In Tavarez v Jarett, --- F.Supp.3d ----, 2017 WL 2304029 (S.D. Texas, 2017) Petitioner Yolanda Sanchez Tavarez (“Petitioner”) alleged Respondent Michael Jarrett (“Respondent”) wrongfully removed their six-year-old daughter, BLSJ, from Mexico to the United States on January 24, 2016. Petitioner was a Mexican national and Respondent was an American national. The parties lived in the same residence in Lagos de Moreno, Jalisco, Mexico from 2009 until their separation in 2014 and were the parents of one six-year-old child, BLSJ who was born in Lagos de Moreno, Jalisco, Mexico on June 13, 2010. BLSJ resided in Mexico until she was removed to the United States on January 24, 2016. Respondent conceded that Mexico was the country of BLSJ’s habitual residence.
On May 10, 2012, BLSJ was hospitalized in Mexico after suffering seizures and fainting. BLSJ was subsequently diagnosed with anti-NMDA encephalitis (“Anti-NMDA”), an autoimmune disease. BLSJ was released from the Guadalajara Hospital in November 2013 and thereafter received continuing medical treatments, physical therapy, and speech therapy. The childs doctor did not have any concerns about BLSJ’s ability to receive the appropriate medical treatment in Mexico. At the time of BLSJ’s last appointment in Mexico, on November 20, 2015, BLSJ’s disorder was stable and controlled, and Dr. Cruz believed BLSJ would likely go into remission. On January 24, 2016, Respondent removed BLSJ from Mexico and brought her to the United States. Respondent testified that he and Petitioner agreed BLSJ should move to the United States to seek medical treatment for BLSJ’s Anti-NMDA. The district court rejected this testimony and found that Respondent wrongfully removed BLSJ from Mexico.
The Court found Respondent failed to establish by a preponderance of the evidence that Petitioner consented or acquiesced to BLSJ’s removal. It also rejected Respondent arguments that returning BLSJ to Mexico posed a grave risk to BLSJ because (1) the healthcare available to BLSJ in Mexico is inadequate; (2) there is an increased risk of disease in the area of Mexico to which Petitioner seeks BLSJ’s return; (3) there is a high crime rate in the area of Mexico to which Petitioner seeks BLSJ’s return; and (4) BLSJ was abused by Petitioner or Petitioner’s family.