Posts tagged "Masterlaz"

Smith v. Masterlaz (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-014-14)

NOTICE: All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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‑11039   KERRI L. SMITH  vs.  STEVEN MASTALERZ.     January 28, 2014.     Civil Harassment. Harassment Prevention. Protective Order. Moot Question. Practice, Civil, Appeal, Moot case, Findings by judge.       The defendant, Steven Mastalerz, seeks review of harassment prevention orders issued against him pursuant to G. L. c. 258E.[1]  The defendant filed his appeal in the Appeals Court prior to our decision in O’Brien v. Borowski, 461 Mass. 415 (2012).  The Appeals Court dismissed his appeal as moot because the harassment prevention order had expired.  Lawrence v. Gauthier, 82 Mass. App. Ct. 904 (2012).  The defendant then filed a petition seeking relief pursuant to G. L. c. 211, § 3, in the county court, and a single justice denied his petition without prejudice on August 17, 2011.   Based on our conclusion in Seney v. Morhy, ante   (2014), the defendant’s appeal should not have been dismissed as moot.  We also conclude that there was insufficient evidence for the issuance of harassment prevention orders against the defendant.  Although the record is not entirely clear, it appears that the plaintiff sought protection because on November 1, 2010, several months after the defendant moved out of the apartment he and the plaintiff shared with other roommates, the defendant drove past her while she unpacked her vehicle at the front of her home, stopped a few houses away on that street, turned around, drove past her again, and a few seconds later drove by the home again.   At the hearing on November 19, 2010, the judge found enough evidence to extend the initial order, stating that “the evidence was sufficient to show that there was more than one incident and there were at least three in terms of the cars passing by, and that [the plaintiff remains] in fear of continued harassment.”  Even if we were to conclude the defendant’s conduct constituted one act of harassing conduct, we disagree with the judge that driving by the plaintiff constituted three separate acts of harassment.  In the circumstances here, where there was no evidence refuting the defendant’s claim that he lived down the street from the plaintiff, we conclude that driving by the plaintiff’s home within a very short period of time was one continuous act.  Moreover, the judge made no explicit findings, and the record does not permit us to infer, that the defendant’s driving […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - January 28, 2014 at 11:56 pm

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