Defendant was a player at the casino. Plaintiff went out with defendant at various times from November 2009 to March 2010. Defendant thereafter would show up at plaintiff's home uninvited and ask her to go out. She refused. Plaintiff said that defendant continually called or sent her text messages, even though she told him not to do so. Between March 18 and March 24, 2010, defendant sent plaintiff 134 text messages.

Plaintiff stated that she told defendant several times to leave her alone. She said she would go to the police if he persisted, but defendant replied that he had "a really high position in the government" and the police would not listen to her. Plaintiff stated that she believed defendant would use his governmental position against her.

Plaintiff further testified that on one occasion, defendant came to her home and asked her to come outside. She told defendant that he could talk to her through the screen door. Defendant stated that he "just want[ed] to be [her] friend." Plaintiff replied that she was scared of him, and she asked defendant to leave her alone. According to plaintiff, defendant started to get mad. Defendant said he would find her, wherever she goes.

On cross-examination, plaintiff was asked about her relationship with defendant. Plaintiff stated that from time to time, she went out with defendant and other friends. She did not want to go out on a date alone with defendant. Plaintiff said that she and defendant were just friends and she was not interested in having a relationship with him.

Plaintiff also stated that she did not hold defendant's hand or "anything else." There was no kissing and no sex. She did not know whether her employer had a policy that precluded a floorperson from dating a player. Plaintiff had not been told of such a policy.

K.J. testified that he worked at the casino where plaintiff is employed. K.J. rented a room in plaintiff's home a couple of days a week, so he would not have to commute to his home in Cherry Hill. K.J. said that he knew defendant because he was a player in the casino.

K.J. also testified that in late March 2010, between nine and eleven o'clock p.m.`, he saw defendant in the driveway of plaintiff's home. K.J. was downstairs in the basement, and he heard plaintiff yelling at defendant. He heard plaintiff tell defendant ...


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