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Another Big Win for M&P: Appeals Court Vacates Harassment Prevention Order Against Professor

In a hotly contested case which involved nearly two dozen hearings in the Superior Court, three motions filed with the Single Justice of the Appeals Court, one petition to the Supreme Judicial Court, and two appeals, John Rooney and Michael Byrne succeeded in vacating a harassment prevention order issued against a Harvard professor.  The dispute stemmed from concerns expressed by the professor to administrators and university health services about the erratic and contentious behavior of a graduate student performing research in his lab.  The Massachusetts Appeals Court agreed that the professor’s actions did not constitute “harassment,” and concluded that the order should never have issued in the first place.  In addition, the Court  was sharply critical of the extraordinary relief granted by the order – which had caused significant disruption in the lab and attempted to assert judicial control over scientific and academic decision-making – holding that the judge had “far exceeded” her statutory and legal authority.