Articles Posted in Family Law

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Father, a citizen of Israel, petitioned for return of the child under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, as implemented by the International Child Abduction Remedies Act (ICARA), 22 U.S.C. 9001-9011. The Eighth Circuit held that the district court did not err in finding that the child's habitual residence was the United States, and thus the retention of the child was not wrongful within the meaning of the Convention. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Cohen v. Cohen" on Justia Law

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Torres are the parents of M. and G. who were born and resided in Peru until Torres removed them to the United States. Custodio seeks return of the children to Peru under the Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Convention), Oct. 25, 1980, T.I.A.S. No. 11,670, 1343 U.N.T.S. 89, and its implementing statute, the International Child Abduction Remedies Act (ICARA), 22 U.S.C. 9001–11. The district court denied Custodio's petition. Because M. turned 16 during the pendency of these proceedings, the court concluded that the Hague Convention no longer applies to him and dismissed as moot the appeal as to M. The court also concluded that the district court did not clearly err in finding that G.’s statements constituted an objection within the meaning of the mature child defense. Finally, the court concluded that the district court’s decision to respect 15-year-old G.’s opposition to returning to Peru and desire to remain in the United States was not an abuse of discretion. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's judgment as to G. View "Custodio v. Torres Samillan" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against ASB, claiming wrongful interference with his rights under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), 26 U.S.C. 2601 et seq. The court concluded that the district court did not clearly err in its factual determination that, at the time ASB fired him, plaintiff’s back condition met the objective criteria of a chronic condition; the district court acted well within its discretion in awarding liquidated damages to plaintiff where the district court found that ASB knew plaintiff was attempting to take FMLA leave, but fired him before it even received, let alone reviewed, plaintiff’s application for FMLA leave; and the court rejected ASB's challenges to the award of attorney's fees and concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion in declining to exclude any evidence of plaintiff’s attorney’s fees, the district court did not abuse its discretion in declining to apply judicial estoppel to the facts of this case, and the district court did not abuse its discretion in not limiting the attorney's fees. In regard to plaintiff's cross-appeal, the court concluded that the district court's finding that ASB met its burden to prove that plaintiff was released from jail on July 20, 2011, was clearly erroneous under the after-acquired evidence doctrine. Accordingly, the court vacated and remanded. View "Smith v. AS America, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, formerly employed at UICSM as a physician assistant, filed suit alleging violations of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), 29 U.S.C. 2601. The district court granted summary judgment to UICSM. The court noted that 29 C.F.R. 825.311(a) inarguably permitted UICMS to contact plaintiff to inquire about her "status and intent to return to work." The court concluded that UICMS was entitled to summary judgment on plaintiff's interference claim where plaintiff has not presented evidence that UICMS's requests for her to work from home when she had a broken foot were a condition of her employment nor that her compliance with them was anything but voluntary. The evidence does not permit a reasonable jury to find that UICMS interfered with plaintiff's right to FMLA leave. In regard to plaintiff's discrimination claim, the court concluded that the sequence of events alone does not give rise to a causal link between UICMS's alleged discriminatory motive and its decision not to renew plaintiff's contract strong enough to permit her to forgo the burden-shifting framework; applying the McDonnell Douglas framework, the court concluded that UICMS has proffered plaintiff's tardy charting as a nondiscriminatory justification for deciding not to renew her contract; and plaintiff has not created a dispute as to pretext. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Massey-Diez v. UICMS" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against his employer, BATO, alleging that BATO violated his rights under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), 29 U.S.C. 2601. The district court ruled in favor of BATO on plaintiff's FMLA discrimination, retaliation, and harassment claims, but ruled in favor of plaintiff on his FMLA interference claim. On appeal, BATO challenged the district court's grant of summary judgment to plaintiff. Plaintiff cross-appealed regarding attorneys' fees and expenses. Based on BATO's overtime procedure, case law, and the statutory language, legislative history, and implementing regulations of the FMLA, the court concluded that plaintiff's overtime hours were mandatory. Therefore, hours missed for FMLA-qualifying reasons were correctly deducted from plaintiff's FMLA leave entitlement. By scheduling mandatory overtime hours that were not included in plaintiff's FMLA-leave allotment and yet were deducted from his FMLA entitlement when he missed an overtime shift, BATO denied plaintiff FMLA benefits to which he was entitled. In regard to plaintiff's cross-appeal, the court rejected plaintiff's claims that the district court erred when it reduced plaintiff's recoverable fees for lack of success on some of his claims; that the district court erred when it reduced his recoverable expenses by 20%; and that the district court erred when it excluded costs for computerized legal research. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Hernandez v. Bridgestone Americas Tire" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), 29 U.S.C. 2601 et seq., alleging that her former employer, Mosaic, interfered with her FMLA rights and terminated her employment in violation of public policy. The district court granted summary judgment for Mosaic. The court concluded that because plaintiff exhausted her FMLA benefits, she had not been denied any entitlement under the statute. The court agreed with the district court that plaintiff failed to make a submissible case of FMLA discrimination. In this case, there is insufficient evidence to support a finding that plaintiff was able to return to work even if Mosaic had maintained what she viewed as a welcoming environment; plaintiff has not presented evidence of any tangible loss actually incurred and directly caused by her one-month suspension; plaintiff's alleged mistreatment are not actions that will deter reasonable employees from exercising their FMLA rights and are therefore not actionable under the statute; and where, as here, the employee presents insufficient evidence to show that she was discharged in violation of the FMLA, her termination does not undermine a clearly defined public policy, and Iowa law does not provide a separate cause of action based on the tort of wrongful discharge. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Hasenwinkel v. Mosaic" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs are same-sex couples seeking to marry in Arkansas, South Dakota, or Nebraska or to have their marriage in another state recognized in those states. They also sought state benefits incident to marriage. The district court granted Plaintiffs summary judgment, finding that state laws denying them the right to marry violate the U.S. Constitution’s guarantees of due process and equal protection. While the appeal was pending, the Supreme Court decided Obergefell v. Hodges, (2015), abrogating Citizens for Equal Protection v. Bruning (2006). The Eighth Circuit affirmed. The challenged laws are unconstitutional. As Obergefell concluded: [T]he right to marry is a fundamental right inherent in the liberty of the person, and under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment couples of the same-sex may not be deprived of that right and that liberty. View "Waters v. Ricketts" on Justia Law

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Bailey was convicted of federal prostitution charges in 2004. Minneapolis police officers took trial exhibits to a locked police storage facility, including $2,036 in cash, a wallet, and a cell phone. Years later Bailey moved for return of the property, but the government could not locate it. Bailey sought damages. The government agreed to pay Bailey $2,500 "by a check . . . made payable to Robert Bailey" to be mailed to the address of his lawyer. The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services notified Bailey that he owed past due support of $45,956.48 and announced the state's "intent to collect this amount through the federal administrative offset process and by withholding . . . [tax refunds] or other federal or state payment(s)." The notice cited 31 U.S.C. 3716, indicating that "certain federal payments which might otherwise be paid to you will be intercepted for payment of current and past due support." It advised Bailey of his rights, such as having the debt redetermined. Bailey unsuccessfully moved to vacate his settlement agreement. He was advised that the $2,500 had been administratively offset against his child support obligation. The Eighth Circuit affirmed; the government did not breach Bailey's settlement agreement View "United States v. Bailey" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, a pathologist, filed suit against Avera, alleging that Avera violated federal and state laws for terminating a Services Agreement. Plaintiff filed suit under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq.; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), 29 U.S.C. 621 et seq.; the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), 29 U.S.C. 2617 et seq.; and the South Dakota Human Relations Act (SDHRA), S.D. Codified Laws 20-13-1 et seq. The court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment dismissing all of plaintiff's claims because plaintiff was an independent contractor of St. Luke's Hospital under his Services Agreement and not an employee.View "Alexander v. Avera St. Luke's Hospital" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against her former employer, Novo, and former superivisor at Novo, alleging that Novo terminated her in violation of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), 29 U.S.C. 2601 et seq. The court concluded that plaintiff could not establish that defendants acted with discriminatory animus against plaintiff for taking FMLA leave. Applying the McDonnell Douglas burden-shifting framework, the court concluded that plaintiff could not demonstrate pretext; plaintiff did not adduce enough evidence to rebut Novo's legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for her termination; and, therefore, plaintiff has not produced sufficient probative evidence that her termination was the result of unlawful FMLA retaliation. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to defendants. View "Ebersole v. Novo Nordisk, Inc., et al." on Justia Law