Submitted on Briefs: April 3, 2013
APPEAL FROM District Court of the Fourth Judicial District, In and For the County of Missoula, Cause No. DV-12-486 Honorable Karen Townsend, Presiding Judge
For Appellant: Quentin M. Rhoades, Alison Garab, Sullivan, Tabaracci & Rhoades, P.C., Missoula, Montana
For Appellee: Joshua S. Van de Wetering, Van de Wetering & Baffa Law, Missoula, Montana
Patricia O. Cotter, Justice
¶1 Stacy Lear claims she was stalked by Carrie Jamrogowicz beginning in 2002. In February 2012, Lear sought and obtained a temporary order of protection against Jamrogowicz in a civil action. Subsequently, Lear obtained a "no contact" order against Jamrogowicz in a criminal action. Jamrogowicz moved to have the civil action dismissed with prejudice and Lear moved to have the civil action dismissed without prejudice. The District Court granted Lear's motion and dismissed the civil action without prejudice. Jamrogowicz appeals. We affirm.
¶2 A restatement of the issue is:
¶3 Did the District Court abuse its discretion in granting Lear's motion to dismiss the civil action without prejudice?
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
¶4 In 1998, Lear and several others were introduced to Jamrogowicz by a mutual friend through a social networking site used by several North Carolina State University (NCSU) alumni. Jamrogowicz subsequently moved to Cary, North Carolina, near the campus of NCSU. Lear never developed a personal relationship with Jamrogowicz. She never spent any one-on-one time with her nor did she engage in anything other than casual conversation on a few occasions. Lear later moved to Leesburg, Virginia.
¶5 Lear alleged that between 1999 and 2001, she witnessed Jamrogowicz stalk a woman by gaining access to her private electronic communications and copying her lifestyle, including her haircut, hair color, and wardrobe. She also purchased the same kind of dog the woman owned, and joined the same organizations to which she belonged. Lear alleged that Jamrogowicz also publicly posted inappropriate and menacing comments about this other woman. After observing Jamrogowicz's actions, Lear sent an electronic communication to Jamrogowicz advising her that Lear wished to have no further communication with her. Lear asserted she later heard from friends that Jamrogowicz subsequently stalked two other women in similar fashion.
¶6 Lear alleges that Jamrogowicz began stalking her in 2002 by, among other things, changing her hairstyle to match Lear's, enrolling in the same university and taking the same classes, claiming to have the same health issues as Lear, and changing her major to match Lear's. In February 2003, Lear began taking lessons in the use of firearms and subsequently joined a national competition shooting organization. In April 2004, Lear moved from Virginia to Missoula, Montana.
¶7 In September 2004, Jamrogowicz moved to Montana and began taking firearms instruction, joined the same competition shooting organization to which Lear belonged, and ultimately engaged Lear's firearms' instructor to teach her. In 2005, Lear tested for and was subsequently hired by the Missoula Police Department. Lear kept this information confidential but discovered that Jamrogowicz had posted to a public website that Lear was seeking a police officer position in Missoula. Also in 2005, Jamrogowicz applied for and received a Montana concealed ...