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Christina Holt Taylor v. Leigh-Ann Fitzpatrick

Case No. 2022-CA-0946-ME

Allen Family Court

Decided by Cetrulo, Dixon, and Taylor, Judges

Opinion by Cetrulo, Judge

Date Rendered: January 13, 2023

Issue: Whether Family Court had Jurisdiction to Extend Interpersonal Protective Order (“IPO”) and Whether Family Court’s Order Extending IPO was Supported by Sufficient Evidence

Family court entered an Interpersonal Protective Order (“IPO”) in 2019 against Taylor, the basis of which was stalking by Taylor. Fitzpatrick moved to extend the IPO for three years, which the Family Court granted after a hearing. The testimony at the extension hearing established that Taylor had taken photographs of Fitzpatrick at a tennis match and that she had violated the IPO’s distance requirement one year prior. Taylor appealed.

On appeal, Taylor first argued that the Family Court did not have jurisdiction, and that IPOs must be heard in the District Court. The Court of Appeals held that pursuant to KRS 456.030(6)(a), the District Court and Circuit Court, including the Family Court, have concurrent jurisdiction over IPOs.

Taylor next argued that there was insufficient evidence to extend the protective order. The Court found that the IPO was not supported by sufficient evidence of stalking. The Court reasoned that there were no written findings made by the family Court which proved any specific instances of behavior that constituted stalking as defined by KRS 508.130, as there was no testimony of any new threat that put Fitzpatrick in reasonable fear of physical injury. The Court of Appeals reversed the Family Court and vacated the IPO.

Digested by Emily T. Cecconi