WEST PALM BEACH – A Florida appeals court recently threw out a woman’s claims of repeated violence and stalking against her lover’s wife.
On May 31, Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled that Nathalie Piedrahita’s claims of “repeat violence” and stalking by Melissa Kriebel were not substantiated.
The legal dispute stems from an alleged extramarital affair between Piedrahita and Kriebel’s husband. Both parties had sought repeat violence injunctions against each other.
Under Florida law, “repeat violence” constitutes “two incidents of violence or stalking committed by the respondent, one of which must have been within six months of the filing of the petition,” according to the appeals court’s decision.
“The [lower] court entered injunctions against both parties based upon a finding ‘that the parties were unable to control themselves around each other,’” according to court documents. The court said it issued the injunctions to “maintain civility.”
Kriebel appealed the injunction against her, and the appeals court sided with her, ruling that not being able to control oneself was not sufficient justification for the injunction under Florida law.
The appeals court then sought more evidence, but the parties’ testimonies were not available because neither “retained a court reporter.” The lower court judge, however, recalled some details of the case, according to court documents. But it was not enough.
“The approved statement of the evidence demonstrates that Piedrahita established one incident of violence by battery and one incident of following,” the appeals court said in its decision. “However, stalking requires repeatedly following, harassing or cyberstalking, and Piedrahita only established one such incident. Having only presented evidence of one incident of following, Piedrahita failed to satisfy the requirements for stalking.