Social Networking : Posting a Threat

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Q: For a while, I resided in New Jersey near my girlfriend.  Earlier this year, I left and returned to New York, where she has never stepped foot.  After that, she posted a page on the web in which she mouthes my name and waves a firearm in a rap song that goes: “I’m gonna hurt him; I’m gonna shoot him; I’m gonna put his face in dirt ‘til he cannot breathe.”  She had threatened me with physical violence in the past.  I want a restraining order.

A: In threatening your life and safety, this rapper appears to have targeted a New York resident, specifically.  Your attorney will argue that, in thereby purposefully creating in you a fear for your well-being, the rapper committed a ‘tortious act’ in New York (not just New Jersey) by means of this web page.  Accordingly, a New York court can exercise personal jurisdiction over her without violating the principles of due process.

Although your ex posted the page on an Internet medium that can be disseminated world-wide, she was purposefully directing it to you, in New York.  This posting constitutes sufficient ‘minimum contacts’ to justify, and make fair, the exercise of personal jurisdiction over her.  Your attorney will argue that, by placing a page on the web threatening you in New York, this rapper can be haled into New York to answer an application seeking a restraining order against her.

New York has a strong interest in protecting its citizens from domestic abuse, and you have an obvious interest in obtaining convenient and effective relief in New York.  If a New York court cannot exercise personal jurisdiction over your ex, then the choices remaining are poor: in order to obtain an effective abuse-prevention order, you would have to return to New Jersey or wait for the abuser to come here.

Your attorney will argue that your interest in obtaining (and the state’s interest in providing) relief and protection from domestic abuse far outweighs any burden your ex may face in defending this case in New York.  Exercising personal jurisdiction over her is not unjust: it does not violate the constitutional principles of due process.  Once the court has jurisdiction over the rapper, it has the ability to enter a restraining order protecting you.

By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial

The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.

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