By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — The hearing in Belknap County Superior Court Friday on the petition of Peter Mayhew, the owner of Mayhew Funeral Home, Inc., to silence his neighbor, Doug Frederick, owner of the American Police Motorcycle Museum, who has repeatedly and publicly complained that emissions from the crematorium litter his property with ash, ended without an announced result.
Justice James D. O'Neill III opened the hearing by asking the attorneys, Marc van Zanten, representing Mayhew, and William Woodbury, representing Frederick, to approach the bench. After the three conferred, the opposing counsels left the courtroom together. When the court reconvened, the attorneys again conferred with O'Neill, who then recessed the proceedings.
Afterward, Woodbury said he expected O'Neill to issue a brief order, perhaps later the same afternoon. However, the justice left the courthouse without issuing an order.
Last week Justice David Ruoff denied Mayhew's ex parte motion, or motion filed without Frederick's knowledge or presence, seeking a temporary restraining order against Frederick and his wife, Leslyee. Mayhew contends that there is no evidence for Frederick's claims that "human ash" is falling from the crematory chimney and and fouling his property, yet Frederick and his wife "loudly and publicly continue their groundless complaints." Mayhew's suit asks the court to forbid the Fredericks from making any statements that are published in a public medium that bear on the character, credibility and reputation of Mayhew; his wife or his funeral home; or that reflect directly or indirectly on the operation of the crematory at the funeral home.
On three occasions Frederick has complained to the Meredith Board of Selectmen about the operation of the crematorium and his remarks have been published in local newspapers and aired on television. He has lodged similar complaints with the Office of the Governor, New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, New Hampshire Attorney General and Board of of Registration of Funeral Directors and Embalmers as well as with the Meredith police and fire departments.
Mayhew claims that Frederick's statements, which have been widely disseminated, defame his character and impair his business.
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