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Friday, August 17, 2012

Chafin v. Chafin, 2012 WL 1636904 (2012) [Petition for Certiorari Granted By United States Supreme Court [Mootness of Appeal]

In Chafin v. Chafin, 2012 WL 1636904 (2012), decided on August 13, 2012 the United States Supreme Court, granted Petitioner, Jeffrey Lee Chafin’s, petition for a Writ of Certiorari to review a final order of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit (entered February 6, 2012) holding that the underlying District Court's order was to be vacated and the action moot. Under the International Child Abduction Remedies Act 42 U.S.C. §§ 11601-11610 (2000) and the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction a parent may file a petition for return of their minor child/custodian to the child's country of habitual residence if it appears that the child has been wrongfully abducted. Once an Order has issued from the District Court returning the child to the petitioning custodian and an appeal has been filed by the respondent the Circuits are spilt as to whether the return of the child to the country of habitual residence renders the appeal moot. The Eleventh Circuit, in Bekier v. Bekier, 248 F.3d 1051 (2001), held that such an appeal is clearly moot since the relief sought by petitioner has been granted and the Court had “no authority ‘to give opinions on moot questions or abstract propositions … which cannot affect the matter in issue in the case before [the Court]’ ” Bekier at 1054. The Court provided that no actual affirmative relief could be provided to the appellant. However, the Fourth Circuit, in Fawcett v. McRoberts, 326 F.3d 491 (2003), has held that “[c]ompliance with a trial court's order does not moot an appeal if it remains possible to undo the effects of compliance or if the order will have a continuing impact on future action.” The Sixth Circuit has since adopted the position of the Eleventh Circuit while the Third, Eighth and Tenth Circuits have adopted the reasoning of the Fourth Circuit with regard to the issue of mootness of an appeal.