Articles Posted in Family Law

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Plaintiff filed suit under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA), 29 U.S.C. 2601 et seq., against his employer, MCU, after he was denied leave to take care of his seriously ill grandfather who, in loco parentis, had raised him as a child. The district court granted MCU's motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint. The district court reasoned that, although the FMLA provides that an eligible employee may be entitled to take leave in order to care for a person with whom he had an in loco parentis relationship as a child, plaintiff had informed MCU merely that he needed to take care of his grandfather without informing MCU of the in loco parentis relationship. The court concluded that the district court erred in granting summary judgment to MCU on the basis that plaintiff had failed to provide the necessary information, given MCU's denial of plaintiff's request without requesting additional information; vacated the judgment and remanded for further proceedings; rejected MCU's contention that the district court's dismissal of the complaint can be upheld on other grounds; and rejected plaintiff's request that the court order the grant of partial summary judgment on the issue of liability in his favor. View "Coutard v. Municipal Credit Union" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against MTBank, alleging violations of various state and federal statues by not allowing her to work remotely when she became pregnant. The magistrate judge ruled as a matter of law against plaintiff on a number of claims and the jury found for MTBank on the remaining claims. The court held that the district court abused its discretion in admitting evidence of the reinstatement offer because the offer was, as a matter of law, not unconditional; the district court erred in sua sponte disqualifying the attorneys for both parties, because the disqualification depended on the erroneous admission of evidence relating to the reinstatement offer; the jury instructions were not erroneous; and the court lacked jurisdiction over plaintiff's challenge to the district court's New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL), N.Y. Exec. Law 290 et seq., ruling. Accordingly, the court vacated in part in regard to the jury's verdict and the disqualification order, dismissed in part in regard to claims under the NYSHRL, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Jia Sheng v. MTBank Corp." on Justia Law

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The district court granted petitioner's request for the return of his son, the son whose custody he and respondent shared in Singapore, and the court affirmed. In this appeal, petitioner seeks an order directing respondent to pay the necessary expenses related to his successful petition under the International Child Abduction Remedies Act (ICARA), 22 U.S.C. 9007(b)(3). The district court ordered respondent to pay petitioner $283,066.62. The court concluded that the record demonstrated that petitioner committed intimate partner violence against respondent and respondent did not commit any violence against petitioner. Although the district court was correct in considering this unilateral intimate partner violence as a relevant equitable factor, the district court erred in its assessment of the relationship between the intimate partner violence and respondent's decision to remove the child from the country of habitual residence and thus erred in its weighing of the equitable factors. Because respondent established that petitioner had committed multiple, unilateral acts of intimate partner violence against her, and that her removal of the child from the habitual country was related to that violence, an award of expenses to petitioner, given the absence of countervailing equitable factors, is clearly inappropriate. Accordingly, the court reversed and vacated. View "Souratgar v. Fair" on Justia Law

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After plaintiff was terminated for taking time off work to care for her sons, plaintiff filed suit against the CIA and two of her supervisors under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), 29 U.S.C. 2601 et seq., and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. 12112(b)(4), alleging that she had been wrongfully denied leave, retaliated against for taking leave, and discriminated against on the basis of her association with a disabled individual. The district court granted summary judgment to defendants on all claims. The court concluded that a rational jury could find that Shaynan Garrioch, CIA's Director of Human Resources, exercised sufficient control over plaintiff's employment to be subject to liability under the FMLA and the court vacated the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's FMLA claims against her; plaintiff has presented sufficient evidence to present genuine disputes of material fact in regard to her interference and retaliation claims under the FMLA; but, in regard to plaintiff's ADA claim, she failed to present evidence that she was fired because her employer suspected distraction or concern for her son would cause her to perform her work inadequately. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Graziadio v. Culinary Inst. of America" on Justia Law

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Petitioner, a citizen of the United Kingdom who resides in Northern Ireland, appealed from the denial of her petition filed under the International Child Abduction Remedies Act (ICARA), 22 U.S.C. 9001 et seq. Respondents filed a motion to dismiss the appeal as moot, claiming that a New York court's custody determination resolved the parties dispute. The court denied the motion to dismiss where holding that the petition is moot because respondents received a favorable custody determination in a potentially friendlier New York court could encourage the jurisdictional gerrymandering that the Hague Convention was designed to prevent. View "Tann v. Bennett" on Justia Law

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Reverend Flesher participated in benefits plans administered by the Ministers and Missionaries Benefit Board (MMBB), a New York not‐for‐profit corporation. Flesher entered into the plans while married to Snow. Snow, also a reverend and MMBB policyholder, was listed as the primary beneficiary on both of Flesher’s plans. Snow’s father was the contingent beneficiary. When Flesher and Snow divorced in 2008 they signed a Marital Settlement Agreement; each agreed to relinquish rights to inherit from the other and was allowed to change the beneficiaries on their respective MMBB plans. Flesher, then domiciled in Colorado, died in 2011 without changing his beneficiaries. MMBB , unable to determine how to distribute the funds, and filed an interpleader suit. The district court discharged MMBB from liability, applied New York law, and held that Flesher’s estate was entitled to the funds. The Second Circuit certified to the New York Court of Appeals the question: whether a governing‐law provision that states that the contract will be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of New York, in a contract not consummated pursuant to New York General Obligations Law 5‐1401, requires the application of New York Estates, Powers & Trusts Law 3‐5.1(b)(2), which may, in turn, require application of the law of another state. View "Ministers & Missionaries Benefit Bd. v. Snow" on Justia Law

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Petitioner, an Italian citizen, sought the return of his two sons from the United States from their Italian citizen mother under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, T.A.S. No. 11, 670, 1343 U.N.T.S. 89, as implemented in the United States by the International Child Abduction Remedies Act, 42 U.S.C. 11601-10. The court affirmed the district court's holding that returning the children would pose a grave risk of harm under Article 13(b) to one of the sons, who has severe autism, and that separating the siblings would pose a grave risk of harm to both of them. The court held, however, that the district court's decision to deny the petition without prejudice to renewal was error and amended the judgment to deny the petition with prejudice. View "Ermini v. Vittori" on Justia Law

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Petitioner, a citizen of Vietnam, sought review of an order of the BIA dismissing her appeal from a decision of the IJ, which ordered her removed and denied her petition to remove conditions placed upon her residency in the United States. The USCIS denied the petition after finding that petitioner was her husband's half-niece, concluding that the marriage was incestuous and therefore void. The court affirmed the IJ's factual determination that petitioner and her husband were related as half-blooded niece and uncle. The court certified to the New York Court of Appeals the issue of whether such relationships were void for incest under New York's Domestic Relations Law, N.Y. Dom. Rel. Law 5(2). View "Nguyen v. Holder" on Justia Law

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Respondent, the mother, appealed the district court's grant of petitioner's, the father, petition for the return of his daughter from New York to New Zealand under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, T.I.A.S. No. 11,670, 1343 U.N.T.S. 90, and its implementing legislation, the International Child Abduction Remedies Act, 42 U.S.C. 11601 et seq. The court held that New Zealand was the daughter's habitual residence immediately prior to her removal to New York; petitioner had some custody rights to the daughter and did not consent to the mother taking her to New York indefinitely; the daughter had not "acclimated" to life in New York such that it was the equivalent of a new habitual residence; and the district court should determine, in the first instance, whether to order respondent to pay petitioner the costs associated with bringing this action in the district court and on appeal. View "Hollis v. O'Driscoll" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, on behalf of herself and her three children, filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983 against defendants, alleging that the removal of the children from plaintiff's home without a court order violated their rights to due process of law and to freedom from unreasonable seizures. The court held that the state official who takes a child into custody without parental consent or court order was entitled to qualified immunity if there was an objectively reasonable basis to believe that there was an imminent threat of harm to the child. Based upon the evidence in the record - including the history of domestic violence between plaintiff and the children's father, the violation of the protective order, and the Superior Court's finding that the children were in immediate physical danger - defendants' decision to take the children into state custody was objectively reasonable. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to defendants based upon qualified immunity. View "Doe v. Whelan" on Justia Law