UPDATE: Lawsuit dismissed.
A Chelsea family who claims reporter Michele McPhee ruined their lives by linking them to Dzokhar Tsarnaev and Islamic jihadists after the Boston Marathon bombings has sued McPhee, media outlets that picked up her account and a noted Islamaphobe in federal court.
In the lawsuit, filed this week in US District Court in Boston, the Umarov family is seeking $5 million in compensation and another $100 million in punitive damages from the defendants, who also include ABC News, the New York Daily News, the UK's Daily Mail and Pamela Geller.
At issues is a report McPhee did for ABC News almost a year after the Marathon bombings, in which she cited unnamed federal sources as being concerned about the family's alleged links to Dzokhar Tsarnaev and to Islamic jihad.
Family members say it's all untrue and that since the article's publication - and the appearance of reports based on it elsewhere - the family has been unable to move on with their lives or get jobs, because the articles are the first things that show up in online searches on the family name.
Upon learning of the bombing and discovering the identity of the bombers, the Umarovs contacted the Chelsea Police Department. They met with the Chief ofPolice, Brian Kyes, to offer any assistance they could with the investigation.
Soon afterward, the FBI contacted Hawa and asked to speak with the entire family. The FBI requested their cooperation with the investigation, and the Umarovs agreed.
The Umarovs traveled to Chechnya as planned.
While in Chechnya, Heda met a man, and with approval ofher parents, stayed in Chechnya to pursue a relationship with him.
In the fall of 2013, McPhee began coming to the Umarovs' residence and demanding interviews.
The Umarovs refused all of her demands on the advice of the FBI.
McPhee continued coming to the Umarovs' residence at all hours of day and night, ringing the bell, harassing all persons coming into or out of the building, and shouting through the Umarovs' door to them.
McPhee told Hamzat that if he did not give an interview, he would be "sorry," or words to that effect.
Hamzat continued to decline an interview.
McPhee then traveled to Adam and Junes' school, MCLA, in North Adams, three hours away. After hearing of her behavior toward the rest of their family, the brothers felt it necessary to leave school while she was there.
The suit says that the Heda Umarov was not friends with the younger Tsarnaev and that she did not set up the Russian social-media page McPhee cited as showing jihadists with guns - that Heda Umarov is a common name in the Caucasus. And the man Heda was interested in dumped her because of the articles.