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It's Been 10 Years Since Massachusetts Legalized Gay Marriage

On November 18, 2003, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts propelled the state into making history: Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage.

This week marks the ten-year anniversary of the court's historic decision in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health. What a difference a day decade makes.

Lisandro Patrick just lived out every parent's worst nightmare. After moving his wife and child to the United Kingdom from Puerto Rico, his wife absconded with the child and returned home.

Interstate custody disputes are difficult enough, but international? That's a whole different league of nasty, as Patrick would soon find out. The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of Child Abduction, along with a number of British and Puerto Rican laws, all intermingle to complicate the case. This doesn't even address the practical aspects, like finding and paying for counsel.

Taxes, Res Judicata, Innocent Spouse Relief and the First Circuit

Innocent spouse relief is one of the more interesting areas of tax law.

Earlier this week, First Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a tax court’s ruling in a case involving a tax liability based on the innocent spouse statute.

Charalambous v. Charalambous, 10-2227

A Father's petition for the return of his children to Cyprus under the Hague Convention

Charalambous v. Charalambous, 10-2227, concerned a challenge to the district court's holding that there was not clear and convincing evidence of a grave risk of harm to the children and that the Convention required their return, in a father's petition for the return of his two children to Cyprus pursuant to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

 

In re Hundley, No. 09-1899, concerned a dispute over ownership of a tax refund between a non-debtor spouse and the trustee of husband's bankruptcy estate, involving a question of whether a non-debtor spouse is entitled to a portion of a pre-petition tax refund, where the couple filed a joint return and the non-debtor spouse earned no income for the tax year for which the return was filed.  However, because there is no controlling statute or precedents on the issue, the matter is certified to the Massachusetts Supreme Court. 

Nicolson v. Pappalardo, No. 10-1125, involved a father's petition seeking return of his daughter to Australia, claiming under the Hague Convention that the child's mother had wrongfully retained the child in the U.S.  In affirming the district court's judgment in favor of the father, the court held that there is no clear and unequivocal expression of an agreement by the father to have final custody determined in a Maine court, nor are there any convincing written renunciation of his rights to this effect. 

Related Resources:

J.R. v. Gloria, No. 09-1404

In plaintiffs' action raising substantive due process claims under 42 U.S.C. section 1983 and state law claims under Rhode Island negligence law for damages against two state employees of the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF), grant of judgment as a matter of law to the defendants under Rule 50(a) is affirmed as the district court properly granted defendants qualified immunity on the section 1983 action and judgment for defendants pursuant to state sovereign immunity and qualified immunity defenses under Rhode Island state law.  

Read J.R. v. Gloria, No. 09-1404

Appellate Information

Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island

Decided January 27, 2010

Judges

Before:  Lynch, Chief Judge, Lipez and Howard, Circuit Judges

Opinion by  Lynch, Chief Judge

Counsel

For Appellant:  Thomas L. Mirza and Pelletier & Mirza, LLP

For Appellee:    Genevieve M. Allaire Johnson, Special Assistant Attorney General, Patrick C. Lynch, Attorney General

Miller v. Nichols, No. 09-1174

In plaintiffs' constitutional challenge to the state's removal of their child after termination proceedings and motion for injunctive relief to prevent a foster family's adoption of the child, district court's dismissal of their case is affirmed where: 1) the district court correctly determined that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction to review plaintiffs' motion for injunctive relief to prevent the child's adoption pursuant to the Rooker-Feldman doctrine; and 2) the factual issues underlying plaintiffs' claims were addressed by the state court and are barred by issue preclusion.  

Read Miller v. Nichols, No. 09-1174

Appellate Information

Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Maine

Decided November 4, 2009

Judges

Before:  Lynch, Chief Judge, Torruella and Boudin, Circuit Judges

Opinion by Lynch, Chief Judge

Counsel

For Appellant:  Eric H. Mehnert, Hawkes & Mehnert, LLP

For Appellee:  Melissa Reynolds O'Dea, Assistant Attorney General, Janet T. Mills, Attorney General of Maine, and Paul Stern, Deputy Attorney General