“This Court Is Perplexed by the Overreaching Injunctive Relief Sought by Plaintiffs”

From Hopscotch Adoptions, Inc. v. Kachadurian (E.D. Cal. Dec. 7):

On an expedited, ex parte basis, plaintiffs Hopscotch Adoptions, Inc. … and Robin Sizemore … seek: … a temporary restraining order to prohibit defendant Venessa Kachadurian’s … internet and related comments on Hopscotch and Ms. Sizemore ….

Hopscotch is an accredited intercountry adoption agency and was co-founded by Ms. Sizemore, its executive director. Ms. Kachadurian is a Fresno resident who, according to plaintiffs, “has unsuccessfully pursued intercountry adoption since at least 2004 and has waged an ongoing cybersmear campaign against such agencies since at least 2005.” Ms. Kachadurian has been neither a Hopscotch client nor an applicant with plaintiffs or an entity affiliated with Ms. Sizemore.

Plaintiffs attribute to Ms. Kachadurian comments in email, blogs and internet chatrooms that plaintiffs engaged in illegal practices and that Ms. Sizemore was fired from a prior adoption agency job for illegal or unethical practices. Plaintiffs further attribute Ms. Kachadurian to improperly claim that Ms. Sizemore is connected with the arrest of Hopscotch’s in-county facilitator in the Georgia republic. Plaintiffs claim “irreparable harm” in lost business and “hesitance among adoption seekers in doing business with Hopscotch.” Plaintiffs’ complaint alleges claims for violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, 18 U.S.C. ยงยง 1030, et seq., defamation, negligent misrepresentation, false light, tortious interference with contractual relations, and negligent interference with prospective advantage….

Here, plaintiffs’ alleged harm is compensable by monetary damages, and the complaint’s tort claims demonstrate as much. Unearned fees from lost clients or opportunities is subject to calculation. Moreover, this Court is concerned about free speech issues, especially given plaintiffs’ reliance on apparent limited, stray comments by Ms. Kachadurian. This Court is perplexed by the overreaching injunctive relief sought by plaintiffs and inability to police or enforce such relief. Although plaintiffs identify finite, limited comments by Ms. Kachadurian, they seek sweeping injunctive relief touching on areas irrelevant and remote to plaintiffs’ claim. The scope of plaintiffs’ proposed injunctive relief is unreasonable and unacceptable….

This Court does not grant overreaching injunctive and discovery relief on an ex parte, unnoticed basis, especially when such requested relief lacks defined, adequate support. Although plaintiffs may have meritorious claims for monetary damages, this Court is concerned that plaintiffs pursue their requested relief to retaliate and intimidate….

Here is the plaintiffs’ denied motion for a TRO, which asks for (among other things) a temporary restraining order barring “[a]ny further annoyance or harassment of any adoption service provider and/or from interfering with any adoption service providers on the basis of their [race], color, religion, national origin, disability or sexual orientation,” barring “false and defamatory statements” (something that’s generally treated as an unconstitutional prior restraint unless there’s a final decision on the merits actually finding the speech to be false), and requiring defendant to “take appropriate remedial measures with respect to postings still available on the Internet.” Plus “Notice of this application was not provided to Defendant due to her history of acting in retaliation and general erratic behavior and concern that she might attempt to destroy relevant evidence in this matter,” but such speech restraints without notice are especially hard to justify.

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