Clair Circuit Court LC No. 15-001798-PH
Before: Riordan, P.J., and Fort Hood and Servitto, JJ.
case returns to us on remand from our Supreme Court. When we
originally heard this case, we dismissed the appeal for
mootness. McGuire v. Zoran, unpublished per curiam
opinion of the Court of Appeals, issued January 19, 2017
(Docket No. 329190). The Court reversed, reasoning that
"the mere fact that the instant [personal protection
order] PPO expired during the pendency of this appeal does
not render this appeal moot," and remanded the case to
us "for consideration on the merits." TM v.
MZ, 501 Mich. 312, 320; 916 N.W.2d 473 (2018). Because
the amended PPO was issued based on respondent's
constitutionally protected speech and amounted to an
unconstitutional prior restraint on his speech, we reverse
the trial court.
BACKGROUND FACTS & PROCEDURAL HISTORY
TM and respondent MZ are neighbors in Cottrellville Township,
Michigan. Respondent is a former trustee of Cottrellville
Township and petitioner also has had some involvement in
local politics, presently as a member of the Township Parks
and Recreation Board. She also has participated in successful
recalls of respondent and the supervisor of Cottrellville
and respondent have an acrimonious past which includes
respondent's mother (with whom he lived) obtaining a PPO
against petitioner's husband after he allegedly assaulted
her. The impetuses for this appeal are highly inflammatory
and negative comments respondent posted about petitioner and
her family online. Respondent had posted negative comments
about petitioner on Facebook, and through private messages,
as far back as 2014, but when the nature of these postings,
in petitioner's words, "escalated[, ]" she
petitioned the trial court on July 20, 2015 for a PPO. In an
attachment to the petition, petitioner identified eight dates
on which respondent allegedly made derogatory comments about
her and her family by way of posts on his own Facebook page,
on public Facebook pages, or in private messages to
undisclosed recipients. Specifically, the attachment stated:
Below are some of the instances where [respondent] used the
internet or a computer or other electronic medium to post
both public and private messages for the purpose of
terrorizing, frightening, intimidating, threatening, or
July 6, 2015
[Respondent] made several comments on a post in the St. Clair
County, Michigan page on Facebook, including but not limited
to; calling me a criminal, accusing me of hiding criminals,
having illegal trailers on my property, posting pictures of
my yard, [stating] that I meet the requirements of
"hurting someone" and that I'm a criminal.
July 6, 2015
[Respondent] sent a private Facebook message to multiple
people, with regards to the above mentioned comments made on
the St. Clair County, Michigan page, saying that I am
criminal, I hide criminals, and saying things about the death
of my son, which were not only derogatory and disgusting, but
were complete lies, and how it was because of my parenting.
These comments were in addition to other things.
May 4, 2015
[Respondent] posted on his Facebook page a picture of a car
and a letter with a heading of "Attempted abduction in
St. Clair Count [sic], Please share this Info!"
Respondent then commented on the post that if there were any
questions about the vehicle to join the St. Clair County,
Michigan Facebook group.
[Respondent] also commented on this post that the driver of
the vehicle "was involved in a form of attempted
abduction of a child" and further down [respondent]
commented "I actually saw a similar vehicle at [TM's
address], where it was there only a couple of minutes."
This is my address.
[Respondent] also made a comment on the post about the car on
the St. Clair County, Michigan Facebook page wherein he
stated "a vehicle just like that was at
[petitioner's address] today . . . It watched my home,
and then pulled into [petitioners's address]- an address
notorious for everything from crime to severe ordinance
violations that never go away. It was only there for a few
April 22, 2015
[Respondent] made a comment on a post about a stolen bbq to
"Go look at [petitioner's address]. . . It is a
virtual junk yard of items picked up from the garbage of
September 7, 2014
[Respondent] commented on a post in the St. Clair County,
Michigan Facebook page about motorcycles stolen out of Auburn
Hills, ". . . my neighbor is at [petitioner's
address]. . . I saw them burning parts and burying them
illegally in the ...