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Cavanaugh v. Cavanaugh

Supreme Court of Rhode Island

June 16, 2014

Rosanna Cavanaugh
v.
Brian Cavanaugh

Providence County Family Court. (P 12-1084-A). Chief Judge Haiganush R. Bedrosian. Magistrate Jeanne L. Shepard.

For Plaintiff: Robert M. Brady, Esq.

For Defendant: Karen A. Oliveira, Esq.

Present: Suttell, C.J., Goldberg, Flaherty, Robinson, and Indeglia, JJ.

OPINION

Page 201

Robinson, Justice.

The defendant, Brian Cavanaugh, has appealed from an order of the Chief Judge of the Family Court affirming the entry of an order by a magistrate of the Family Court restraining and enjoining him from contacting his former wife, Rosanna Cavanaugh (the plaintiff). It is the contention of the defendant that the magistrate's issuance of a civil restraining order was not authorized by G.L. 1956 chapter 15 of title 15, which chapter is entitled " Domestic Abuse Prevention." This case came before the Supreme Court pursuant to an order directing the parties to appear and show cause why the issues raised in this appeal should not be summarily decided. After a close review of the record and careful consideration of the parties' arguments (both written and oral), we are satisfied that cause has not been shown and that this appeal may be decided at this time. For the reasons set forth in this opinion, we affirm the order of the Family Court.

I

Facts and Travel

On August 10, 2012, plaintiff filed a complaint in Family Court seeking protection from abuse pursuant to chapter 15 of title 15 of the General Laws. In that complaint, plaintiff alleged that she " suffered abuse when the defendant" " [p]laced [her] in fear of imminent physical harm" and engaged in " Stalking, Cyberstalking, [and/or] Harassing." In support of her complaint, plaintiff filed an affidavit stating that she was in fear of defendant because of his " persistent threatening, swearing, and menacing behavior during pick-up/drop-off times [when they would exchange their child] and phone calls." She asked the court to enjoin defendant " from contacting, assaulting, molesting, or otherwise interfering with [her] * * * ." An ex parte " Temporary Order [for] Protection from Abuse" was entered that same day. The Family Court specified, inter alia, in the order that defendant may contact plaintiff to facilitate visitation and that the exchange of their child (over whom the parties had shared physical custody) should occur at either the North Smithfield, Rhode Island or Franklin, Massachusetts police stations.[1]

A

The Hearing on Plaintiff's Complaint for Protection from Abuse

On October 19, 2012, a hearing was held on plaintiff's complaint for protection from abuse before a magistrate of the Family Court, at which ...


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