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Wentland v. Uhlarik

March 23, 2007

GWEN WENTLAND, APPELLEE,
v.
JOHN UHLARIK, APPELLANT.



Appeal from Riley District Court; MERYL D. WILSON, judge.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

1. When faced with a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence in a court-tried case, an appellate court must determine whether the trial court's findings of fact are supported by substantial competent evidence and whether those findings are sufficient to support the trial court's conclusions of law. In considering the sufficiency of the evidence, the appellate court does not reweigh the evidence or pass on the credibility of the witnesses. To the contrary, the appellate court views the evidence in the light most favorable to the party who prevailed at trial. In considering the trial court's conclusions of law, however, the appellate court's review is unlimited.

2. The Protection from Stalking Act, K.S.A. 60-31a01 et seq., is to be liberally construed to protect victims of stalking and to facilitate access to judicial protection for stalking victims. A plaintiff requesting a PFS order must prove the allegations of stalking by a preponderance of the evidence.

3. There is but one district court in Riley County, though its judges sit in separate divisions. The district court may take judicial notice of its own records.

4. Res judicata bars parties from relitigating their previously litigated claims.

5. The requirements of establishing "stalking," "harassment," a "course of conduct," and "substantial emotional distress" in an action brought under the Protection from Stalking Act, K.S.A. 60-31a01 et seq., are discussed.

6. The trial court cannot be accused of abusing its discretion in the admission of evidence when the complaining party failed to object and thereby give the trial court an opportunity to exercise its discretion on the matter.

7. K.S.A. 60-252 requires the trial court in a court-tried case to make findings regarding the controlling facts and conclusions of law based on those findings. When a complaining party failed to object to the adequacy of the trial court's findings and conclusions, the trial court is presumed on appeal to have found all facts necessary to support its judgment.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: McANANY, J.

Affirmed.

Before RULON, C.J., GREENE and McANANY, JJ.

John Uhlarik appeals the district court's final order in this protection from stalking (PFS) action, arguing that the order was not based on substantial competent evidence. We find ample evidence to support the district court's order and, therefore, affirm.

Gwen Wentland is a professional track and field athlete who competes in the high jump. Beginning in 1995 she was involved in a romantic relationship with Uhlarik, a professor of psychology at Kansas State University. Wentland and Uhlarik lived together for a time. Their relationship ended in August 2000.

On February 26, 2001, Wentland filed a petition for a protection from abuse (PFA) order, alleging that Uhlarik's conduct placed her in fear of bodily injury. Following a hearing at which Uhlarik failed to appear, the ...


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