July 2015 Archives

In For A Penny, In For A Pound

In the case of Friedetzky v. Hsia, a New York resident was alleged to be the father of a child in a custody action brought in Maryland, by the child's mother. The New York resident requested a paternity test and engaged in financial discovery before admitting he was the child's father. Thereafter, the mother amended her complaint and sought child support and, as a result, the father sought to dismiss the case. The Maryland Court of Special Appeals conceded that the father, as a non-resident, was entitled to limited immunity to participate in a child custody proceeding without submitting to personal jurisdiction for other matters. However, the court further held that the father's actions in participating in discovery and requesting a paternity test constituted acts which personally availed the father of the jurisdiction of the Maryland Courts. As a result, the father could not dismiss the case. 

Prime's racial discrimination can form basis for lower tier sub to allege interference with prospective advantage

In the Washington, D.C. case of Mason Builders, Inc. v. Bancroft Const. Co., a prime contractor was alleged to have induced one of its subcontractors to fire a lower tier subcontractor, namely D.C. Mason Builders, who was working for the subcontractor. D.C. Mason Builders asserted that its work was proper and that the basis for its termination was racial discrimination. The United States District Court dismissed the complaint, but gave D.C. Mason Builders an opportunity to amend their claim alleging intentional interference with prospective or business advantage. The court indicated that sufficient facts needed to be alleged to support this claim. 

Police Misconduct Case Filed Too Late

The case of Cofield v. The City of Baltimore involved allegations of police brutality (assault, false arrest, false imprisonment, etc.). However, the United States District Court for the District of Maryland dismissed the case largely because the Plaintiff waited too long to file it. The court held that both the state and federal claims were governed by the Maryland statute of limitations (legally imposed time for filing a case). Generally, a case must be filed within three years of the date a party has a right to sue. 

Children Wrongfully Removed From Peru May Remain in Maryland

When a parent flees to another country with a child to evade the other parent's custody rights, the Hague Convention, generally requires the child's immediate return so that custody rights can be determined in the child's country of residence. However, the United States Court is not bound to order the return of the child if there is a grave risk that his or her return would expose the child to physical or psychological harm or otherwise place the child in an intolerable situation. In the recent case of Sabogal v. Velarde, the United States District Court for the District of Maryland entered an order that did not compel the immediate return of children to Peru despite the fact that it determined the children, at issue, were wrongfully removed in the first place. It made this determination based on the psychological abuse of the children and their mother by the father and an unresolved substance abuse problem of the father. The court did impose a complex set of conditions which would allow for the return of the children including a requirement that certain court rulings be reversed! 

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