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Hancock v. Worbington

Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourteenth District

March 30, 2017

AMANDA MICHELLE HANCOCK, Appellant
v.
LINDSEY ELAINE WORBINGTON, Appellee

         On Appeal from the 280th District Court Harris County, Texas Trial Court Cause No. 2015-58664

          Panel consists of Chief Justice Frost and Justices Brown and Jewell.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Kevin Jewell Justice

         In this appeal, Amanda Michelle Hancock challenges the legal and factual sufficiency of the evidence to support the issuance of a no-contact protective order in favor of Lindsey Elaine Worbington. Hancock additionally asserts that Worbington's application for the protective order was insufficient. Concluding that the evidence is sufficient to support the order and that Hancock waived her complaint by not raising it in the trial court, we affirm.

          Background

         Worbington is the wife of Hancock's ex-husband and the stepmother of Hancock's daughter. On October 9, 2013, the trial court issued a protective order to Worbington (the "first protective order"), prohibiting Hancock from, as is relevant here, engaging in conduct directed toward Worbington that is likely to "harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, or embarrass" Worbington. In this agreed order, the trial court found that family violence had occurred and was likely to occur again in the future and that Hancock had committed family violence. The trial court issued this order without hearing evidence; the order states that Hancock denied committing family violence but agreed to comply with the order. The first protective order was set to expire on October 9, 2015.

         A little over two weeks before this order was to expire, on September 21, 2015, Worbington returned to her real estate office after lunch. Worbington saw Hancock pulling her car into the parking lot by Worbington's office. Worbington, from her own vehicle, lowered her car window and began photographing Hancock when Hancock got out of her vehicle and approached a dental office located in the same strip mall as Worbington's real estate office. According to Worbington, Hancock saw her and shouted, "You're a stupid fucking bitch." Hancock did not approach Worbington. Hancock proceeded into the dental office, dropped off a resume, and left without further contact.

         Based on this incident, about a week later on October 2, 2015, Worbington filed an application for a second protective order. In her application, dated October 2, 2015, Worbington alleged that Hancock "has engaged in conduct that constitutes family violence" and "has violated a previous protective order." In the affidavit attached to the application, Worbington verified the above-described events. Worbington additionally averred that, about two months after she received the first protective order, Hancock called Worbington's husband-Hancock's ex-husband-and left angry messages. According to Worbington's affidavit, Hancock frequently told Worbington's husband that she hates Worbington. Additionally, Worbington described Hancock as being "obsessed" with her. Worbington did not attach a copy of the first protective order to her application.

         The trial court heard Worbington's application for a protective order on October 21, by which time the first protective order had expired. At the hearing, Worbington testified about the September 21 incident. The first protective order was admitted into evidence. Worbington acknowledged that her current work address was not provided in that order, but she stated that Hancock was aware of where she worked. Worbington testified that, when she saw Hancock in the parking lot, she believed Hancock was there to harass her. Worbington explained that, after Hancock cursed at her, her "heart was racing" and she was "really freaked out." Worbington read from the report she made to police following the incident, and this report was admitted into evidence.[1] Additionally, Worbington explained that she had gotten the first protective order because Hancock was harassing her, stalking her, and leaving her "many, many, many messages" in which Hancock said she was going to come to Worbington's house and "beat the living hell" out of Worbington. Worbington stated she had been and still was scared of Hancock.

         Hancock, in contrast, claimed that she did not speak to Worbington in the parking lot. Additionally, Hancock described Worbington as laughing while she took pictures of Hancock. Hancock stated that she had not known that Worbington worked next to the dental office where Hancock dropped off her resume, and if she had known, she would not have sought employment there.

         After hearing the evidence, the trial court stated, "The evidence preponderates to support the Court finding that there has been a violation of a prior order, specifically on the issue of engaging in conduct directed towards the applicant [Worbington] intended to result -- likely to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment or embarrass [Worbington]." The trial court concluded that a new protective order should issue and signed the new protective order that day (the "second protective order").

         Hancock timely filed this appeal.[2]

         Sufficiency of the Evidence

         In her first two issues, Hancock challenges the legal and factual sufficiency of the evidence to support the trial court's ...


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