Caplan v. Donovan

Here, the plaintiff was a resident of Massachusetts and she sought an abuse prevention order against her nonresident partner.  The plaintiff and her partner met in Massachusetts and moved to Florida, where they had a child.  The plaintiff took the child to Massachusetts on occasion but the defendant never returned.  The plaintiff alleged that the defendant physically abused her and she fled to Massachusetts with her son.  The plaintiff alleged that prior to her escape, the defendant accused her of cheating, called her a whore, and threatened to kill her and the child.  He blocked the door when she tried to leave and when she took the phone to call the police, he ripped the phone from her hand and threw it across the room.  Once the plaintiff arrived in Massachusetts, the defendant called his friends and the plaintiff’s cell phone several times a day trying to locate her.  The plaintiff subsequently filed a complaint in court in Massachusetts seeking a protection order.  The court issued an order which granted the plaintiff custody of the child and directed the defendant not to abuse the plaintiff or the child, not to contact them, to surrender his firearms in Florida and to compensate the plaintiff monetarily.   The court found that the plaintiff was entitled to an abuse prevention order directing the defendant not to abuse her, not to contact her, to stay away from the plaintiff and her residence, granting custody of the child to the plaintiff, and ordering the defendant to stay away from the child.  However, the court found that it was a violation of the defendant’s due process rights to order an affirmative obligation on him, including paying money and handing over his firearms, as the court had no personal jurisdiction over the defendant.




Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts

Avon Center work product