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[U] Galligher v. Phillips

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

February 21, 2014

TRAVIS GALLIGHER, Appellee,
v.
WILLIAM R. PHILLIPS, Appellant

NON-PRECEDENTIAL DECISION

Appeal from the Order entered on October 17, 2012 in the Court of Common Pleas of Northumberland County, Civil Division, No. CV-2012-01660.

BEFORE: DONOHUE, SHOGAN and MUSMANNO, JJ.

MEMORANDUM

MUSMANNO, J.:

William R. Phillips ("Phillips") appeals from the Order denying his Exceptions to the Protection from Abuse ("PFA") Order entered in favor of Travis Galligher ("Galligher") and confirming that the September 20, 2012 PFA Order remained in full force and effect.[1] We affirm.

On August 27, 2012, Galligher filed a PFA Petition against Phillips, his former paramour. In the Petition, Galligher alleged that Phillips had been stalking him since Memorial Day weekend 2012, that Phillips had punched Galligher repeatedly in the face and upper body in the spring of 2012, and that Phillips had made threats against Galligher. Galligher's request for a temporary PFA Order was denied.

A hearing on Galligher's PFA Petition was scheduled for September 5, 2012. However, on that date, Phillips failed to appear at the hearing. Galligher testified that he had sent Phillips notice of the hearing and the PFA Petition by certified mail. The trial court continued the hearing until September 19, 2012, to preserve Phillips's right to due process. At the September 19, 2012 hearing, at which Phillips again failed to appear, Galligher testified as to the allegations raised in his Petition. Galligher also presented an Affidavit of Service that established that Phillips had been personally handed a copy of Galligher's PFA Petition and Notice of the September 5, 2012 hearing.

After the hearing, the PFA hearing officer entered a Report and Recommendation, stating that Galligher had met his burden under the PFA. The hearing officer recommended that Phillips have no contact with Galligher and that a PFA order remain in effect for one year. On September 20, 2012, the trial court entered an interim Order adopting the hearing officer's Report and Recommendation, and provided the parties twenty days to file exceptions. Phillips filed timely Exceptions. On October 17, 2012, the trial court denied the Exceptions and stated that the PFA Order entered on September 20, 2012, would remain in full force and effect.

Phillips filed a timely Notice of Appeal. The trial court ordered Phillips to file a Pennsylvania Rule of Appellate Procedure 1925(b) concise statement. Phillips filed a timely Concise Statement and the trial court issued an Opinion.

On appeal, Phillips raises the following questions for our review:

A. Did the trial court err as a matter of law/abuse its discretion by granting the [PFA Petition] filed against [Phillips], as the evidence presented was insufficient to establish a basis for relief under the [PFA] Act[?]
B. Did the [trial] court err as a matter of law/abuse its discretion in failing to hold a hearing within ten (10) days of the filing of the Petition, as required by the [PFA] Act, thereby divesting the trial court of jurisdiction?

Brief for Appellant at 4.

Phillips contends that the evidence presented at the hearing was insufficient to support the entry of the PFA Order. Id. at 9. Phillips argues that Galligher's testimony was incredible, as there was no evidence to corroborate his testimony. Id. at 9-10. Phillips asserts that Galligher's unfounded ...


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