Decision to Deny Facebook Executive's Restraining Order Request After Wife Discovers Texts Upheld by Appellate Court

Facebook executive David Fischer. |   

April 24, 2018 |  

In a ruling certified for publication on Friday, April 20, the First District of Appeal, Division Two in San Francisco agreed with a lower court ruling that issuing a restraining order for slapping in an alleged domestic violence case was not warranted. The decision was published on March 23 and was written in by Acting Presiding Justice James A. Richman.

The ruling stemmed from an incident between David Fischer, a Facebook executive in charge of business and marketing partnerships and his wife, Joannie Fischer, a former senior editor at U.S. News and World Report. The incident started on September 27, 2015, Ms. Fischer's birthday, when she confronted her then husband following the discovery of text messages exchanges and a photo of another woman.

According to court documents, Ms. Fischer said before the incident that her husband admitted to her of being unfaithful but had promised "a million times over" to refrain from those activities in the future. When she discovered the text messages and a picture from another woman on her husband's phone, she confronted him.

During their encounter Mr. Fischer was allegedly twice slapped in the face, shoved, and in response, he called 911 but disconnected the call. As required by law, police officers were dispatched to their Atherton, California residence where Ms. Fischer was placed under arrest.

Although the couple had already filed for divorce at the time of the incident and still living together on a sporadic basis, three days later under the advice of counsel, Mr. Fisher sought a restraining order.  

After his request was denied by the San Mateo County Superior Court, Mr. Fischer appealed the decision. The appellate court affirmed the lower courts decision noting it had been filed three days after the incident, and Mr. Fischer bailed her out following the encounter.

In the decision, it was noted "The court also considered the fact that Mr. Fischer bailed Ms. Fischer out of custody, that he went to the Fletcher home, celebrated her birthday [which was the same day of the incident] and the children, and then spent the night with her and her children."

The court concluded Mr. Fischer "did not commit an act of abuse as defined under the Family Code 6203 which specifically indicate abuse being the intentional or recklessly cause or attempting to cause bodily injury."  

The case is Fischer v. Fischer, A148842. The decision can be viewed below. 

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