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Barking Dog Avi Adelman Fights Lawsuit, Says Free Speech is Being Stifled

Melissa Kingston, the Lower Greenville resident and attorney representing neighborhood groups in negotiations over the Greenville Avenue Walmart, didn't hold back in her lawsuit against Avi Adelman. The longtime neighborhood activist and proprietor of BarkingDogs.org is a "menace" and a "neighborhood terrorist" who bullies anyone with whom he disagrees, the lawsuit said.

Adelman's response, filed Monday, is more restrained. He denies the allegations contained in Kingston's suit -- most notably that he had registered melissakingston.com and was using it to damage her professional reputation -- and claims that Kingston hasn't suffered any real damage. On the contrary, Adelman argues, Kingston is the one harassing him, by filing a lawsuit whose sole purpose is to abridge his right to free speech which, he notes, is protected under the Constitution.

Be that as it may, a judge ruled last month that Kingston is likely to prevail on the merits of her case and issued a temporary restraining order preventing Adelman from using Kingston's name or the melissakingston.com domain, not to mention stepping within 1,000 feet of her home.

When Adelman sought to dissolve the order, Kingston dropped a few more details about Adelman. There was that one time he was cited for assault for shoving a woman during one of his late-night patrols of Greenville, proving, Kingston argues, his propensity for violence. Then there was the email opining that if another former neighborhood leader were heading negotiations with Walmart, the retailer "would be on their knees in a pool of their own blood begging for mercy as they planted the trees we were asking for."

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Finally, Kingston brings up the fact that, in addition to melissakingston.com, Adelman has also been registering domain names in the name of her husband, Phillip Kingston, who, Adelman says in an email included in Kingston's filing, is gearing up for a run for Angela Hunt's vacant City Council seat in 2013.

The result of all this was that the judge extended the restraining order and added a provision: Adelman is not allowed to photograph or videotape Kingston or her home. That appears likely to stay in place until the case goes to trial in August 2013.

Update at 9:48 a.m.: Avi Adelman declined to comment on his response but he did note that the terms of the original restraining order had been changed to allow him to get a bit closer to Kingston's house. The original order kept him at least 1,000 feet away but, because his own home is about 1,200 feet, that would prevent him from walking to the end of his block. The revised boundaries are based on streets. He passed along before/after Google maps. See below:

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