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TMZ reports that a stalker who has been harassing Jennifer Lopez and her family for years is now legally permitted to be near her. It's an embarrassing and dangerous situation caused entirely by her security team being unaware of the relevant laws.

Lopez previously had a temporary restraining order against Tim McLanahan, a transient who has been following her between Las Vegas and LA and sending her unsolicited gifts, but it expired. She sought a permanent order, but her team was unable to locate McLanahan to serve him with legal documents. They neglected to show up in court on Tuesday, because they felt there would be no point. As a result, a judge dismissed Lopez's case.

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#Repost @egt239 ・・・ My view from 35,000 feet. No glam. No filter. No worries. #motherlove @jlo

A post shared by Jennifer Lopez (@jlo) on

The irony is that the judge could have helped them. There's an official process for cases like this, in which a person who is unable to be located can be legally "served" by publishing a notice in a legal newspaper. TMZ's lawyers believe that if this had been done, the permanent restraining order would easily have been granted.

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J. Lo isn't giving up, and her lawyers are currently seeking new avenues to protect her. But they might want to work more closely with the security team in the future. Just to avoid more potentially catastrophic oopsies like this one.