A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit lodged against a Markleysburg attorney who was accused of misusing funds from her estranged husband’s business.
U.S. District Judge Cathy Bissoon issued ruling Wednesday, closing the case lodged against Mary Hajduk by Tactical Personal Leasing Inc., the business of Lawrence Hajduk.
“This is an extremely happy day,” said Mary Hajduk’s attorney, Samuel Davis. “I’m very pleased with the order of the court, and I’m very happy for Mary Hajduk.”
The suit alleged that Mary Hajduk electronically caused payments of $38,096 to be made from the business checking accounts to credit card accounts in her name, caused $419,300 in checks issued from the business to her checking account payable to her and caused $99,901 in checks issued from the business bank account Fayette Professional Offices Ltd., which the suit claims was a “corporate shell” she used to divert funds.
Mary Hajduk’s attorneys argued the suit failed to show she violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) as it requires someone to access a computer they weren’t authorized to use or they exceeded their authorized use. Davis and attorney Kimberly Kovach argued that Mary Hajduk was given power of attorney by Lawrence Hajduk over his financial and medical decisions.
Bissoon agreed, noting that attorneys for TPL didn’t show that Mary Hajduk wasn’t permitted to access TLP’s computers. The judge added that TPL was inconsistent in statements, on one hand saying Mary Hajduk did not have “signature authority” over the company’s banking accounts, but on the other saying she was responsible for the company’s business operations.
“The focus of a CFAA claim is on what the defendant was authorized to access on a protected computer,” Bissoon wrote, adding that TPL “...fails to address any boundaries of Mrs. Hajduk’s computer access from which the court could infer the extent of her authorized computer access.”
“The allegations were weak with very little evidence against my client,” Kovach said, adding that she’s pleased with the outcome of the lawsuit and that she had faith that the system would work in Mary Hajduk’s favor.
Bissoon also agreed with the arguments that the claims were brought against Mary Hajduk beyond the statute of limitations to do so.
“The key to it is that the claims should have been brought to a divorce action, in my opinion,” Davis said. He emphasized that the decision showed Mary Hajduk committed no fraudulent acts. “I didn’t think this was a federal case when I first reviewed it, and clearly a U.S. district judge agreed.”
“Lawrence Hajduk will have to have his divorce litigated like everyone else,” Kovach said. “It was a backdoor way to do it, and it wasn’t successful.”
Bissoon dismissed the CFAA claim with prejudice and the remainder of the counts in the suit were dismissed without prejudice, meaning those counts could be refilled in the future.