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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Castillo v Ochoa, 2012 WL 523696 (D.Nev.) [Mexico] [Well Settled in New Environment]

In Castillo v Ochoa, 2012 WL 523696 (D.Nev.) petitioner, Jose Manuel Garza-Castillo sought the return of his child from the United States to Mexico, pursuant to the Convention. The respondent, Mellody Nallely Guajardo-Ochoa opposed the petition. The court held an evidentiary hearing on Jose's petition, and denied the Petition pursuant to the second paragraph of Article 12 of the Hague Convention. It found that Jose commenced these proceedings more than one year from the date of the wrongful removal of the child from Mexico to the United States. Mellody demonstrated, by substantial evidence, that the child was well settled in its new environment.
Neither Jose nor Mellody disputed that Mexico and the United States
are Contracting States to the Hague Convention; the child was habitually resident in Mexico prior to November 2008; On or about November 1, 2008, Mellody removed the child from Mexico to the United States; Under the laws of Mexico, Jose had rights of custody to the child before the removal; At the time of the removal, Jose actually exercised his rights of custody to the child; Mellody's removal of the child from Mexico to the United States was in breach of Jose's rights of custody. The child, who was born
in May 2006, and has not yet attained the age of 16 years. The court found that Jose did not consent to Mellody removing the child from Mexico and retaining her in the United States.
It was undisputed that Mellody removed the child to the United States in early November 2008. Jose filed his petition on March 16, 2010, more than one year after Mellody removed the child to the United States. Pursuant to Article 12 of the Hague Convention, when proceedings are commenced more than one year after the wrongful removal, a child is to be ordered returned "unless it is demonstrated that the child is now settled in its new environment. Jose argued (in opposing Mellody's motion to dismiss his petition) that the Court should toll the one-year term because Mellody concealed the child's "exact location" from him, and because he did not have an address for Mellody and the child. The Ninth Circuit has held that equitable tolling is available under the Hague Convention only where "the abducting parent took steps to conceal the whereabouts of the child from the parent seeking return and such concealment delayed the filing of the petition for return." Duarte v. Bardales, 526 F.3d 563, 570 (9th Cir.2008). The evidence received during the hearing indicated that Mellody initially engaged in an effort to conceal the child's location from Jose. When Mellody left in late October or early November 2008, she left a note for Jose. The note, however, did not provide any indication as to where Mellody and the child were going. In her December 28, 2008, e-mail to Jose, Mellody expressed a reluctance to disclose her location (or to return to Mexico) as she perceived a risk of losing the child to Jose. The Court could not conclude, however, that Mellody's initial act of concealing the removal and location of the child from Jose "delayed the filing of the petition for return."The Court reached this conclusion after giving "significant consideration to the overarching intention of the Convention-deterring child abduction." .Jose did not offer any evidence into the record that, subsequent to December 28, 2008, Mellody engaged in an effort to conceal her location from Jose. The evidence received during the hearing also established that Jose was not only well aware of Mellody's connections to Las Vegas (where she was raised and had numerous relatives) but that he was aware of the addresses of Mellody's relatives in Las Vegas. When Mellody left Mexico, she left behind her address book, which contained the addresses of her relatives in Las Vegas. By the end of January 2009, the names and addresses of Mellody's relatives in Las Vegas appeared in official Mexican documents as locations where Mellody could be located. The documents included the name and address of the aunt with whom Mellody stayed for the first three months in Las Vegas. The documents also included the name of the uncle with whom Mellody stayed during the early part of 2009, until July 2009 (when Mellody moved in with Melvin). Mellody was served with Jose's petition at the address where she had resided since July 2009. Further, the Court found little, if any, credible evidence to suggest that, subsequent to December 28, 2008, Jose engaged in an effort to locate the child sufficient to warrant tolling of the one-year period.. Other than his own testimony, which the court said was discredited, Jose did not offer evidence into the record of efforts made to locate the child. Also absent from the record was any explanation as to the change in circumstances resulting in Jose being able to locate Mellody and the child in the Las Vegas area in March 2010, but not prior to that date.
The child was born in May 2006. Mellody removed the child to the United States in late October or early November 2008, when the child was just less than two and one-half years old. Jose filed his petition in March 2010, and served Mellody with the petition in late April or early May 2010, when the child was just less than four years old. At the time Jose filed his petition, the child had spent a significant portion, though not the majority, of her life in the United States. At the time of the evidentiary hearing in January 2012, the child was more than five and one-half years old, and had been living in its new environment for significantly more than half of its life. Upon arrival in Las Vegas, the child resided for several months with Mellody in the home of Mellody's Aunt Dora. The child and Mellody then resided in the home of another of her aunts until July 2009. In July 2009, the child and Mellody moved into a residence of Melvin Albrego, to whom Mellody is now married. The child continued to reside with Mellody and Melvin at that residence for two years. About six or seven months prior to the hearing, the child, Mellody, and Melvin moved to a new residence, where they have since resided. Each of these residences is within the Las Vegas area. Since the end of August 2011 the child had been enrolled in and attended kindergarten in the Clark County School District. Prior to becoming old enough to attend school, while Mellody was at her place of employment, the child would be in the care of her aunt, with whom Mellody and the child were residing in April 2009. The aunt continued to provide child-care to the child after Mellody and the child moved into the residence of Melvin. The child, through Mellody, has approximately 50 extended relatives in the Las Vegas area, including her great-grandparents, great aunts and uncles, and cousins. The child regularly (often on a weekly basis) met with and participates in events with her extended relatives. The child's relatives include young children with whom the child interacted. The child often met with her extended relatives and knew them by name. Melvin, who was now married to Mellody, had between 80 and 100 extended relatives in the Las Vegas area. Typically, Melvin, Mellody and the child had a family dinner at the home of Melvin's mother on Tuesdays. The child often met with Melvin's extended family, and knew many of them by name. The child treated Melvin's extended family as if they were the child's extended family. The child had created friendships with other children who are not her relatives. The child spent time with her friends, including attending events and birthday parties. The court received testimony that, with at least one other child, the child had maintained a friendship for three years. The child and Mellody attended church two or three times each month. Mellody had been employed since April 2009 with the same employer, earning approximately $1500 to $2000 bi-weekly. Melvin was also employed.
The Ninth Circuit has indicated the following factors are to be considered in making this determination: (1) the child's age, (2) the stability and duration of the child's residence in the new environment, (3) whether the child attends school consistently, (4) whether the child has friends or relatives in the new environment, (5) whether the child participates in community or extracurricular school activities, (6) and the respondent's employment and financial stability. Mendoza v. Miranda, 559 F.3d 999, 1009 (9th Cir.2009). Further, of these, the factor that is ordinarily the most important is the length and stability of the child's residence in the new environment.
The court held that Mellody met her burden of proof of "substantial evidence of the child's significant connections" to the new environment and denied the petition.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Radu v Toder, 2012 WL 556174 (C.A.2 (N.Y.))(Romania) (Rights of Custody)

In Radu v Toder, 2012 WL 556174 (C.A.2 (N.Y.))(Not Selected for publication in the Federal Reporter) Petitioner Iulian Cristian Radu appealed from an August 3, 2011 order of the District Court denying his petition to compel the return of his son, L.R., to Romania pursuant to the Hague Convention. Radu argued that his ex-wife, respondent Petruta Toader, wrongfully moved L.R. from Romania to the United States in violation of Radu's "rights of custody" under the Hague Convention. The Court of Appeals affirmed. It reviewed a district court's factual determinations in cases arising under the Hague Convention for clear error and its legal conclusions de novo. (Citing Blondin v. Dubois, 238 F.3d 153, 158 (2d Cir.2001). It observed that the Convention defines "rights of custody" to include "rights relating to the care of the person of the child and, in particular, the right to determine the child's place of residence."Hague Convention, art. 5. The Convention distinguishes between rights of custody and rights of access. The latter is also a defined term under the Convention and means "the right to take a child for a limited period of time to a place other than the child's habitual residence." ICARA similarly defines "rights of access" to mean "visitation rights." 42 U.S.C. 11602(7). A parent has a "right of custody" if his or her consent is legally required before the other parent may move the child to another country (a "ne exeat " right), and a breach of such right gives rise to a return remedy under the Convention. (Citing Abbott v. Abbott, 130 S.Ct. 1983, 1992 (2010). By contrast, "[t]he Convention provides no return remedy when a parent removes a child in violation of a right of access." Radu has no ne exeat right. Under Romanian law, a child's domicile is established as the domicile of the parent to whom the child was entrusted by a final and irrevocable court decision. Decision No. 922/2009. If parents do not share the same domicile, then the child's domicile is established by common agreement of the parents, or, absent such agreement, by a court. But that provision does not govern a situation in which sole custody of the child has been granted to one parent. Because the divorce decree entrusted sole custody of L.R. to Toader, giving Radu only a right of visitation, Toader did not need Radu's consent to change L.R.'s domicile. While L.R.'s removal may have violated Radu's rights of access, it did not violate any rights of custody for purposes of the Convention. This interpretation of Romanian law was reinforced by an April 2011decision of a Romanian court, which denied Radu's efforts to compel the return of L.R. and noted that Radu could not seek L.R.'s return because custody of the child had been entrusted to Toader. (Citing Diorinou v. Mezitis, 237 F.3d 133, 142 (2d Cir.2001) ("American courts will normally accord considerable deference to foreign adjudications as a matter of comity. In particular, we have observed that comityis at the heart of the Hague Convention.")

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Oddy v Morris, 2012 WL 464227 (D.Hawaii) [United Kingdom][Grave Risk of Harm]

In Oddy v Morris, 2012 WL 464227 (D.Hawaii) Christopher Oddy ("Petitioner") filed an Emergency Verified Petition for Return of Children to the United Kingdom. Petitioner and Respondent were married on April 11, 2003 in the United Kingdom; Petitioner is a citizen of the United Kingdom and Respondent is a citizen of the United States. The children were born in the County of Poole, United Kingdom, and are citizens of the United Kingdom and the United States. Petitioner and Respondent were divorced in the Bournemouth County Court in the United Kingdom on October 7, 2009. The Bournemouth County Court did not make any orders with respect to parental responsibility, residence or contact at the time of the parties' divorce. Petitioner stated that, under English law, specifically the Children Act 1989, he and Respondent share equally parental responsibility of both
children. According to Petitioner, the following acts took place in 2010 and 2011: On March 17, 2010, the Mother [Respondent] had filed an application in the United Kingdom's High Court of Justice, Family Division, Bournemouth District Registry (the "English Court"), requesting permission to permanently remove the children from the United Kingdom. A trial was scheduled for December 2 and 3, 2010 on the Mother's application. As a result of the Mother's application for permanent removal having been filed, the English Court ordered that a report be prepared by the Children and Family Reporter, Mrs. Pat Holmes. Mrs. Holmes prepared her report dated October 8, 2010 and submitted it to the English Court. After the report was submitted to the English Court, a hearing was held before His Honour Judge Meston Q.C. on October 25, 2010. Judge Meston had reviewed both parties' submissions, reviewed the report prepared by the Children and Family Reporter and had heard from counsel for both parties with respect to agreements reached between the parties. At the hearing on October 25, 2010, the English Court issued a Residence and Contact Order on October 25, 2010. . The Residence and Contact Order provided hat the children shall reside with the Mother in the United Kingdom and set out a detailed and extensive schedule of contact for the Father in the United Kingdom. No order was made with respect to the parents' ex lege joint parental responsibility pursuant to the Children Act 1989. The Residence and Contact Order provided hat the Mother's application to permanently remove the children from the United Kingdom would be withdrawn and that the trial on her application scheduled for December 2-3, 2010 be vacated.
Thereafter the parties functioned pursuant to the Residence and Contact Order, which did not address the issue of parental responsibility, and both parties continued to share parental responsibility under the Children Act. Because the parties were both the parents of the children and no court suspended or otherwise terminated either party's parental responsibility, the parties continue to share parental responsibility for the children under the Children Act by operation of law. The Residence and Contact Order provides as follows with respect to removing the children from the United Kingdom: "WARNING: Where a Residence Order is in force no person may cause the child to be known by a new surname or remove the child from the United Kingdom without written consent of every person with parental responsibility for the child or the leave of court. However, this does not prevent the removal of the child for a period of less than one month by the person in whose favor the Residence Order is made (Sections 13(1) and (2) Children Act 1989). It may be a criminal offence under the Child Abduction Act of 1984 to remove the child from the United Kingdom without the leave of the court." After the issuance of the Residence and Contact Order, the parties and children continued to reside in the United Kingdom and followed the schedule for residence and contact set out in the Residence and Contact Order. The Father was scheduled to have his regularly scheduled time with the children on July 30, 2011 and was also scheduled to begin his summer holiday time with the
children on August 1, 2011. When the Father went to pick up the children on July 30, 2011, he discovered that the Mother's home was completely empty. Immediately upon discovering that the Mother's home was completely empty, the Father began searching for the children and reaching out to family and friends for help locating his daughters. The Father learned from one of the Mother's friends that the Mother had taken the children to Hawaii and later confirmed from other friends and relatives that the Mother had taken the children to Hawaii.
The testimony and evidence presented at the hearing supported these facts as set forth in the Petition. The Court found that Petitioner established that he had parental responsibility for the children and did not consent to their removal from their habitual residence in the United Kingdom. Respondent did not obtain leave of court before she removed the children from the United Kingdom, and, since the removal of the children, Petitioner had not acquiesced to their removal or retention.
Based on the evidence presented, the Court found that Respondent had not met her burden of establishing that the children were at grave risk of harm if returned to the United Kingdom. The evidence that Petitioner was physically, verbally, and mentally abusive to Respondent during the course of their marriage and thereafter was troubling. Respondent testified regarding Petitioner's history of alcohol abuse and anger management issues, and its effect on the family. The Court found Respondent's
testimony credible with respect to her fear of Petitioner's angry outbursts and threats of violence against her and her friends. Respondent also presented credible evidence that the children witnessed verbal confrontations and disagreements between their parents, which may have affected the children psychologically and emotionally. Specifically, a 2006 incident in which Petitioner physically kicked and struck Respondent in front of the oldest child and destroyed household property, and subsequently pleaded guilty to breaching the peace and criminal property damage, and an April 2011 incident at Waterloo Station in which Petitioner verbally threatened Respondent and a third-party in front of the children during a custody exchange. The Court also heard testimony regarding an April 2011 incident during which the younger child was injured while in Petitioner's care. The parties disputed the cause and severity of the injury to the child's elbow. Respondent maintained that Petitioner yanked
the child up by her arm as she resisted having her diaper changed; Petitioner contended the injury was the result of normal play with the children. Respondent faulted Petitioner for waiting several hours between the time of the injury and when he eventually sought medical care for the child the next morning. A hospital record indicated the following history of the presenting complaint: "[p]laying when getting nappy changed L. arm around her elbow very painful and not moving it, very upset in triage." The Court found that the parties' respective views of the incident were reconcilable based on the testimony and evidence presented at the hearing, and credited each. Respondent also recounted another recent incident in which the older child became ill while playing outside with Petitioner during poor weather conditions, and detailed her concerns regarding Petitioner's parenting capabilities. It was clear that the parties' relationship was troubled both during and after their marriage, when Petitioner was abusive toward Respondent, and that Respondent believed that matters were deteriorating in the months before she removed the children. The Court, however, found that, as troubling as this behavior may be, Respondent had not established for purposes of the article 13(b) analysis that the children would suffer "serious abuse that is a great deal more than minimal." Gaudin, 415 F.3d at 1035; see also Whallon v. Lynn, 230 F.3d 450, 460 (1st Cir.2000) (stating that a husband's "verbal abuse and an incident of physical shoving" directed at his wife, while regrettable, was insufficient to establish a "grave risk" of harm to the child, especially where there was no allegation that the father had ever abused the child, either physically or psychologically). The Court considered the alleged psychological harm suffered by the children and found that, while regrettable and unacceptable, any such harm did not to rise to the level required for sustaining an article 13(b) exception. See Whallon, 230 F.3d at 460 ("The logic, purpose, and text of the Convention all mean that such harms are not per se the type of psychological harm contemplated by the narrow exception under article 13(b). To conclude otherwise would risk substituting a best interest of the child
analysis for the analysis the Convention requires. This would undercut the Convention's presumption of return where rights of custody have been violated....").
Based on the foregoing, the Court granted the Petition.

Demaj v Sakaj, 2012 WL 476168 (D.Conn.) [Italy][Disclosure]

In Demaj v Sakaj, Slip Copy, 2012 WL 476168 (D.Conn.) On February 11, 2009, Esheref Demaj, filed a petition against Freda Sakah, pursuant to the Hague Convention for the immediate return of his three minor children to Italy. Petitioner claimed she illegally and wrongfully removed the minor children from Italy on or about September 7, 2007, in violation of Petitioner's custodial rights under Italian law. On January 25, 2012, Petitioner filed a Motion to Compel Production of Documents. Immediately following the commencement of this action.
Both parties acknowledged that when Petitioner was in Connecticut in January 2010 to visit his children, Petitioner, while at a Petco store, made a statement in his native Albanian, according to Petitioner, "curs[ing]", or according to Respondent's minor child, Kimberly to whom Petitioner was speaking, "threaten[ing] to kill" Respondent and her mother. Thereafter, Respondent filed a police report, a warrant was issued for Petitioner's arrest, and a mandated reporter made a referral of child abuse to the Department of Children and Families ["DCF"], which resulted in a substantiated report. According to Petitioner, on August 19, 2010, Respondent applied for a U-Visa. A U-Visa provides temporary immigration benefits to aliens who are victims of qualifying criminal activity, and to their qualifying family members, as appropriate. See (Last visited Feb. 8, 2012). According to Respondent, by the summer of 2010, Respondent and the minor children had lived in this country for almost three years and their original visas had expired, so as to remain here legally, Respondent applied for nonimmigrant status which was granted to her and the children in July 2011. With the approval of their new nonimmigration status of legal permanent residents of the United States, Respondent and the children were issued Social Security cards and Employment Authorization cards, which Respondent used to obtain a Connecticut driver's license, and to register the children for Connecticut's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and the healthcare program. Petitioner contended that he did not learn of Respondent's change in immigration status until December 30, 2011, in response to Petitioner's filing a motion to stay in the state court divorce proceedings that Respondent initiated in 2009. Petitioner contended that upon information and belief, Respondent used her passport, to which she was not supposed to have access, in accordance with this Court's order, to apply for a U-Visa, and, according to Petitioner, Respondent's immigration status wasrelevant to this case. Further, Petitioner contended that these documents were necessary for Petitioner to address Respondent's use of the "well-settled" defense at trial, as such documents will include Respondent's allegations of abuse which Petitioner will use in his case-in-chief, and to impeach Respondent by questioning the credibility of any testimony she may provide at trial. Accordingly, Petitioner requested the production of documents concerning Respondent's U-Visa application.
In her brief in opposition, Respondent argued that all of the appropriate documents, which documents include all visas, social security cards, and authorizations to work, had been produced, and the other documents withheld are those which would violate the attorney/client privilege or would violate the intent of protections found in 8 U.S.C. 1367. Additionally, Respondent asserted that her immigration status was not an important factor to the "well-settled" defense, and Petitioner had no standing to second-guess the Department of Homeland Security ["DHS"] and its decision to grant Respondent a U-Visa. Petitioner contended that courts have found "immigration status to be of utmost importance to establishing the Article 12 well settled defense
In Petitioner's Motion, he sought to compel production of documents responsive to Request Nos. 1, 3, 4 and 5, which document requests sought documents or correspondence related to Respondent and the children's current immigration status (No. 1), and related to any changes made to their immigration status since arrival in the United States (No. 3), as well as documents and correspondence, including, but not limited to applications, affidavits and all supporting documents submitted to the Department of Homeland Security or any other Federal or State agency or officials related to their immigration status or the change therein (No. 4), and any documents or correspondence between Respondent and the Department of Homeland Security or any other Federal or State agency or officials.
The Court observed that at issue in this was the application of the "well-settled" defense, which defense must be established by a preponderance of the evidence. 42 U.S.C. 11603(e)(2)(B) . The Convention itself does not define what constitutes a child being "settled in its new environment." Hague Convention, art. 12. However, the U.S. State Department has established that "nothing less than substantial evidence of the child's significant connections to the new country is intended to suffice to meet the respondent's burden of proof" in asserting the well-settled defense. Several factors are considered in determining whether or not a child has become settled: the age of the child[;] the stability of the child's residence in the new environment[;] whether the child attends school or day care consistently [;] whether the child attends church [or other religious institutions] regularly[;] the stability of the mother's
employment[;] and whether the child has friends and relatives in the new area. Lozano v. Alvarez, No. 10-CV-8485(KMK), 2011 WL 3667444, at *28 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 22, 2011) (citations omitted); In re Koc, 181 F.Supp.2d 136, 152 (E.D.N.Y.2001) (same); see also In re: Filipczak, No. 11 Civ. 1178(VM), 2011 WL 6980845, at *7 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 23, 2011), citing Lozano, 2011 WL 366744, at *28; Matovski v. Matovski, No. 06 Civ. 4259(PKC), 2007 WL 2600862, at *13 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 31, 2007)(multiple citations omitted)(same); Reyes Olguin v. Cruz Santana, No. 03 CV 6299 JG, 2005 WL 67094, at *8 (E.D.N.Y. Jan. 13, 2005) (citations omitted)(same);
Diaz Arboleda v. Arenas, 311 F.Supp.2d 336, 343 (E.D.N.Y.2004) (citation
omitted)(same). To reach a finding of settled, the Court must be presented with substantial evidence of significant connections to the new environment. Koc, 181 F.Supp.2d at 152 (internal quotations & citation omitted).
In the bulk of cases in which immigration status is considered, it is done so after an assessment of the foregoing factors, and it is considered as only one element among many pointing either in favor of a finding of significant ties to the United States, or in finding a lack of significant ties to the United States. The Court pointed out that U.S. District Judge Kenneth M. Karas stated, "[c]ourts that have found that a child was not settled have tended to do so where ... a child has moved frequently and therefore not had a stable living situation." Lozano, 2011 WL 3667444, at *30 (citations omitted); see also Filipczak, 2011 WL 6980846, at *7-8 (immigration not considered but finding of not settled when lived in multiple cities and attended multiple schools, caring and intact family in both countries, and guardian ad litem testified children are readily adaptable to any environment). In Lozano, while Judge Karas noted concern that both the Respondent and the child had overstayed their visas, and thus were here illegally, he considered the other factors referenced above which evidenced their connection to the United States, before concluding that the child was, in fact, well settled in her current environment. Lozano, 2011 WL 3667444, at *31. Following the Ninth Circuit's lead, see In re B. Del C.S.B., 559 F.3d 999, 1010-14 (9th Cir.2009), "the idea that immigration status should render an otherwise settled child not settled" was
rejected, and Judge Karas concluded that "immigration status should only be a significant factor in the settled analysis if there is an immediate concrete threat of deportation." Lozano, 2011 WL 3667444, at *30,citing B. Del C.S.B., 559 F.3d at 1010-14. The rationale for this position, with which the Court agreed, was grounded in the language of the Convention. The Convention is concerned with the present as the Article 12 defense applies to a child "now settled in its new environment[,]" and the determination of the child's future well-being is left to the court conducting custody
proceedings. See Hague Convention, art. 12 ; B. Del C.S.B., 559
F.3d at 1013.
Respondent represented to the Court that she applied for and was granted nonimmigrant status in July 2011. An individual granted U Nonimmigrant status may, after threecontinuous years of physical presence in the United States, apply for a green card. Even if the Court were to consider immigration status as a "most important factor" in the "well-settled" defense, the Court need only consider the status, which status was evident from the existence of the U-Visa. Thus, to the extent not already produced, on or before February 16, 2012, Respondent was directed to produce copies of their current visas.
Petitioner requested Respondent's copies of all documents that would be barred from disclosure by "the Attorney General, or any other official or employee of the Department of Justice, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Secretary of State, or any other official or employee of the Department of Homeland Security, or Department of State" under 8 U.S.C. 1367(a)(2), but to the extent they were in Petitioner's possession, such disclosure, while arguably running afoul of the letter of this section, was not prohibited by this statute. Although Petitioner asserted that he sought this information to determine whether the statements made in the U-Visa application were consistent with the evidence presented, Petitioner also claimed that Respondent secured her change in immigration status through fraud, which he sought to establish at trial. Thus, while Petitioner may need the documents underlying and related to Respondent's U-Visa application as they may be relevant to her credibility and may be used to impeach her, in order to use these documents in that manner, Petitioner must seek to undermine the decision of DHS by challenging the veracity of Respondent's statements, upon which both DHS and law enforcement relied, thereby, interfering with Respondent's immigration case. Petitioner's Motion to Compel production of documents responsive to Request Nos. 4 and 5 was denied.

Lopez v Villareal, 2012 WL 458490 (D.Nev.)) [Mexico] [Consent or Acquiescence]

In Lopez v Villareal, 2012 WL 458490 (D.Nev.)) Jorge Ramon Guadalupe Rivera Lopez, has filed a verified petition pursuant to the Hague Convention and respondent, Janet Nieri Villareal, aka Janet Patchett, moved to dismiss or stay this action. Jorge and Janet married in Mexico in April 2003. A son was born to the couple in November 2003. Jorge and Janet divorced, in Mexico, in August 2009. Janet was awarded physical custody of their son. Jorge was granted the right to visit and spend time with their son on any day of the week. Jorge could take their son outside the city only with the prior written consent of Janet. Janet was required only to inform Jorge when she intended to take their son outside of the city, informing him of the city, address, and specific time that would be spent outside of the city. Until late-December 2009, Jorge, Janet, and their son continued to reside in Mexico. In December, Jorge consented to Janet traveling with their son to the United States. Janet and their son entered the United States on December 26, 2009. By January 15, 2010, Janet informed Jorge that she would not be returning to Mexico. Jorge alleged that he did not consent to their son remaining in the United States after January 15, 2010. On December 15, 2011, Jorge filed the present petition pursuant to the Hague Convention and the International Child Abduction Remedies Act, seeking the return of their son to Mexico.
Janet's response to Jorge's petition raised a single argument-consent or acquiescence under Article 13-that rests solely upon the allegations of the petition. She argued that, pursuant to those allegations, Jorge could not obtain the relief requested as a matter of law. She pointed to Jorge's admission that in December 2009 he consented to her travel to the United States with their son and his concession that he was aware in January 2010 that she would not be returning to Mexico. She further noted that Jorge did not file the present petition until December 2011. Janet argues that Jorge consented to their son's travel to the United States. She further argued that Jorge's knowledge that Janet would not be returning to Mexico with their son, and his lack of action in attempting to obtain the return of their son establishes that he acquiesced to Janet's retention of their son in the United States.
The Court disagreed that Jorge alleged facts establishing that he consented and acquiesced to Janet's retention of their son in the United States. He alleged facts indicating that he consented to Janet traveling to the United States with their son. Absent from the petition, however, was any allegation suggesting that Jorge's consent was for Janet to travel to and remain in the United States, and indefinitely retain their son in the United States. Rather, Jorge alleged in the petition that Janet
indicated that the purpose of the travel was for Janet to visit her sister, and that Janet intended to return to Mexico with their son by January 7, 2010. Jorge did not allege that he consented to Janet retaining their son in the United States after January 15, 2010.
Jorge's admission that he knew Janet was retaining their son in the United States in January 2010, and his filing of the petition in December 2011, did not establish as a matter of law that he acquiesced in Janet's retention of their son in the United States after January 2010. Janet did not direct the Court's attention to any authority suggesting that a delay of 23 months between obtaining knowledge of the wrongful retention and the filing of a Hague petition establishes, as a matter of law, acquiescence in the wrongful retention. This is particularly true where, as here, Jorge alleged that subsequent to Janet's wrongful retention of their son he has sought the assistance of the Central Authority of Mexico, the Mexican Courts, the United States State Department, and local law enforcement officials in Las Vegas in obtaining the return of their son to Mexico. Accordingly, as Jorge had not alleged facts establishing, as a matter of law, that he either consented or acquiesced to Janet's retention of their son in the United States after January 15, 2010, the Court denied the motion to dismiss Jorge's petition.