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V.J. v. N.J.(Lawyers Weekly No. 11-006-17)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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   15-P-1648                                       Appeals Court   V.J.  vs.  N.J.     No. 15-P-1648.   Plymouth.     October 11, 2016. – January 30, 2017.   Present:  Meade, Milkey, & Kinder, JJ.     Civil Harassment.  Harassment Prevention.  Constitutional Law, Freedom of speech and press.     Civil action commenced in the Brockton Division of the District Court Department on September 25, 2015.   The case was heard by Julie J. Bernard, J.     Michael P. Friedman for the defendant.     MEADE, J.  The defendant, N.J. (defendant), appeals from the extension of a G. L. c. 258E civil harassment prevention order, which prohibited any contact between him and the plaintiff, V.J. (plaintiff).  The parties are not related.  The order at issue expired on October 7, 2016.[1]  On appeal, the defendant claims that the judge did not find, and could not properly have found, that there were at least three separate incidents by which he intentionally placed the plaintiff in fear, intimidated her, or otherwise abused her.  We affirm. Background.  On September 25, 2015, pursuant to G. L. c. 258E, §§ 3 and 5, the plaintiff obtained an ex parte harassment prevention order against the defendant.  The order was set to expire on October 9, 2015, and a hearing was set down for that date regarding an extension of the order.  After an evidentiary hearing at which both parties testified, a judge of the Brockton Division of the District Court Department extended the harassment prevention order to October 7, 2016, and found the following facts, which are supplemented by the plaintiff’s affidavit in support of the harassment prevention order and her testimony, which the judge explicitly found to be credible. Beginning in 2011, the defendant, a passenger on a Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) bus operated by the plaintiff, made numerous attempts to “court” her; all were rebuffed.  These attempts made her feel uncomfortable and she feared the defendant.  The plaintiff identified a pattern of harassment between 2012 and 2015, including an incident occurring on June 10, 2012, while she was on a break at an MBTA station, in which the defendant approached her from behind and grabbed her across her chest in a “bear hug,” in the manner of one intending to “abduct somebody.”  The plaintiff “had to pry his arms from around [her].”  This made her “very fearful” of the defendant.[2]  Although she did not file a police […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - January 31, 2017 at 1:51 am

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