Protection From Abuse Order Case Studies

School Administrator Avoids PFA Restriction Potentially Interfering with Job

A school administrator retained us to contest a protection from abuse (PFA) order that his ex-wife obtained against him. The ex-wife alleged in her court filing that our client had threatened her with a serious injury or worse if she didn't relinquish certain personal property to him within her control. The temporary PFA order prevented the school administrator from coming near or having any contact with his ex-wife, who daily dropped off their three children at our client's school. Our client was duly concerned that he might have incidental contact with his ex-wife when she dropped off their children, violating the temporary PFA order and jeopardizing his job and career. We prepared our client and his case for the hearing on the final PFA order. At the hearing, our client's testimony and certain corroborating evidence showed that our client had not threatened the ex-wife. They had instead gotten into an argument when our client had stopped by their former marital home, still occupied by the ex-wife, to retrieve his boat from the property, which he seasonally did. Our client testified that the ex-wife either fabricated her allegations or misunderstood his words and actions. Our client also testified that he had a new storage place for his boat and didn't intend to return to the premises other than to pick up or drop off the children. Our cross-examination of the ex-wife tended to confirm her confusion and inability to credibly relate any specifically threatening words or actions. The judge accordingly dismissed the PFA order.

Physician Assistant Avoids PFA Order Interfering With Use of Residence

A physician assistant retained us to defend a proceeding in which the PA's apartment neighbor had obtained a temporary protection from abuse (PFA) order. Our client, the PA, acknowledged that he had a brief dating and romantic relationship with the neighbor, a technician with whom he worked at the medical facility. The PA, though, had broken off the relationship, believing it to be unwise and unhealthy for both of them. The PA's action had angered the technician to the point that she had become so emotional that she called him names and threatened him. Our client believed that the technician was emotionally and psychologically unstable, which was part of why he had broken off the relationship. The technician's temporary PFA order interfered with our client's ability to work without the risk of incidental contact with the technician at the medical facility. We thus prepared our client to testify at the hearing on the final PFA. Our presentation included the testimony of a co-worker to whom the technician had admitted how vengefully angry she was with our client and how she might just raise false accusations against him. We had learned of that testimony through steps our client had taken on our advice to ensure that co-workers understood our client's good character and safety. Our cross-examination of the technician showed the inconsistency and false and exaggerated nature of her allegations. The judge dismissed the PFA order.

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