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A.L.H. v. A.W.H.

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

June 17, 2013

A.L.H., Appellee
v.
A.W.H., Appellant

NON-PRECEDENTIAL DECISION

Appeal from the Order entered August 23, 2012, in the Court of Common Pleas of Centre County, Civil Division, at No(s): CP-14-CV-1707-2012

BEFORE: PANELLA, ALLEN, and COLVILLE [*] , JJ.

MEMORANDUM

ALLEN, J.

A.W.H. ("Appellant") appeals from the Protection from Abuse ("PFA") order entered by the trial court at the request of A.L.H. ("Appellee"). We reverse.

Appellant presents the following two issues for our review:

I. Did the Court of Common Pleas commit an error of law in denying [Appellant's] motion for a directed verdict based on lack of standing, which was made at the conclusion of [Appellee's] case in chief because [Appellee] had failed to present any evidence sufficient to support the contention that she is part of the class entitled to seek a Protection from Abuse order, as defined under the term abuse in 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 6102?
II. Did the Court of Common Pleas commit an error of law in granting [Appellee's] Petition for Protection from Abuse despite the fact that [Appellee] failed to demonstrate that she is a member of the protected class defined under the term abuse in 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 6102?

Appellant's Brief at 4.

Appellant's issues are interrelated, and challenge Appellee's standing under the Protection From Abuse Act ("the Act"), 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 6101 et seq. The essence of Appellant's argument is that the Act "does not provide relief for high school acquaintances who are just beginning a friendship." Appellant's Brief at 6.

Our standard of review regarding an issue of standing under the Protection from Abuse Act is de novo and our scope of review is plenary. McCance v. McCance, 908 A.2d 905, 908 (Pa. Super. 2006). Section 6102 of the Act defines "abuse" as the "occurrence of one or more of the following acts between family or household members, sexual or intimate partners or persons who share biological parenthood." Here, the trial court determined that the parties were "intimate partners." The trial court explained:

Based on [the parties'] respective ages (15 and 17 at the time of the incident) and the nature of their relationship (developing early stages of dating relationship), the Court concluded that their relationship was "intimate" within the meaning of § 6102.

Trial Court Opinion, 11/27/12, at 2 ...


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