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Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Toufighjou v Tritschler, 2016 WL 3883193 (M.D. Florida, 2016) [Canada] [Defense of Consent Not Established] [Petition granted]
In Toufighjou v Tritschler, 2016 WL 3883193 (M.D. Florida, 2016) Toufighjou (father) and Tritschler (mother) were residents of Canada and had a three year old child, A.R.T. In July of 2015, both Toufighjou and Tritschler signed paperwork for A.R.T. to attend a daycare program in Florida. On August 2, 2015, Toufighjou went on a short vacation to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, which was to end on August 6, 2015. On August 5, 2015, Tritschler informed Toufighjou that she would be going to a friend's home for a few days. Toufighjou soon discovered that Tritschler had crossed the border into the United States and traveled to Florida with the child. Tritschler removed the child from Canada with no warning to Toufighjou, and Toufighjou testified that Tritschler did not take her personal belongings to Florida. Immediately thereafter, Toufighjou contacted the police and hired an attorney. Toufighjou filed a request for return of the child with the Canadian government and took other formal and informal steps to secure his child's return to Canada. Days after arriving in Florida with the child. On June 23, 2016, Toufighjou commenced the proceeding for return. Tritschler did not dispute and the Court found that Toufighjou established a prima facie case. It rejected Tritschler’s defense of consent to or subsequent acquiescence in the removal or retention” of the child. Convention Art. 13(a); 22 U.S.C. § 9003(e)(2)(B). The facts did not establish that Toufighjou consented to his child's removal from Canada to Florida. A.R.T.'s removal was made without warning and while Toufighjou was on a short vacation. Tritschler did not tell Toufighjou that she was going to remove his child, and Toufighjou therefore had no opportunity to consent to his child's removal to Florida. Although Tritschler has come forward with daycare paperwork that Toufighjou signed in April of 2015, that does not carry Tritschler's burden of demonstrating that Toufighjou consented to the August 2015 removal of his child. In addition, the record did not show that Toufighjou acquiesced to his child's removal after that removal was made known to him.
In Perla v Vasquez, 2016 WL 3878495 (D. Maryland, 2016) Petitioner Jose Omar Flores Perla (Father) filed a verified petition against Respondent Jacqueline Ivonneth Perla Velasquez (Mother), his former wife, alleging that the child was in Maryland, seeking the return of the parties’ minor child, to El Salvador, from the United States where the Mother allegedly wrongfully removed and retained him on or after April 27, 2014. The Mother filed a Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, to Transfer Venue. The district court granted the motion, transferring the case to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas in Houston. The court found that the Mother and the Child lived in Houston since moving to the United States, except for a period of time from Spring 2015 until early January, 2016 that they spent in Maryland for Respondent to care for her mother, Sandra Velasquez, who lived in Maryland. The district court observed that 22 U.S.C. § 9003(a) provides that a person seeking a child’s return “may do so by commencing a civil action by filing a petition for the relief sought in any court which has jurisdiction of such action and which is authorized to exercise its jurisdiction in the place where the child is located at the time the petition is filed.” The district court pointed out that section 9003(a) clearly confers jurisdiction; whether § 9003(b) pertains to jurisdiction or venue is less clear. It found after a hearing that the Child was in Texas on January 11, 2016, when Petitioner filed suit; and the parties agreed that “located” refers to where the Child was on January 11, 2016. Located” under ICARA does not require a showing of residency but contemplates the place where the abducted children are discovered. Regardless whether 22 U.S.C. § 9003(b) pertains to jurisdiction or venue, the proper place for this proceeding to have been filed was Texas, not Maryland. See 22 U.S.C. § 9003(b). The district court exercised its jurisdiction to transfer a civil action to another district or division pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), for the convenience of parties and witnesses, in the interest of justice.