Heard: May 10, 2016.
for protection from harassment filed in the Brighton Division
of the Boston Municipal Court Department on June 13, 2013.
case was heard by David T. Donnelly, J., and
hearings to extend a harassment prevention order were had
before Thomas S. Kaplanes, J., and Patricia E.
Jillise McDonough for the defendant.
Present: Grainger, Hanlon, & Agnes, JJ.
defendant, Kinzy Reason, appeals from the extension of a
harassment prevention order issued pursuant to G. L. c. 258E,
in the Brighton Division of the Boston Municipal Court. She
argues that the order was improperly issued and wrongly
extended. After a review, we are satisfied that, despite the
fact that the order has now expired, the issue is not moot
and therefore is properly before us. In addition, we agree
that the order should not have been extended.
parties lived in the same public housing complex in Brighton;
the plaintiff, Elizabeth Gassman, lived in an apartment on
the third floor of the building, and Reason lived on the
second floor in the apartment directly below Gassman's
apartment. Apparently, Gassman played the piano frequently
and her playing was a source of considerable irritation for
13, 2013, Gassman sought an ex parte harassment prevention
order against Reason, pursuant to G. L. c.
258E. There was a short hearing; the judge asked
several questions about a prior proceeding,  and then Gassman
was sworn. The judge asked her, "Are you in fear of your
safety?" Gassman responded, "Yes." The judge
also asked some questions about the relative locations of the
parties' apartments, the placement of the building
elevator and the laundry room, and the location of a music
school that Gassman was attending. After the hearing, the
judge issued an ex parte order, ordering Reason to stay ten
yards away from Gassman when in the building where both
parties lived, not to enter the third floor of the building,
to stay fifty yards away when outside the building, and to
stay away from Gassman's music school. A hearing after
notice was scheduled for June 25, 2013.
hearing apparently was held before the same judge and he
extended the order for a year. According to an entry on the
order, Reason was present; the record does not contain a
transcript of that hearing or any indication of what
testimony or other evidence the judge heard.
end of the year, Gassman again sought to extend the order,
this time before a different judge. In response to the
judge's question about what Gassman wished to do, she
replied that she wished to report a violation of the existing
harassment order and offered police reports. She also told
the judge that she wanted the harassment order extended and
that Reason "be evicted for six years of unrelenting
harassment of [her]." Gassman told the judge that Reason
had "called the police on [her] four -- to [her] door
four times for playing the piano."She complained
that the defendant had violated the order by "standing
smack in front of the elevator door, " forcing the
plaintiff to walk by "within six inches of her."
Gassman finished by saying, "After that, the only time
she complied with the -- When we encountered each other, all
of which were chance encounters because that's life,
I'm not following her, she's not following me."
Gassman maintained that Reason was a danger to her and, when
the judge asked why, she responded,
"Because . . . she lied to the police. She's lied to
the BHA. She's lied in a civil rights complaint. She is
capable of making up any story that suits her and she is
determined to do harm to me. It started when she moved in the
building, the first week she lived there, in 2009 when she
started going to the office complaining I was playing the
piano. I have a noise measurement report from the [c]ity of
Boston. It was done at my request."
Plaintiff: "That measures the sound in her
apartment as [forty-eight] decibels or below, far below the
[seventy-eight] decibels allowed by law. Despite being given
that report, she called the police to my door four times ...
in the next years, complaining about I was disturbing the
peace. On not a single occasion did the police find me
violating the --disturbing the peace, and in fact they
apologized for disturbing me."
Plaintiff: "Then we had a period when I
didn't hear from her, and then suddenly last year I get
an assault and battery charge. I walked by her in the
hallway, absolutely nothing took place, and the next thing I
know, four weeks later I get a summons to appear in court on
an assault and ...