Articles Posted in Family Law

by
The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court ruling that the Alabama Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act “constitutes an undue burden on abortion access and is unconstitutional” and granting as-applied injunctive relief to Plaintiffs, holding that, under Supreme Court precedent, the Act is unconstitutional. At issue was a method of abortion referred to as dilation and evacuation, or dismemberment abortion, which involves tearing apart and extracting piece-by-piece from the uterus, at the fifteen to eighteen week stage of development, what was until then a living unborn child. The State sought to make the procedure more humane by enacting the Act, which required the one performing the abortion to kill the unborn child before ripping apart its body during the extraction. See Ala. Code 26-23G-2(3). Plaintiffs brought this complaint claiming that the Act was unconstitutional on its face. The district court ruled that the Act was unconstitutional because it would place substantial obstacles before women seeking pre-viability abortions. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed after applying the undue burden test, holding (1) the methods of fetal demise that the State proposed were not safe, effective, or available; and (2) neither the Act’s health exception nor its intent requirement saves the Act. View "West Alabama Women's Center v. Miller" on Justia Law

by
The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment in favor of petitioner in an action under the International Child Abduction Remedies Act to recover fees and costs. The court held that respondent failed to establish under the Act that an award of necessary expenses could be clearly inappropriate. In this case, the record developed on the merits of the wrongful removal petition was replete with evidence contradicting respondent's good faith argument. Therefore, the court affirmed the award of attorney fees, costs and expenses in the total amount of $89,490.26. View "Rath v. Marcoski" on Justia Law

by
The money that a homosexual man paid to father children through in vitro fertilization—and in particular, to identify, retain, compensate, and care for the women who served as an egg donor and a gestational surrogate—was not spent "for the purpose of affecting" his body's reproductive "function" within the meaning of I.R.C. 213. In this case, the Eleventh Circuit held that it was constrained by I.R.C. 213's plain language where taxpayer's own function within the human reproductive process was to produce and provide healthy sperm, and because taxpayer was and remained capable of performing that function without the aid of IVF-related treatments, those treatments did not affect any function of his body and did not qualify as deductible "medical care" within the meaning of Section 213(a). The court also held that the IRS's disallowance of taxpayer's claimed deduction neither violated any fundamental right nor discriminated on the basis of any suspect (or quasi-suspect) characteristic. View "Morrissey v. United States" on Justia Law

by
The plain reading of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) covers discrimination against breastfeeding mothers. Plaintiff filed suit against the police department under the PDA and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) after her reassignment and constructive discharge. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the jury verdict in favor of plaintiff and held that there was sufficient evidence of intentional discrimination when plaintiff was reassigned from the narcotics task force to the patrol division; the denial of accommodations for a breastfeeding employee violated the PDA when it amounted to a constructive discharge; a reasonable person in plaintiff's position would have felt compelled to resign; and the City's remaining arguments were unavailing. View "Hicks v. Tuscaloosa, Alabama" on Justia Law

by
Defendant filed suit against his former employer under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), 29 U.S.C. 2601-2654, alleging that the employer interfered with the exercise of his FMLA rights and later retaliated against him for asserting those rights. The district court granted summary judgment for the employer. Because plaintiff likely waived his FMLA right to reinstatement by taking an additional 30 days of medical leave, because he failed to submit a fitness-for-duty certification by the end of his FMLA leave, and because the record was devoid of proof challenging the employer's contention that its fitness-for-duty certification policy was implemented in a uniform fashion, plaintiff lost the right to be reinstated after failing to comply with this policy. Therefore, the court concluded that plaintiff failed to show that he was denied a benefit to which he was entitled under the FMLA, and the district court properly granted summary judgment as to the interference claim. The court affirmed as to this claim. The court held that temporal proximity, for the purpose of establishing the causation prong of a prima facie case of FMLA retaliation, should be measured from the last day of an employee's FMLA leave until the adverse employment action at issue occurs. In this case, plaintiff has met his burden of raising a genuine dispute as to whether his taking of FMLA leave and his termination were casually related. Therefore, the court reversed the judgment as to the retaliation claim and remanded for further proceedings. View "Jones v. Gulf Coast Health Care of Delaware, LLC" on Justia Law

by
After ending their marriage, Ex-Wife and Ex-Husband commenced proceedings in the Moscow Court for division of marital assets. In the Russian Dispute, Ex-Wife claimed that Ex-Husband was concealing and dissipating marital assets through and with the assistance of “offshore companies” around the world. In the United States, Ex-Wife sought information from Gabriella Pugh and her employer in Atlanta, Georgia - Trident - that she expected would reveal Ex-Husband’s beneficial ownership of Bahamian corporation, Tripleton. On referral, the Magistrate Judge granted Ex-Wife's ex parte Application for Judicial Assistance and authorized service of two subpoenas. In these consolidated appeals, Trident challenges the district court's order allowing discovery pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1782 (Appeal No. 15-13008 (“First Appeal”)) and imposing contempt sanctions (Appeal No. 15-15066 (“Second Appeal”)). The court agreed with the district court that the location of responsive documents and electronically stored information - to the extent a physical location can be discerned in this digital age - does not establish a per se bar to discovery under section 1782; having rejected the Extraterritoriality Argument, the court agreed with the district court that significant “circumstantial evidence” established that Trident Atlanta had “control” over responsive documents in the physical possession or custody of Trident Bahamas; and therefore the court affirmed as to the First Appeal. The court rejected Trident Atlanta's frivolous jurisdictional argument; the Contempt Order is supported by the evidence; and therefore the court affirmed the Second Appeal. View "Sergeeva v. Tripleton Int'l Ltd." on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff, M.N.'s mother, made several threats against M.N.'s father during a contentious custody battle in Venezuela. At issue is whether significant threats and violence directed against a parent can constitute a grave risk of harm to a child under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction through the International Child Abduction Remedies Act of 1988 (ICARA), 22 U.S.C. 9001–9011. The district court ruled that, although plaintiff had made a prima facie case for return by showing that M.N. had been wrongfully removed from Venezuela, return would be inappropriate because an exception to the Convention applied where the district court found by clear and convincing evidence that there is a grave risk that M.N.’s return to Venezuela would expose her to physical or psychological harm. The court held that the district court correctly found that the grave risk of harm exception to the Convention applied in this case. Here, although a pattern of threats and violence was not directed specifically at M.N., serious threats and violence directed against a child’s parent can, and in this case did, nevertheless pose a grave risk of harm to the child. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Gomez v. Fuenmayor" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

by
Plaintiff filed suit against Beltram, her former employer, claiming that it interfered with her rights under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), 29 U.S.C. 2631-2636, by firing her instead of giving her medical leave. The district court dismissed plaintiff's interference claim and declined to consider her two alternative causes of action. Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to plaintiff, the court concluded that there are disputes of fact about whether plaintiff suffered from a serious health condition; she gave proper notice to Beltram of her need for FMLA leave; and her doctor’s initial estimate that she would need more than twelve weeks of leave disqualified her from FMLA leave. The court further concluded that the district court properly dismissed the first cause of action alleging that Beltram failed to give proper notice to employees about their rights and obligations under the FMLA, but erred in dismissing the second cause of action alleging retaliation against plaintiff for exercising her FMLA rights where plaintiff's allegation that Beltram terminated her for taking leave put Beltram on notice that she was stating a retaliation cause of action. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded. View "White v. Beltram Edge Tool Supply, Inc." on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff filed suit against the School District, her former employer, for violations of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), 29 U.S.C. 2601 et seq., and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), 42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq. The court held that the School District is not an "arm of the State," and instead operates more like a county or similar political subdivision to which Eleventh Amendment immunity does not extend. Therefore, the court reversed the district court's finding that the School District was entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity. In regards to plaintiff's ADA retaliation claim, the court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to the School District where the district court did not abuse its discretion by declining to construe plaintiff's ADA retaliation claim as being based on different facts than the ones actually pled in her ADA count. Even when construed liberally, plaintiff's complaint did not give the School District notice that her ADA retaliation claim was based on her request for FMLA leave. View "Lightfoot v. Henry Cnty. Sch. Dist." on Justia Law

by
Wife filed suit against husband under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, TIAS No. 11670, S Treaty Doc. No. 99-11, as implemented by the International Child Abduction Remedies Act (ICARA), 42 U.S.C. 11601 et seq., after husband removed their four children from Mexico to the United States. The district court concluded that the habitual residence of the children at the time of the abduction was in Mexico. Further, the children were wrongfully removed in violation of wife's right of custody under Mexican law. Wife enjoyed rights of custody under Mexican law and she was actively exercising those rights at the time of the children's abduction. Therefore, the district court ordered the children returned to the United States. Determining that it had jurisdiction, the court concluded that there was no clear error in the district court's factual findings and, after de novo review of the district court's conclusions of law resulting in the grant of wife's petition, the court found no error of law in that result. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court.View "Seaman v. Peterson" on Justia Law