If You’re Suing Just Me, You Can’t Get An Injunction Against My Wife

Today’s announcement is in Jacoby v. Jacoby (Pa. Super. Ct. written by Judge Carolyn Nichols, and joined by Judges Mary Jane Bowes (Pa. Super.

Richard G. Jacoby, Jr. (Father), appeals the order of the trial court that limited the speech rights for his spouse, Brena Jacoby (Stepmother). Father claims the court’s decision improperly limited Stepmother, a non-party on social media. We vacate the order to the extent the order affects Stepmother….

Mother requested that the court enforce her modified custody order and remove Child from Stepmother and place Child at Berks County Children and Youth Services. A telephone hearing was held by the trial court on June 17, 2021. Mother’s counsel informed the court about the Stepmother’s Facebook post for the first-time at the hearing. Mother’s Counsel explained that there had been a post on Facebook by “Your Honor.” [Stepmother]This basically means that they comply with all the orders. [c]Ourt is a shrew, and she says ‘our children’ all the time. This is total alienation. It is wrong for her to be involved in such a situation. Father’s counsel, however, stated that the posting did not include any relevant information to the custody dispute.

{“We quote from the Facebook post below:

OK…. OK… My husband [Father]Is currently being held in BCP for indirect civil contempt regarding child custody. Judge won’t release [Father]Our minor child will continue to attend four days of Linda Gottlieb’s out-of-state program until he is 18. Judge did not assign a value. Because our child lives outside of Pennsylvania, she is scared of her Mother and has been trying to avoid going to the out-of state program to end their marriage. Our minor child has been denied admission to this program despite numerous attempts. The mother requested that her lawyer request that the father of our minor child be held in prison until our child has attended at least four days of this program out of state. On Monday, this was done. My husband was detained on Monday. Monday saw CYS, the State Troopers, and my husband in prison. As she refused to leave, our minor child remains with us. It is amazing how much it means emotionally [sic]It is possible for a child to be subjected to both mental and physical abuse. 100 percent cooperation. It has been ongoing for many years (2016). Over 5 years, the minor hasn’t been with her mother alone. The fear is too great to travel with her. We now have a biased judge. He was basically a rogue judge. Please help. I am blessed with two excellent attorneys. However, the judge will always side with the opposing side. They have filed a claim of parental alienation. It is not recorded in law that parental alienation was ever claimed. Anybody who knows me, or my husband, knows that we are not those types of people. We have encouraged, positive affirmations etc.. [sic]Because the child lives in fear, this does not matter to them. Some people know that I am co-parenting with my ex. Our relationship does not require a court or child support order. We get along great. It has been an awful experience for all of us, but it has also been difficult for our son who is a child. [Father]Our child’s entire life. We were charged with interfering in our child’s participation in this program. Our child is not fighting it. It is the child’s fight. What more abuse could we, as a family, allow our child to endure?

My husband runs a law practice and the business is suffering because of his indefinite imprisonment.

We are in dire need of help. We need help immediately.}

[T]He trial court gave permission to Mother’s petition. It stated in part:

… [Father]And [Stepmother] shall NOT use onlineOder web-based communications to discuss this matter…. [Father] or [Stepmother]We will remove any Facebook posts that contain information about [Child]We will not discuss or post information about the topic. [Child’s]custody of any information [Child]….

Father appeals to the court: “May the court order the censoring of speech by non-party Stepmothers on social media in relation to criticism of the judge of the trial court?”[?]” …

[T]The instant trial court sua sponte pulled non-party Stepmother into this court proceeding by issuing an order against her without addressing the absence of original service of process for Stepmother….. Stepmother was not a party to the suit between Father and Mother, she was not served with process, and she had no notice or opportunity to challenge the communications restriction order.

Although personal jurisdiction is a waivable issue, non-party Stepmother did not have notice nor an opportunity to challenge the order, and the parties did not address the trial court’s exercise of personal jurisdiction over her…. [W]e … hold that the instant trial court had no personal jurisdiction over non-party Stepmother and therefore no authority to impose a communications restriction order against her. For these reasons, because the trial court committed legal error, we vacate the order to the extent the order identifies Stepmother, and because Father withdrew all of his other claims as discussed herein, we affirm in all other respects….