A probate and family court judge's swearing-in ceremony was briefly disrupted yesterday when a woman apparently protesting a recent court decision fell from a second-floor balcony onto a staircase, landing in front of Governor Deval Patrick and other dignitaries.
The governor was ushered to another room while the woman was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital with serious injuries. The ceremony later continued in an abbreviated form.
Police would not identify the woman last night, but a state government source said she is Yong Li. A man reached by phone in Sudbury who identified himself yesterday as Li's husband said she was to undergo surgery last night and was in serious condition.
He said she worked at Raytheon Co. The suit she was believed to have been protesting involved the defense contractor.
The fall occurred about 4:24 p.m. in the Great Hall in the John Adams Courthouse, the headquarters of the state judiciary system and home to the state Supreme Judicial and Appeals courts.
Patrick was there to administer the oath of office to Maureen Monks, a Cambridge lawyer, as a Middlesex Probate and Family Court judge when Li climbed the stairs to the balcony and displayed a large banner that referred to a court case she had filed against Raytheon, with the words "fraud ruling" and "injustice," state officials said.
Kyle Sullivan, a spokesman for the governor, would say yesterday only that, "it was an unfortunate and regrettable incident."
Li has filed multiple civil suits alleging discrimination by Raytheon Co. and other defendants, including an employee assistance professional, and she took one case all the way to the Supreme Judicial Court, court records show.
She also filed a lawsuit in federal court, alleging that she was discriminated against and harassed by a co-worker after a disagreement over a work project and that her supervisors did nothing.
She also said she was frightened for her safety, court records indicate.
Li represented herself in court. According to court records, she was born in China and worked at Raytheon as a software engineer from 1998 to 2004, before going on medical leave.