The Volokh Conspiracy

Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent

Free Speech

Interrupting Family Member's Work Video Meeting with "Humiliating Remarks" Isn't "Family Abuse"


From A.A.R. v. Rustad, decided yesterday by the Oregon Court of Appeals (Presiding Judge Douglas Tookey, joined by Judges Jacqueline Kamins and Joel DeVore):

Respondent appeals the trial court's continuation of a restraining order issued against him under the Family Abuse Prevention Act, ORS 107.700 to 107.735. While working from her marital home, petitioner was leading a video meeting with several colleagues when respondent, who was her father-in-law, interrupted the meeting by loudly making humiliating remarks about her at the screen and refusing to leave despite repeated requests from petitioner and her coworkers. Having reviewed the record, we conclude that while respondent's behavior was reprehensible, the evidence was insufficient to establish that he "represents a credible threat to the physical safety of the petitioner." ORS 107.716(3)(a)(C). Given that disposition, we need not reach respondent's argument concerning how the Supreme Court's jurisprudence relating to free speech, particularly, State v. Rangel (Or. 1999) applies, if at all, to the Family Abuse Prevention Act.

For those interested in pseudonymous litigation, note that A.A.R. isn't a true pseudonym; A.A.R.'s name is available in the court file, but the court didn't include it in its opinion (something that appears to be Oregon courts' practice in restraining order cases).