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April 1, 2019

Latest Appeals Case Update: Thank you, Pillsbury For All Your Help!

DV LEAP is delighted to announce a favorable outcome on appeal in another international parental abduction case in which the mother fled an abusive father. DV LEAP, in partnership with our friends at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, submitted a friend-of-the-court (amicus) brief in support of the mother. The Ninth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals ruled that the district court's order allowing the mother and daughter to remain together in the U.S. was appropriate.

We are grateful for Bruce Ericson, Alton Hare, Michael Heins, Kecia Reynolds, and Matthew Stephens from Pillsbury for their dedicated work over the winter holidays to make our brief a topnotch portrayal of how domestic violence is harmful to children even when they have not been directly abused.

A special congratulations goes to both the mother and her deeply committed counsel, David Yohannen, at Quarles & Brady LLP, for protecting their lower court win in the 9th Circuit!

Background on the case:

The legal issue here was whether Ms. Baffoe, mother of a son and daughter, had wrongfully retrieved her son from the abusive father in Canada and returned with him and her daughter to the U.S. The father sued for return of the boy under the Hague Abduction Convention – the question was what the “habitual residence” was for both children, who had been living separately in the U.S. and Canada, due to the abusive father’s wrongful refusal to return the son after a visit.  

Ms. Baffoe had been the victim of extensive DV by the father of her children.  Our amicus brief did a great job of explaining why a history of adult DV is relevant to the safety and welfare of children in a custody context, and also demonstrating how the father’s DV had resulted in an illegitimate “habitual residence” for the son.

The father appealed first – and the mother cross-appealed.  Her main concern was not to lose her daughter after the District Court had let her keep her.


You can read the 9th Circuit Court's opinion here: https://law.justia.com/…/…/18-16658/18-16658-2019-03-20.html
You can read DV LEAP's amicus brief here: https://drive.google.com/…/0B7xVX31_UGDFVW5GdjVSYWFrdz…/view

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