Short Take: Free Speech, But Not So Loud Speech

Andrea J. Coleman is an attorney who offers her services as a divorce mediator, a gentler way of resolving disputes.

She has worked with many families undergoing difficult situations and is familiar with and sensitive to their needs.

So why do her neighbors hate her?

A Brooklyn judge has ordered a divorce lawyer into a padded room.

The jurist ruled that the loudmouth lawyer has been terrorizing her neighbors at her ritzy condo building so much — blasting classical music and shrieking things such as “Obama is a murderer!” and “Rape!” around-the-clock — that her pad has to be soundproofed.

She was ordered to turn the volume down from 11, but apparently just couldn’t manage to control herself.

“The screaming and yelling begins as early as 6:30 a.m. and recurs throughout the day and often as late as midnight,” her next-door neighbor, Craig Spolsky, said in an affidavit.

Her “voice can be clearly heard from inside my apartment. She uses words like ‘murder,’ ‘rape,’ ‘killing’ and ‘killing myself,’ and has apparently even mentioned my name in the same breath as these threatening words,” Spolsky said.

“ ‘Obama, the murderer in chief’ — that’s a phrase that she often says,” Spolsky added. “The horrifying nature, tremendously loud volume, and upsetting substance of [Coleman’s] yelling are present nearly every single day.”

It’s unclear whether she’s unaware that Obama is no longer president, or the allegations are old, but either way, it appears her refusal to abide the court order and continued screaming has pushed a judge to test the limits of property law.

Coleman had initially been fined $31,000 for disobeying a court order to keep quiet.

Justice Edgar Walker then came up with an alternative: He would drop the fine if Coleman allowed the board’s acoustical engineer to soundproof her fifth-floor pad at 1 Grand Army Plaza.

If she refuses, the judge has given the board of the Richard Meier-designed tower permission to install the soundproofing “by forcible entry.”

It’s one thing to fine her. It’s another to authorize forced entry of a private party onto someone else’s private property, as much as her conduct seems to demand some recourse for the quiet enjoyment of her neighbors. After all, this is a condo, not a co-op.

As for Copeland, she argues that the problem isn’t her screaming about Obama, but they just don’t like her.

At a court hearing in January 2017, Coleman claimed that her neighbors have provoked her behavior. She said they want her out because her unit is in foreclosure. She did not return messages seeking comment.

The divorce mediation biz doesn’t appear to be as vibrant as the flowery language might suggest. But her unit being in foreclosure, even if this also means she’s not paying common charges or it’s the condo association getting burned by non-payment, such that the other residents have to carry her weight as well as listen to her, doesn’t explain why that makes her scream about Obama.

While many have raised “Trump Derangement Syndrome” as a manifestation of the suddenly woke and unduly passionate losing their shit hourly, it’s important to remember that people aren’t unhinged only because of Trump, and there were crazy people before, just as there will be after.

Whether she’s motivated by conservative or hyper-progressive fury is unclear, but either way, she’s making too damn much noise. As it has been firmly established by the twitter scolds that a woman can’t be called “unhinged” because it’s misogynstic, can it at least be agreed that Copeland has severe impulse control issues? Then again, it may well be asked how anyone who screams about Obama could have been admitted to practice law at all.

9 thoughts on “Short Take: Free Speech, But Not So Loud Speech

  1. CLS

    She lost her damn mind dissolving marriages. I’m not particularly surprised by this, since mediation done properly can drive you nuts if you don’t have thick skin and a sense of humor.

    I’d be willing to put a sawbuck down that during a mediation, a litigant mentioned Obama one too many times and Ms. Coleman just snapped. Ended the session and hid in her unpadded unit forever screaming about our last President and rape while listening to classical music all day long.

  2. B. McLeod

    The neighbors don’t understand the current wisdom for “accommodating” the mentally ill. After we put the mentally ill people out in main society, and insist that they function, it is the duty of every neighbor to pretend that things are going swimmingly. If there is a lot of screaming at all hours, or loud, classical music, that is just a different degree of “normal,” and they need to learn to be more accepting of it.

    1. SHG Post author

      In “our main society,” our condos, our profession. Don’t forget our profession. The ABA demands you be more accepting.

    2. Norahc

      Here I thought the current acceptable accommodation wisdom was to elect them to public office. Learn something new everyday here.

      1. B. McLeod

        Well, if they run for public office, certainly. You obviously can’t treat them as though they were incapable. Also, whatever happens after they begin their terms of office, you need to be ready to take it in stride, as just yet another degree of “normal.” Whatever you do, DON’T act like they’re doing something wrong.

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