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Wisconsin Superintendent of Schools Obtains a Four Year Restraining Order Against a Parent

On June 7, 2024, we reported that Rainey Briggs the Baraboo, Wisconsin Superintendent of Schools was granted a temporary restratining order pending hearing following a May 31, 2024 incident at a graduation ceremony involving a parent Matthew Eddy. Please review that post for details regarding why Mr. Briggs sought this relief and directions on how to review the court docket in the case.

According to the docket, a hearing was held before the Court on June 14, 2024 on whether a more permanent restraining order should be granted in favor of Mr. Briggs, the Petitioner in the case. While Mr. Briggs personally appeared in Court that day, Mr. Eddy did not.

Attorney Karl M. Gebhard III appeared at hearing for Mr. Eddy and stated that his client was contesting the issuance of the restraining order. Therefore, the issue before the Court was whether to find in favor of Mr. Briggs or Mr. Eddy concerning whether or not to extend the temporary restraining order.

The record further reveals that Mr. Briggs was sworn in and provided testimony under oath, that both sides proffered arguments as to their respective positions, and that the Court made findings of fact. The Court was required to apply the facts to Wisconsin law to determine if Mr. Briggs met his burden of proving entitlement to a further restraining order.

The end result was that Mr. Briggs was granted a four year restraining order directing that Mr. Eddy was required to stay away from him. This essentially means that Mr. Eddy is to have no contact with Mr. Briggs at all. If he violates the terms of the restraining order, he could be ordered to pay a fine and even serve jail time.

Wisconsin like all states have requirements for personal restraining orders where one person petitions the court for a restraining order against another, which Mr. Briggs successfully met in obtaining one as he did.

On September 30, 2023 California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill No. 428 (SB 428) into law. Effective January 1, 2025, the new law expands California’s workplace violence restraining order law to authorize an employer to seek a restraining order on behalf of an employee.

The party in California seeking such a restraining order bears the burden of proving at the clear and convincing evidentiary standard that:

  • The employee has suffered harassment by the respondent;

  • Great or irreparable harm would result to the employee;

  • The course of conduct at issue served no legitimate purpose; and

  • The issuance of the order would not prohibit speech or other activities that are constitutionally protected, protected by the National Labor Relations Act (29 U.S.C. Sections 151, et seq.), or otherwise protected by law.

The term “harassment” pursuant to SB 428 is defined as “a knowing and willful course of conduct directed at a specific person that seriously alarms, annoys, or harasses the person, and that serves no legitimate purpose … which would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress, and must actually cause substantial emotional distress.”


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