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Ingalls-Coy v. Medhaug

Court of Appeal of Iowa

October 2, 2013

KATHLEEN INGALLS-COY, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
SCOTT ALLEN MEDHAUG, Defendant-Appellee.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Bradley J. Harris, Judge.

Kathleen Ingalls-Coy appeals the district court's order following her petition and hearing for relief from domestic abuse.

David McManus of Sole & McManus, P.C., Cedar Rapids, for appellant.

John J. Wood of Beecher, Field, Walker, Morris, Hoffman, & Johnson P.C., Waterloo, for appellee.

Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Danilson and Tabor, JJ.

DANILSON, J.

Kathleen Ingalls-Coy appeals the district court's order following her petition and hearing for relief from domestic abuse. She contends the district court failed to fulfill its procedural obligation to provide specific findings of fact and conclusions of law when dismissing her petition and asks that we remand so the court may do so.[1] Upon review, we affirm.

I. BACKGROUND FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS.

On January 28, 2013, Ingalls-Coy filed a petition for relief from domestic abuse, claiming her former husband, Scott Medhaug, had endangered her. The same day the district court filed an order stating Ingalls-Coy had failed to plead facts that reasonably suggested she was in danger of domestic abuse[2] within the meaning of Iowa Code section 236.4 (2013). The court nonetheless ordered a hearing on the matter for February 8, 2013.

At the hearing Ingalls-Coy testified about an incident that occurred when she was picking up her daughters for visitation. She recounted being pushed and physically restrained by her ex-husband's neighbor when she tried to remove her daughters from the neighbor's vehicle. Her daughter from another relationship also testified and corroborated the account. Medhaug did not testify or offer further evidence. At the conclusion of the hearing, the court dismissed the petition, stating Ingalls-Coy had not made a sufficient showing that any type of domestic assault had taken place. On February 11, 2013, the court entered an order formally dismissing the petition "for reasons stated on the record."

On February 19, 2013, Ingalls-Coy filed two motions for findings and conclusions. The court granted the motions and filed an order in response on March 6, 2013. The order, setting forth the court's reasons for dismissing Ingalls-Coy's petition in greater detail, stated in part:

The court hereby specifically finds that plaintiff Kathleen Ingalls-Coy failed to show by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant Scott Allen Medhaug committed domestic abuse assault against Kathleen Ingalls-Coy and further failed to show that defendant Scott Allen Medhaug represents a credible threat to the physical safety of Kathleen Ingalls-Coy. The court has considered the theories of both primary participant and as aider and abettor in making its determination that no domestic abuse assault has occurred in this matter.
. . . .
The court determines that the evidence in this matter shows that plaintiff has attempted to use the protection provided in Chapter 236, Code of lowa, to bring about a change in prior custodial orders regarding the children of the parties. Plaintiff failed to allege sufficient facts to be granted a protective order in her petition and further failed to ...

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