OLSON v. LaBRIE
Aaron Olson, petitioner, Appellant,
Randall LaBrie, Respondent.
Court of Appeals of Minnesota.
Filed February 13, 2012.
Aaron Olson, Chisago City, Minnesota, (pro se appellant).
Considered and decided by Connolly, Presiding Judge; Hudson, Judge; and Ross, Judge.
Appellant challenges the district court's dismissal of his petition for a harassment restraining order, asserting that respondent violated appellant's privacy by posting photos that included appellant and related comments on Facebook. Appellant also argues that he did not receive a fair hearing. Because the district court did not abuse its discretion in dismissing appellant's petition and appellant received a fair hearing, we affirm.FACTS
In October 2010, pro se appellant Aaron Olson petitioned for a harassment restraining order (HRO) against his uncle, respondent Randall LaBrie. Appellant claimed that family photos and accompanying text, posted by respondent to the social-networking web site Facebook, constituted harassment under Minn. Stat. § 609.748 (2010). The district court denied appellant's petition for an HRO.
From March to June 2010, respondent posted multiple photos of various family members on his Facebook page. The photos include portraits and group shots, such as several family members when they were children, including appellant, posing in front of a Christmas tree. When appellant learned these photos had been posted, he e-mailed respondent and requested the photos that included him either be removed or altered to erase appellant. In reply, respondent stated in an e-mail that he would not alter the photos and that appellant should stay off Facebook if he disliked the photos. Ultimately, respondent removed the "tags" that identify people in photos on Facebook and later took down the photos.
Respondent testified that appellant was not his "friend" on Facebook and that he intended his Facebook page to be viewed only by friends and not by appellant. Respondent claims that appellant had "unauthorized" access to his Facebook page, but respondent also testified that any member of the public could have accessed his page via a simple name search. Appellant, who lives with his mother, A.O., testified that he initially accessed respondent's Facebook page via his mother's Facebook account when he used her computer and she had left her Facebook page open. But appellant stated in his appellate brief that he later obtained copies of respondent's Facebook page for the HRO hearing by conducting a search on Facebook that any member of the public could have done.