JOHNSON v. ARLOTTA
Ann Marie Johnson for herself and on behalf of John Youngs, petitioner, Respondent,
Andrew John Arlotta, Appellant.
Court of Appeals of Minnesota.
Filed December 12, 2011.
Considered and decided by Larkin, Presiding Judge; Johnson, Chief Judge; and Bjorkman, Judge.
Appellant challenges the district court's entry of a 51-year harassment restraining order (HRO) against him, contending that the district court erred in determining that his blogging and other speech constitutes harassment and that the HRO violates his constitutional rights. Because the district court did not abuse its discretion in issuing the HRO but its duration exceeds the authorized limit, we affirm as modified.FACTS
Appellant Andrew John Arlotta and respondent Ann Marie Johnson had a romantic relationship from late 2008 to September 2009. After the relationship ended, Arlotta continued to contact Johnson against her wishes and Johnson obtained a temporary HRO against Arlotta on October 13, 2009. On December 22, Arlotta consented to entry of a six-month HRO that prohibited him from (1) committing any acts "intended to adversely affect [Johnson's] safety, security, or privacy," (2) having "any contact" with Johnson "in person, by work or home e-mail, by telephone, or by other means or persons," and (3) visiting Johnson's Morgan Stanley "worksite." By its terms, the HRO expired on June 22, 2010.
Two days after entry of the 2009 HRO, Arlotta created an Internet blog titled, "Help Ann Johnson." The blog was written in the third-person and documented Arlotta's ongoing relationship issues with Johnson. In the blog, Arlotta discussed personal information about Johnson, including her involvement in sexually and physically abusive relationships, and questioned the state of her mental health. Arlotta publicized and promoted the blog by sending electronic messages to Johnson's relatives, friends, and others, and posting links to the blog on other websites. He used fake Facebook identities ("Dana Russel" and "Pekin Ilanis") to post the blog to other Facebook users. As "Dana Russel," Arlotta contacted the father of Johnson's child nine times between December 28, 2009, and January 27, 2010. Arlotta asked him to "stop by" the blog, telling him, "this involves your child," and claiming that "[c]hild & family services have been contacted." Arlotta also contacted Johnson's grandmother telling her that Johnson "seems to have been abused," and "was either molested or abused as a child or witnessed domestic violence." As "Pekin Ilanis," Arlotta sent messages publicizing the blog to members of Johnson's high school graduating class, a local television news anchor, and other organizations unrelated to Johnson. As a result, Johnson was contacted by friends, family, and others who expressed concern over Arlotta's communications.
On August 22, 2010, Arlotta sent an e-mail to a Morgan Stanley employee asserting that Johnson was connected to "hardcore criminals" and that she "could be bad for business." The e-mail included a link to the blog. The employee, believing the e-mail to be genuine, informed her supervisor, who met with Johnson to discuss the e-mail. No other action was taken by Johnson's employer.