Restraining Order Dismissed for Lack of Service

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KenRestraining order ya Moore, the Real Housewives of Atlanta reality TV personality, had a restraining order against ex-boyfriend Matt Jordan dismissed on Friday because she could not serve Jordan. 

"Kenya‘s restraining order against Matt was dismissed on Wednesday after she failed to show up for a hearing in the situation. According to her lawyer, she opted not to show up in court because she already knew the judge would throw the order out since she hasn’t been able to locate Matt in order to have him served."

A common problem with restraining orders is that after a temporary restraining order is granted and issued (or denied), the party the petitioner (the protected person) is seeking to restrain (the respondent) must be served personally (in California, like many other jurisdictions, personal service is not required before a temporary restraining order can be issues if the petitioner feels that he or she would be compromising his or her safety if the respondent knew about the request prior to an order being in effect). 

"Kenya was trying to have him served with the legal documents that would require Matt to stay at least 200 yards away from her, he allegedly ghosted her."

It is often common for the petitioner to refile his or her request for the order to be issued after dismissing a restraining order or having the initial request dismissed because of a lack of service.

"Kenya does plan to refile, but she’ll still need to find a way to serve Matt with the restraining order."

Problems can arise when service is not completed. First, if the allegation is that the respondent is engaging in excessive contact with the petitioner, a failure to know how or where to serve the respondent can (not always) be an indication that the obsessive behavior or stalking has stopped. Again, however, there are many forms of harassment and a failure to locate a petitioner is certainly not enough, on its own, to signify that the petitioner's case is weak or otherwise invalid. 

"Kenya Moore says she’s had to dodge up to 30 phone calls a day from her ex-BF, Matt Jordan, so she went to court to get protection. In legal docs, Kenya says Matt threatened her last week, after she blocked his harassing calls. The couple broke up after a nightmare vacation last year in Mexico, which Kenya mentions in her request for a restraining order. She adds Matt kicked in a hotel door and threw her suitcase in the driveway after they got back."

Restraining orders, to be validly issued in California, do not necessarily require violence. A "course of conduct" that would annoy or harass another person (reasonably) is enough for a restraining order to be issued. However, judges are often reluctant to issue orders if the conduct does not rise to the level of traditional harassment. Moore's allegation that she received up to 30 calls a day from her ex-boyfriend certainly indicate obsessive behavior, but more would be reuired. Jordan is also alleged to have kicked a door and to have thrown a suitcase. 

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