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Ex-BigLaw partner can't get cyberstalking injunction against blogger, judge says

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Allan Kassenoff lawsuit photos

TikTok screenshots show social media influencer Robert Harvey and a listing of cases in which lawyer Allan A. Kassenoff was the lead counsel for Samsung, along with the tags @Samsung and @SamsungUS. (Images from Kassenoff's Sept. 5, 2023, lawsuit)

A former Greenberg Traurig partner can’t get a cyberstalking injunction against a blogger who posted videos of the lawyer yelling and telling his wife that he hates her, a Florida state judge has ruled.

In an April 17 order, Judge Gary L. Bergosh of the First Judicial Circuit Court of Florida tossed lawyer Allan A. Kassenoff’s bid to require blogger Robert Harvey to take down the videos. Kassenoff produced insufficient evidence to obtain an injunction under Florida law, said Bergosh, a judge in Escambia County, Florida.

Kassenoff had claimed in his injunction petition that Harvey had tried to depict him as an abusive spouse, causing Kassenoff to lose his position with Greenberg Traurig. Harvey’s followers have sent him “hundreds if not thousands” of harassing emails, texts and voicemails, including some that were threatening, Kassenoff said in the injunction request.

One message read: “I’m not gonna say too much, just know your a dead man. I know where you live, I know your license plate, I know where you work.”

Another read: “I’m gona find you and put a bullet between your fish eyes mother f- - -er. Better sleep with the door locked, but I promise that won’t stop me or my people.”

Harvey had posted videos that showed Kassenoff yelling, telling his then-wife that he hates her and regrets ever meeting her, calling her a “fat, old loser” and declaring that he won’t take their “spoiled” daughter to school or activities.

Kassenoff had won a child custody battle after he alleged that his ex-wife was an unfit parent who played favorites with the children. She had claimed that Kassenoff was awarded sole custody because of a corrupt court system. She linked to the videos on Facebook after posting that she was terminally ill and planned to die by medically assisted suicide.

Bergosh ruled on the same day that he had a hearing on the issue, according to a lawyer for Harvey, Jonathan Davidoff.

“Mr. Harvey appreciates Judge Bergosh’s determination on the merits that Mr. Harvey’s reporting on the Kassenoff divorce proceedings did not amount to cyberstalking for which an injunction would issue and further confirming Mr. Harvey’s First Amendment right to free speech and expression,” Davidoff said in an emailed statement to the ABA Journal.

Kassenoff told the Journal that Bergosh’s decision has no impact on a separate defamation case that he has pending against Harvey in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida.

Kassenoff gave this statement to the Journal: “I respectfully disagree with Judge Bergosh’s decision that the publication of approximately 40 harassing videos directed at and/or pertaining to a specific individual does not constitute cyberstalking under Section 784.048, Florida statutes, as such harassment is protected under the doctrine of freedom of speech. Judge Bergosh has seemingly gutted Florida’s cyberstalking law—a statute whose very terms are directed at protecting individuals from improper speech—giving free rein to social media influencers to harass and attack ordinary citizens with no fear of violating the statute. I am considering all of my options, including but not limited to appellate review.”

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