Lawyer Gets Harassment Restraining Order Against Ex-Clients Based on (Among Other Things) Online Criticism
From yesterday’s pseudonymized decision in Kareem K. v. Ida I. (handed down by Justices Ariane Vuono, Sookyoung Shin, and Sabita Singh):
In the spring of 2021, the defendant and her husband sought legal advice from the plaintiff, an attorney. When the plaintiff later presented his findings, the defendant and her husband expressed displeasure with his work. The representation was then terminated.
On June 25, 2021, the plaintiff filed a complaint under G. L. c. 258E [the harassment restraining order statute] … against the defendant only. The affidavit, which we quote verbatim except where indicated, alleged the following acts of harassment: “[t]he defendants were unhappy with our findings and proceeded to go on Facebook and make a public post calling us thiefs and making up things that did not happen”; “[t]hey then proceeded to call us three times on June 25th, 2021”; “[t]hey proceeded to email our secr[e]tary …, as well as copying multiple people on the email”; and “[the defendant’s husband] then proceeded to send [the secretary] a [Facebook] message trying to speak with us.”
The same day, the plaintiff appeared at an ex parte hearing in Leominster District Court. Elaborating little on his affidavit, the plaintiff claimed that the defendant committed three or more acts of harassment by “slandering [his] name” on Facebook, sending his secretary e-mail and Facebook messages, and making telephone calls to his office. When the judge asked whether the defendant made any personal threats, the plaintiff replied, “Not so much personal threats, … but knowin
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