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L.M. v. J.B.

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

June 7, 2013

L.M., Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
J.B., Defendant-Appellant.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued April 16, 2013

Remanded April 25, 2013 Resubmitted May 31, 2013

On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Cape May County, Docket No. FV-05-113-13.

Charles A. Matison argued the cause for appellant.

Kathleen Pasquarello Stockton argued the cause for respondent (Archer & Greiner, attorneys; Ms. Stockton, on the brief).

Before Judges Fisher and Leone.

PER CURIAM

Defendant J.B. appeals a final restraining order (FRO) entered in favor of his ex-wife, plaintiff L.M., pursuant to the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, N.J.S.A. 2C:25-17 to -35, arguing, among other things, that the judge's finding that defendant made a harassing communication was against the weight of the evidence and that the judge failed to determine whether an FRO was required to avoid further domestic violence, in accordance with Silver v. Silver, 387 N.J.Super. 112, 127 (App. Div. 2006). In our prior opinion in this matter, we rejected the former but agreed with the latter argument and remanded for additional findings. L.M. v. J.B., No. A-0528-12 (App. Div. Apr. 25, 2013) (slip op. at 1-2). We retained jurisdiction and directed that the remand proceedings be completed within thirty days. Id . at 7.

The trial judge rendered a written opinion on May 9, 2013. In focusing on the question posed by our remand, [1] the judge found there had been a physical act of domestic violence two years earlier, when defendant twisted plaintiff's arm behind her back. Our earlier opinion referred to a prior domestic violence action based on events that occurred the month before the events giving rise to the present matter. The judge found in his remand decision that, on that earlier occasion, defendant had made an obscene gesture toward plaintiff and mouthed "f**k you." In the earlier action, the judge did not rule in plaintiff's favor because he viewed that event as mere domestic contretemps. Following our remand, the judge determined that these prior events informed his determination regarding the need for an FRO to prevent further abuse. He held that "in common parlance '[defendant] just doesn't get it'" and determined that plaintiff is entitled "to be left alone." The judge also found from the facts and circumstances that there can be no "reasonable assurance of [plaintiff] being left alone without the issuance of a restraining order."

We conclude that the judge properly applied the principles outlined in Silver, and his findings of fact in that regard are entitled to our deference. Cesare v. Cesare, 154 N.J. 394, 413 (1998). We, thus, affirm the FRO for these reasons, as well as those set forth in our earlier opinion.

Affirmed.


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