Thursday, August 17, 2017
Court of Appeal Holds:
Unwanted Electronic Communications Justified Three-Year Protective Order
Rejects Right-to-Woo Defense, Saying That Continuous Efforts to Rekindle Romance to the Point Of Harassment Justifies Judicial Intervention; Threat of Physical Harm Isn’t Necessary
By a MetNews Staff Writer
SER’DARIUS W. BLAIN
There is no right on the part of a rebuffed suitor to press efforts to regain affections to the point of annoyance, the Court of Appeal has ruled, affirming a three-year protective order commanding an actor to stay away from his former girlfriend.
The March 18, 2016 order, issued pursuant to the Domestic Violence Prevention Act (“DVPA”), was imposed by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu on Ser’Darius Blain, who had supporting roles in the 2012 TV series “Jane by Design” and in the 2013 movie, “Star Trek Into Darkness.”
Although Blain and Katharine Christian broke up on Nov. 22, 2015—with her admonition not to contact her again—Blain persisted in seeking to resume their relationship, through emails, texting, instagrams, and voicemails, and, ultimately, in his banging at her apartment door at 3 in the morning on Feb. 28 of last year.
“Blain asserts the trial court abused its discretion in issuing the protective order, contending there were no threats of violence and he was entitled to attempt to win her back even though she repeatedly told him not to contact her,” Acting Justice Kim Dunning said in her opinion for Div. Five. “We disagree.”
Dunning, an Orange Superior Court judge sitting on assignment, rejected Blain’s contentions in an unpublished opinion, filed Tuesday.
“ ‘Abuse’ under the DVPA does not require violence or threats of violence,” she wrote. “Where the parties were formerly in a dating relationship, harassing contact by one party that disturbs the peace of the other party is sufficient.”
Dunning pointed to Family Law Code §6320(a) which authorizes a protective order to enjoin not only physical abuse but also “harassing, telephoning...contacting, either directly or indirectly, by mail or…disturbing the peace of the other party....”
The jurist observed:
“Blain admitted he repeatedly telephoned and contacted Christian by text and Instagram after she told him their relationship was over. His actions, including his uninvited presence at her apartment in the middle of the night, disturbed her peace and harassed her. This conduct falls within the parameters of the DVPA and may be enjoined.”
At the hearing before Treu, Blain testified that he continued to pursue Christian because they had broken off their relationship in the past, but had always reconciled, and he thought the current estrangement was merely another lapse, rather than being permanent. His attorney asked him:
“If you had known that [Christian] no longer wanted to be in a relationship with you, would you continue to send her messages or contact her in any way?
He responded: “Absolutely not.”
“Yet he also testified he saw no reason to stop contacting her until he was served with the TRO. In other words, he was free to ignore what she said until she obtained a court order. That is not the law.”
The case is Christian v. Blain, B272096.
Yury Galperin of Lieber and Galperin represented Blain. Christian was in pro per.
Copyright 2017, Metropolitan News Company