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Seney v. Morhy (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-015-14)

NOTICE: All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA 02108-1750; (617) 557-1030; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us     SJC‑11399   KENNETH J. SENEY  vs.  DAWN MORHY.     Bristol.     November 4, 2013.  ‑  January 28, 2014. Present:  Ireland, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Gants, Duffly, & Lenk, JJ.     Civil Harassment.  Harassment Prevention.  Moot Question.  Practice, Civil, Appeal, Moot case, Findings by judge.  Protective Order.     Complaint for protection from harassment filed in the Taunton Division of the District Court Department on April 19, 2011.   The case was heard by Gregory L. Phillips, J.   After review by the Appeals Court, the Supreme Judicial Court granted leave to obtain further appellate review.     Sharon L. Sullivan-Puccini for the defendant.     IRELAND, C.J.  We granted the defendant’s application for further appellate review to determine whether appeals of expired harassment protection orders issued pursuant to G. L. c. 258E should be dismissed as moot.  Because we conclude that appeals of such orders should be reviewed on their merits even if the orders have expired during the pendency of the appeal, and that, here, insufficient evidence supported the issuance of a harassment prevention order against the defendant, we remand the case to the District Court for entry of an order vacating the order.   Background and procedure.  In April, 2011, the defendant, Dawn Morhy, and the plaintiff, Kenneth J. Seney, applied for harassment prevention orders against each other.  Their requests for orders arose from disputes concerning a little league baseball team for which the defendant’s son played.  The plaintiff was an assistant coach of the team at the time.   The subject of this appeal is the harassment prevention order against the defendant.  A District Court judge held hearings on April 19 and 22, 2011, during which the head and assistant coaches of the baseball team testified about the defendant’s actions. The plaintiff testified to three incidents in which he claimed he had been harassed by the defendant.  First, the plaintiff learned that, in a telephone conversation with the head coach of the team, the defendant threatened to “punch [the plaintiff] in the face” and “break both of [his] knees” if he acted in a certain way toward her son, remarks which caused the plaintiff to fear that the defendant would physically injure him.  Second, the plaintiff stated that he felt threatened when the defendant sent an electronic mail message to the head coach stating she would talk to other parents […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - January 28, 2014 at 8:22 pm

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