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Allison v. Pepkowski

Court of Appeals of Indiana

March 27, 2014

DOUGLAS J. ALLISON, Appellant-Respondent,
v.
HEATHER PEPKOWSKI, Appellee-Petitioner

APPEAL FROM THE PORTER SUPERIOR COURT. The Honorable Julia M. Jent, Judge. Cause No. 64D03-1308-PO-7674.

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: ADAM J. SEDIA, Rubino, Ruman, Crosmer & Polen, Dyer, Indiana.

DARDEN, Senior Judge. RILEY, J., and MAY, J., concur.

OPINION

Page 468

DARDEN, Senior Judge.

STATEMENT OF THE CASE

The trial court continued the hearing on a protective order petition and extended the temporary protective order for six months after the petitioner suffered an apparent anxiety attack while on the witness stand. Although the circumstances justified a continuance and extension, the delay of six months without explanation runs contrary to the Indiana Civil Protection Order Act and violates the respondent's due process rights. In any event, because the court's extension granted a temporary restraining order, which is not appealable as of right, the respondent was required to seek a discretionary interlocutory appeal. Because he did not do so, we must dismiss this appeal for lack of jurisdiction.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On August 26, 2013, Heather Pepkowski petitioned the Porter Superior Court for an ex parte protective order against her neighbor Douglas Allison, alleging that Allison had engaged in harassing behavior toward her and her mother constituting stalking. The petition requested a hearing. The same day, the trial court granted the ex parte protective order and set the matter for a hearing on October 10, 2013.

Pepkowski and Allison each appeared in person and by counsel for the October 10, 2013 hearing. Allison had seven witnesses ready to testify on his behalf. Pepkowski was the first and, as it turned out, the only person to testify. During redirect examination, the trial court became concerned for Pepkowski's physical well-being while on the witness stand and thus continued the hearing:

Q And just so we're clear -- you okay?
BY THE COURT:
You okay?
Q You want to take a ...

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