Thomas v. Morris

The Court reversed the lower court and remanded to family court for entry of a protective order on behalf of petitioner.  Petitioner and defendant had been in a twelve year relationship that ended.  A year later, defendant made efforts to renew the relationship and began harassing petitioner with numerous phone calls, voice mail messages to her home and work phone and by making unannounced appearances at her workplace and home.  Defendant arrived at her home and didn’t leave the premises for approximately two hours.  During that time, he banged a three foot metal bar against her trailer.  She felt trapped in her home.  He routinely carried a concealed weapon, his car was blocking her driveway so that she couldn’t leave in her car and she did not have telephone service.  The lower court found that the defendant did not commit domestic violence because defendant remained outside the home during this time and plaintiff was not physically restrained or confined within her home.  In reversing the lower court, the Supreme Court stated that plaintiff did not have to show proof “of some overt physical exertion on the part of the alleged offender in order to justify issuance of a protective order.”  It held that domestic violence defined in West Virginia Code 48-27-202(3) (2001) as “[c]reating fear of physical harm by harassment, psychological abuse or threatening acts” provides that fear of physical harm may be established with (1) proof of harassment, (2) proof of psychological abuse, or (3) proof of overt or threatening acts.” 



Avon Center work product