Articles Posted in Family Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of a petition pursuant to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction seeking the return of three children from New York to Thailand. The court held that the Convention does not enter into force until a ratifying state accepts an acceding state's accession and that Article 35 limits the Convention's application to removals and retentions taking place after the Convention has entered into force between the two states involved. Therefore, because the Convention did not enter into force between the United States and Thailand until April 1, 2016, after the allegedly wrongful retention of the children in New York on October 7, 2015, the Convention does not apply to petitioner's claim and the district court did not err in dismissing his petition. View "Marks v. Hochhauser" on Justia Law

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New York's intestacy law, as it existed in 2013 at the time of the agency's final determination, did not permit children conceived posthumously to inherit via intestacy. In this case, plaintiff had conceived twins via in vitro fertilization eleven years after her husband, the donor spouse, died. Plaintiff filed applications for child's survivors' benefits, based on her husband's earnings history, with the Social Security Administration. The Second Circuit held that, under the applicable provisions of New York's Estates, Powers and Trusts Law (EPTL) in effect at and prior to the time of the agency's final decision, the twins were not entitled to inherit from the decedent in intestacy. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's denial of benefits. View "MacNeil v. Berryhill" on Justia Law

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The notice of termination itself constitutes an adverse employment action, even when the employer later rescinds the termination. The Second Circuit held that plaintiff's notice of termination in this case was itself an adverse employment action, despite its later revocation; likewise, the court saw no reason to construe plaintiff's Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) claim differently from her Title VII claim with respect to whether the rescission of a notice of termination given to a pregnant employee establishes as a matter of law that the notice may not constitute an adverse employment action; the facts alleged were insufficient to establish constructive discharge nor a hostile work environment; plaintiff's retaliation claim was properly dismissed; and because plaintiff did state a plausible claim of discriminatory termination, and interference with her FMLA rights, the district court should reconsider on remand its decision to decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the state and city law claims. Accordingly, the court vacated in part and remanded, and affirmed in all other respects. View "Shultz v. Shearith" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit vacated the district court's judgment in favor of defendants, agreeing with plaintiff that the district court wrongly instructed the jury that "but for" causation applied to Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) claims. The court held that FMLA retaliation claims of the sort plaintiff brought here were grounded in 29 U.S.C. 2615(a)(1) and a "motivating factor" causation standard applied to those claims. The court also held that the district court exceeded the bounds of its discretion in admitting and permitting the adverse inferences to be drawn in this case. Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "Woods v. START Treatment & Recovery Centers" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against the Hospital under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), 29 U.S.C. 2601 et seq., alleging that the Hospital terminated her illegally for taking medical leave to which she was entitled under the terms of the Act. The DC Circuit vacated the district court's grant of summary judgment to the hospital, holding that the district court erred in determining that plaintiff cannot, as a matter of law, establish a "serious health condition" under 14 C.F.R. 825.115(e)(2), but correctly concluded that the Hospital was not estopped from challenging whether plaintiff established the elements of her FMLA interference claim. Because the Hospital failed to show entitlement to summary judgment on plaintiff's right to leave under section 825.115(e)(2), the Hospital's entitlement to summary judgment turns on the adequacy of plaintiff's notice. Therefore, the court remanded for the district court to make this determination. View "Pollard v. The New York Methodist Hospital" on Justia 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