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Frivolous harassment/request for restraining order

 
 
Linkat
 
Reply Tue 14 Dec, 2010 10:33 am
Since MA allows anyone to walk into a court and file a harassment type restraining order (without a judge), my husband has to go to court with only 2 days notice. Not enough time for me to be there as a witness – I’m away on work and our lawyer can’t be there as well since he has something that morning.

Our neighbors whom we have not spoken with in quite some time filed this. He is noting something that happened a couple of years ago, which my husband and him had resolved and since then had beers and went to the ballgame together and such. The neighbor even apologized for his behavior.

He and his wife had trouble and she moved out for while. Since she has been back, we have been subject to loud noises – she likes to walk in high heels on the hard wood floors and repeatedly drop things. Since we hadn’t had success with her toning things down, we turn up the TV or radio to drown out her noise. So they served my husband with this.

Honestly, I think it is because we had reported her to board/management company because she allows her dog off his leash and runs through people’s gardens. We had also reported them when their daughter’s boyfriend would throw his cigarette butts off the deck and right in front of our deck. All of this we reported after speaking with them about these issues and they never stopped.

Worst case - there is a potential they could not allow my husband within so much distance of them - thus he could not live at home. Best case - he misses work because of this and they throw it out. What the h*ll?
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  2  
Reply Tue 14 Dec, 2010 10:37 am
@Linkat,
Geez, what a crock of ****. He's getting a harassment notice for having the damn TV up too loud?

Did they ever ask you to turn it down?

Hopefully the judge won't be a moron...

Cycloptichorn
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Tue 14 Dec, 2010 10:58 am
@Cycloptichorn,
No - they have never asked us to lower the volume.

They also say my husband bangs on the ceilings everytime the walk. One, how could that be humanly possible. He is not sitting in the livingroom 24/7 waiting for someone to walk. We have kids - and have caught them throwing stuff on the ceiling before. We have hung up pictures and have had some crown molding put up any of that could have caused the noise.

Now I just got off the phone with my husband. He called the managment company so we could get a copy of condo docs. The management guy said he got a subpoena to appear tomorrow. He doesn't have the emails any longer regarding the prior issues as they changed systems. He did say he got complaints about our noise. We never received any notification. So I asked my husband to call him back to confirm they never contacted us - I never show a letter or received a call or visit and he hadn't either.

Once one of other neighbors was showing their condo - the sales person was getting things ready - my husband was in the shower with the radio on and the neighbors came over and asked if we could turn it down - which we did - and that is the only time anyone has said anything to us.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Tue 14 Dec, 2010 11:00 am
@Cycloptichorn,
Also, the item 2 years ago, he stated his daughter was berated and his wife was verbally harassed.
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Tue 14 Dec, 2010 11:02 am
@Linkat,
Linkat wrote:

Also, the item 2 years ago, he stated his daughter was berated and his wife was verbally harassed.


Aw, jeez. What a ******* moron. Sorry you have to put up with all of this.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
Region Philbis
 
  1  
Reply Tue 14 Dec, 2010 11:10 am
@Linkat,

yeah, it sounds frivolous and spiteful.
good luck in court...
0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  4  
Reply Tue 14 Dec, 2010 11:26 am
@Linkat,
You have several old topics on A2K about the noise levels from your neighbors. If you don't have any other documentation, you might print out those topics as proof of how long the problems have been occurring.
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Tue 14 Dec, 2010 11:33 am
@Butrflynet,
Thanks - my husband is going to go to the courthouse today and see if they can push this out considering the lengths they seem to be going - notifying the management company, etc.
0 Replies
 
CalamityJane
 
  1  
Reply Tue 14 Dec, 2010 11:34 am
WHen I read the headline I thought the Dunkin Dunuts guy had a restraining
order against you. ....

Hm, that's baloney to charge your husband with harassment. Nonetheless,
you should be careful, people can get very vindictive these days and since
you are neighbors, you don't want them to harm any of your animals, kids etc.
People are crazy and you have to take this in consideration.
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Tue 14 Dec, 2010 11:46 am
@CalamityJane,
Ha ha - at least I can laugh about that. I feel ill about this and it is difficult for me to work. I have so much work to do and I need to meet with everyone between today and tomorrow about bonuses and development. Had the first and it s*cked even though the bonus was good - he is a pain in the a$$ and thinks more of himself so of course he deserved more.

I have another difficult one a bit later on and the rest should be great to pretty good.
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Tue 14 Dec, 2010 11:49 am
@Linkat,
And that bonehead that had a decent review, not stellar but good - and he sends me email on the one very specific example on items to work on. He may need a restraining order against me.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  2  
Reply Tue 14 Dec, 2010 12:19 pm
@CalamityJane,
So the management company is going to give us the letters they sent to the neighbors - about things that ranged from dog without a leash to dog barking (not sure who sent that complaint) to not throwing cigaratte butts off the balcony.

He also confirmed that he never sent us a note about noise or anything other complaint.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 14 Dec, 2010 12:22 pm
@Linkat,
Good!

Sorry you have to deal with this ickiness. Stupid neighbors.
0 Replies
 
CalamityJane
 
  1  
Reply Tue 14 Dec, 2010 01:48 pm
@Linkat,
The management letter is good to have, Linkat, and it will make your husband
more confident in front of the judge. Give him some St. John's worth or valerian root, so he's calm and collected tomorrow, that's really important that he remains calm. Chances are the neighbor is more temperamental - vindictive people mostly are, so half of the battle is won already. Plus you have to live next to them for quite a while and don't want to feel their animosity on a daily basis.

I'd be upset too, but think positive thoughts and prepare a nice voodoo doll
on your next break...
0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  3  
Reply Tue 14 Dec, 2010 03:36 pm
There is a great Nolo Press book that you may wish to get from the library or purchase for yourself.

Here's a link to it on Amazon and a review from a law site:

http://www.amazon.com/Neighbor-Law-Fences-Trees-Boundaries/dp/0873376501

http://www.worldlawdirect.com/article/1154/neighbor-law-neighbor-disputes-book-review.html

Quote:
Neighbor Law: Neighbor Disputes -- Book Review

By WORLDLawDirect [October 10th, 2006]

Book Title:

Neighbor Law: Fences, Trees, Boundaries & Noise (5th Edition) (Paperback) by Cora Jordan (Author)

Editorial Reviews:

Los Angeles Times "A great Nolo book that gives practical, no-nonsense approaches to handling neighbor disputes."

Orlando Sentinel "This classic book, which keeps getting better with each new edition, answers virtually all questions regarding fences, boundaries and noise."

Arizona Republic "Jordan peppers the book with real stories of problems neighbors have with each other. The stories are interesting and hilarious."

Book Description Is a neighboring business driving you crazy? Too much noise from next door? Run-off from up the hill threatening to drown your yard? Learn your rights and responsibilities with Neighbor Law, Nolo's clear-cut, comprehensive guide to the laws concerning common neighbor disputes.

The popular bestseller covers:

* fences * trees * boundaries * blocked views * noise * water issues * neighborhood businesses * dangers to children * and more

In plain English, Neighbor Law explains how to find the law in each circumstance and resolve disputes outside the court – but if you must go to small claims court, this popular book gives you the information you need.

The 5th edition is completely revised and now provides a new information on disputes about second-hand smoke. It also has a new chapter on researching the law online.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Neighbors and Legal Questions

1. Tackling a Neighbor Problem [Get Prepared – Approach the Neighbor – Turn to the Authorities for Help – Try Mediation – Take the Neighbor to Court]

2. Noise [Laws Against Noise – What to Do]

3. When a Tree Is Injured or Destroyed [Who Owns a Tree? – An Owner's Rights When a Tree Is Damaged – What the Tree Owner Can Sue For – Criminal Penalties – What to Do If a Neighbor Damages Your Tree – Preventing Damage]

4. Encroachment: Invading Branches and Roots [Looking for Help – Trimming a Neighbor's Tree: The Right of Self-Help – When a Neighbor Can Sue – Going to Court]

5. Unsound Limbs and Trees [Getting Help From the City Government – Trimming a Neighbor's Tree: The Right of Self-Help – Ask the Owner to Trim the Tree – Suing to Prevent Damage – Homeowners' Insurance – After Damage From an Unsound Tree]

6. Boundary Trees [Ownership – Co-Owners' Responsibilities – Damage to or Removal of a Boundary Tree]

7. Fruit and Nuts: Who Owns What? [Who Owns the Tree? – Fruit That Has Fallen – Avoiding Problems]

8. Obstruction of View [The Basic Rule: No Right to a View – View Ordinances – Subdivision Rules That Protect Views – Other Laws That May Protect Views – Views That Are Not Legally Protected – Avoiding View Problems]

9. Boundary Lines [Settling Uncertain Boundary Lines – When a Neighbor Doesn't Honor the Boundary]

10. Using Another's Land: Trespass and Easements [Trespassers – Who Become Owners Easements]

11. Fences [Rural Areas: Fencing Livestock In or Out – Urban Fences – Property Line (Boundary) Fences – Disputes Over Boundaries – Sharing a Fence That Is Not on the Boundary]

12. Spite Fences [General Restrictions on Fence Height – What Is a Spite Fence? – Negotiating With the Neighbor Going to Court]

13. Dangers to Children: Attractive Nuisances [The Attractive Nuisance Doctrine – Taking Necessary Precautions – Seeking Legal Help]

14. Rural Neighbors and the Right to Farm [Ordinary Nuisance Rules – Right-to-Farm Laws – What Neighbors Can Do]

15. Water [When the Neighbor Is Liable for Damage – When the Neighbor May Not Be Liable for Damage – What the Neighbor at Fault Must Pay For – What to Do If You Suffer Water Damage – Rights to Water]

16. When Your Neighbor Is a Business [Zoning Laws – Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions – Home-Based Businesses – Other Laws Protecting You and Your Property – Expect a Compromise – What to Do When the Law Favors You – When the Law Favors the Business]

17. Other Common Neighbor Disputes [Blighted Property – Weeds, Rubbish, and Garbage – Loud and Offensive Language – Drug Dealers – Animal Problems – Second-Hand Smoke Vehicles – Outdoor Lights]

18. Legal Research [Local Laws – State Statutes – Case Law]

19. Mediation [What Is Mediation? – How to Find a Mediator – How Mediation Works]

20. Small Claims Court [What Is Small Claims Court? – Preparing for Small Claims Court – How Small Claims Court Works]

Appendixes

1. State Statutes on Injury to Trees 2. State Statutes on Private Nuisance 3. Boundary Fence Statutes 4. Adverse Possession Statutes 5. Right-to-Farm Statutes

Index

From the Back Cover Neighbors – They wouldn't be so bad if they didn't live next door...

Everything you need to resolve disputes with your neighbor, in or out of court.

About the Author Cora Miner Jordan earned her law degree at the University of Mississippi. A trained mediator, she is the author of Neighbor Law: Fences, Trees, Boundaries and Noise and co-author of Plan Your Estate.
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Tue 14 Dec, 2010 03:50 pm
@Butrflynet,
Cool book ... my husband just met with a judge - he moved the date for two weeks out so our lawyer and I can be there. Also, we are being sent a copy of the most updated condo docs and it doesn't appear as if they are in complance with the covering of floors.

The rep from the management company actually read part of them to us and not only do they need to cover a large portion of their floor, but they need to have appropriate padding underneath. My husband is going to have the attorney look at it and provide recommondations on how to handle that - so if they never pushed for what they are doing, they wouldn't have to deal with us insisting they have their floors covered appropriately.

We have a copy of three of the letters that the management company sent to them regarding violations of condo docs as well. The guy at the management company seems to be trying to help us out. And he is supposedly their witness.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  3  
Reply Thu 23 Dec, 2010 08:30 am
For anyone interested - we met with our lawyer. The good news - he said that even if the judge were to believe everything written by our neighbor, it would not be harrassment and in the lawyer's words - this is a frivolous order. And it is not actually an order. He went to the courthouse and got all the appropriate info. The judge refused to sign a restraining order when this was filed as the judge felt it could be handled in a better way.

From what I gathered from our conversation - this sort of order is supposed to be for a physical threat. And from anything read on what the neighbor wrote, there is nothing with a physical threat. There is no way they could have a restraining order of within so much distance, etc. as there is no physical threat and because of the proximity of where we live.

Bad news - the worst case, is they could put a restraining order in regard to my husband making too much noise. This could result in our neighbor without any evidence claiming hubby is banging, playing music too loud, etc. and resulting in my husband's arrest because of violating a restraining order. And then we go to court for half a day, hire a criminal lawyer to get him out.

Our lawyer doubted this guy hired a lawyer as how the order was written by our neighbor. He told us not to let him know we have a lawyer and to act as if an order has been issued even though one has not. He went over how to act when making testimony, etc. to help us being prepared. He felt overall that we may just go to mediation (which is all we want any way).
Miller
 
  1  
Reply Thu 23 Dec, 2010 09:27 am
@Linkat,
So, what was your lawyer's fee for all of his work?
PUNKEY
 
  1  
Reply Thu 23 Dec, 2010 09:43 am
Another reason not to live in a condo . . .

Flooring requirement should be in your CCRs.

The shower thing is bizzare. Are other units complaining about noise from common wall bathrooms?
Miller
 
  1  
Reply Thu 23 Dec, 2010 09:51 am
@PUNKEY,
PUNKEY wrote:

Another reason not to live in a condo . . .

Flooring requirement should be in your CCRs.

The shower thing is bizzare. Are other units complaining about noise from common wall bathrooms?



What's the take of the TRustees in all this?
 

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