Gordon B. was 75 years old, a disabled veteran, and fed up with his Southern California neighbors’ abuse when he finally won a one-year restraining order against them. After he’d appeared as a witness against the family in an animal-welfare hearing, he faced insults and obscene gestures, loud fireworks tossed into his driveway and mysteriously destroyed property. He even told a judge that one of his animal-abusing neighbors tried to run him down in a pickup truck.
When Gordon tried to renew the protection order a year later, the judge refused, reasoning that although his neighbors from hell were still misbehaving, Gordon had no evidence of new incidents of abuse to show cause for a re-up. He won his appeal thanks to California’s Elder Abuse Act, which mandates that older people need only prove a “genuine and reasonable apprehension of future abuse” to extend a restraining order.
This Act provides an extra measure of support for older adults who worry about their safety. Discuss your concerns with loved ones and a good estate lawyer who can help get any necessary protections in place. Gordon B. v. Gomez (2018) 22 Cal.App5th 92.
About the author:
John O’Grady leads a full-service estate and trust law firm in San Francisco. His practice includes Estate Planning & Administration, Probate and Trust Litigation.