CHOCIEJ V. RICHBURG, 2023-NCCOA-________ (2023).
Facts: Plaintiff and Defendant dated. On May 31, 2021, there was a fight between the couple, and Defendant broke Plaintiff’s nose with his fists and/or forehead. Another fight broke out between the couple in the bedroom, wherein Defendant used his belt and household items, such as a lamp, to hit Plaintiff. This caused black-eyes and bruising on Plaintiff. The police were called, but Defendant fled.
Eventually, the police arrested him in July 2021 and charged him with assault on a female. After the arrest, Defendant called Plaintiff’s work and reported that Plaintiff had wrongfully disclosed his confidential medical records to a third party. This resulted in Plaintiff’s termination by her employer. That same day, Plaintiff sought a Domestic Violence Protective Order (DVPO). At the hearing, there was ample evidence of the assaults and damage done to Plaintiff by the Defendant.
The trial court also took into consideration the time between the assaults and Plaintiff’s filing for the DVPO as well as the timing of the filing with her termination. In the trial court’s denial of a DVPO, it specifically noted that the court did not believe that Plaintiff would have sought a DVPO if she had not been terminated, essentially saying that the filing was in retaliation to Defendant’s whistleblowing. Plaintiff appealed. Continue reading →