COMPLAINT

February 3, 2023

IN THE FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT IN AND FOR

 

UTAH COUNTY, STATE OF UTAH

 

DANIEL MORRIS       Plaintiff

vs.

SHELLY RUFF

                      Defendant 

Civil No. ________COMPLAINT

 

  1. COMES NOW Plaintiff DANIEL MORRIS, with this complaint against the Defendant, SHELLY RUFF; as follows:  

PARTIES

  1. Plaintiff, DANIEL MORRIS of address [ENTER ADDRESS] is Defendant’s ex-husband. 
  2. Defendant, SHELLY MORRIS of address [ENTER ADDRESS], is Plaintiff’s ex-wife.

JURISDICITON AND VENUE

  1. Jurisdiction is proper in this Court pursuant to Utah Code 78-3-4(1).  
  2. Venue is proper in this court pursuant to Utah Code 78-7 as Plaintiff and the Defendant are subject to personal jurisdiction in this state. Notably, Plaintiff and the Defendant live within the jurisdiction of this Court. Besides, the acts and omissions forming the basis of these claims occurred in this County.  

FACTS

  1. Plaintiff and Defendant were married and had four issues from the marriage, to wit: Jack (15), Marley (13), Ty (11), and Henry (5).
  2. On or about December 11, 2018, Plaintiff and Defendant got divorced vide a decree of divorce issued on the self-same date. [Exhibit 1].
  3. Upon divorce, the Plaintiff re-married with Miranda, his current wife with four children: Raeghan (12), Rhonin (10), Tristin (8), and Taylee (6). Together, the couple has a baby boy, now 2 years old, with his wife. 
  4. In the decree of divorce, the Court awarded the parties 50/50 joint legal and physical custody.
  5.  The Court further ordered that the Parties exchange information using Talking Parents unless otherwise agreed. And that questions/emails should be responded to within 48 hours. Further, the Court held that events and appointments should be placed on the Google calendar. The parties were also ordered to utilize a notebook to exchange information about the children and their welfare.
  6. It was also ordered that the parties should reasonably consult with one another before making any decisions regarding any major issues affecting the children. Further, it was ordered that each party should make reasonable efforts to notify one another of the children’s respective medical and dental appointments; parent teacher conferences; school events and performances; parent volunteer opportunities; church events and other activities related therewith; unless the information is available online. And that if there is a medical emergency the parent shall notify the other parent telephonically within one hour. If the other parent does not answer, a message shall be left. The Court specifically stated in that regard that: “all major decisions concerning our child, including their health, education, and general welfare, daycare, education, and medical and dental treatment will be discussed.”
  7. Pertaining the sharing of information, it was ordered that the parties use their best efforts to communicate and share information with each other on a frequent basis regarding their children’s development, school work, medical and dental treatment, and any other information appropriate to share with the other parent.
  8. Unfortunately, Defendant has committed acts and/or omissions, which amount to harassment and a violation of the directives in the Court Order. Defendant has continuously harassed Plaintiff. The following are examples of the harassment and violations alleged [See the Communication Message Record by Talking Parents]:
  1. On or about March 13, 2018, Defendant disputed to Plaintiff’s having the children from Thursday to Monday as per the Decree of Divorce (“the Decree”). 
  2. On or about March 13, 2018, the Defendant disregarded the children’s wish(es) to have their schedule(s) altered. 
  3. On or about April 13, 2018, Defendant falsely accused Plaintiff of not taking proper care of children’s health. 
  4. Defendant also left Henry- one of the parties’ child to wander; and was found by a stranger down the street by the park that is close to Defendant’s house. 
  5. Defendant first engaged Tara- the babysitter and told her plans, before first informing Plaintiff of her plans. 
  6. On or about November 4, 2018, the Defendant blamed Plaintiff for the failed marriage. 
  7. On or about January 15, 2019, Defendant interestingly requested to take possession of the children on Plaintiff’s parenting day yet she would have left them by themselves from 2:15pm to 5:30pm that day. This happened even though Plaintiff had already made arrangements for the children to have them attended to around that time. 
  8. On or about January 21, 2019, Defendant kept complaining that Plaintiff did not take notice of Henry’s health when he had Henry with him. Contrary to the assertions, Henry always left Defendant’s possession with notable health issues. 
  9. On or about January 22, 2019, Defendant cancelled Henry’s visit to the allergist without informing Plaintiff. 
  10. On or about February 2, 2019, Plaintiff realized that Defendant had been out of the house past 9:30-10pm at the boyfriend’s house. This action denied the children the attention they needed from Defendant. 
  11. Around March 25, 2019, Defendant contended on a week rotation for the custody of the children, which was in the best interest of the children. 
  12. On or about April 30, 2019, Defendant complained that Henry got a cold every time he visited Plaintiff. This was untrue because Henry’s health issues were due to Defendant’s negligence. 
  13. On or about July 22, 2019, Defendant expressed her anger against Plaintiff. Notably, she stated thus: “You are an awful person and awful parent and clearly, still an awful husband.”  
  14. On or about November 20, 2019, Plaintiff informed Defendant of the scheduled appointment for Henry at the doctor’s. However, Defendant failed to respond to Plaintiff’s information as required under the decree. 
  15. On or about July 1, 2020, Defendant falsely stated that Plaintiff had used threatening words against her.
  16. On or about November 30, 2020, Defendant picked an argument against Plaintiff and called him “garbage”. 
  17. On or about April 21, 2021, Plaintiff observed how Defendant had/was defaming him on social media. She published the defamatory content after Plaintiff raised genuine concerns that Defendant spent more time with the parties’ oldest and youngest children.  Plaintiff has evidence of Defendant’s defamatory content. [Exhibit 2]; and [Exhibit 3].

Interestingly, Defendant failed to acknowledge her errors and/or be remorseful. 

  1. On or about June 3, 2021, Plaintiff observed that Henry had a cough when he received him for his parenting turn. Defendant had never mentioned that Henry was unwell. 
  2. On or about November 7, 2021, Defendant harassed Plaintiff over a haircut that Plaintiff had done on Henry, which was done reasonably. 
  1. Defendant also breached Section 17 of the Decree on Decision Making. Plaintiff honored his obligation by duly informing Defendant of the baptism of Ty. However, Defendant has not been involving Plaintiff in her decision making. For example, she got covid-19 mRNA shots for the Parties’ oldest two (Jack and Marley), without Plaintiff’s knowledge or consent. 
  2. From the foregoing, it is evident that Defendant has been committing harassment against Plaintiff; and has also been violating the provisions of the decree of divorce. 

CLAIMS FOR RELIEF

COUNT 1

ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION HARASSMENT

  1. Plaintiff hereby incorporates by reference all the allegations contained in all the preceding paragraphs of this complaint as though fully stated herein.
  2. Plaintiff avers that Defendant committed non-stop harassment on Plaintiff as already shown above. Clearly, Defendant made the said communication with intent to annoy alarm, intimidate, offend abuse, threaten, harass, or frighten Plaintiff. 
  3. Plaintiff is therefore entitled to redress for the said conduct from the Defendants. 

COUNT 2

INTENTIONAL INFLICTION OF EMOTIONAL DISTRESS 

  1. Plaintiff hereby incorporates by reference all the allegations contained in all the preceding paragraphs of this complaint as though fully stated herein.
  2. The conduct of the Defendant, as set forth above, was extreme, and outrageous.
  3. Defendant ought to have reasonably known that her actions and/or inactions would cause severe harm on Plaintiff. 
  4. The Defendant failed to consider the adverse effects of her actions and/or inactions on Plaintiff. Notably, she failed to acknowledge the fact that such conduct would cause Plaintiff emotional harm and distress.  

COUNT 3

CIVIL CONTEMPT

  1. Plaintiff hereby incorporates by reference all the allegations contained in all the preceding paragraphs of this complaint as though fully stated herein.
  2. The Decree of Divorce set out guidelines and/or directives for the Parties. Notably, Section 15 of the Decree provided for Parenting Functions. 
  3. Defendant had the ability to comply with the said Provision(s). 
  4. However, Defendant failed to comply accordingly, as already alleged herein. For example Section 15(f) provides for the obligation to properly notify the other parent of any goings-on in the children’s welfare. Defendant violated this provision by making crucial decisions absent Plaintiff’s knowledge or consent. 

COUNT 4

CIVIL ABUSE

(Family Code §6203)

  1. Plaintiff hereby incorporates by reference all the allegations contained in all the preceding paragraphs of this complaint as though fully stated herein.
  2. Defendant committed abusive behavior against Plaintiff, under Family Code Section 6320. Notably, Defendant’s posts disturbed Plaintiff’s peace. 
  3. As a result of Defendant’s action as alleged herein, Plaintiff suffered emotional harm distress. And as a result, Plaintiff is entitled to compensatory damages.

COUNT 5

DEFAMATION

  1. Plaintiff hereby incorporates by reference all the allegations contained in all the preceding paragraphs of this complaint as though fully stated herein.
  2. Defendant published the defamatory content in her Facebook account. 
  3. The information in her post were false. Notably, Defendant was spending more time with the said oldest and youngest children, in violation of the 50/50 parental-time order. 
  4. Defendant had no privilege to make the said information. 
  5. As a result of Defendant’s action as alleged herein, Plaintiff suffered emotional harm distress. And as a result, Plaintiff is entitled to compensatory damages.

PRAYER FOR RELIEF

WHEREFORE, the Plaintiff is entitled to damages from the Defendants, and he hereby prays that judgment be entered in his favor and against the Defendants as follows:

Complainant seeks the following remedies:

  1. That the Court orders compensatory damages in an amount to be determined the Court for the Defendant’ conduct alleged herein;
  2. Interest as provided by law;
  3. An award of fees and costs;
  4. That the Court issues any other order that this institution deems just. 

 

Respectfully submitted:

 

 

Dated: __________

 

CERTIFICATE OF MAILING

I, [ENTER NAME], certified on this ______day of ________ 2021, I deposited a true copy of the above to the Defendants by placing the documents with prepaid postage in the United States mailbox address.

 

EXHIBIT 1

See Attached Decree of Divorce. 

 

EXHIBIT 2

 

EXHIBIT 3

 

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