In Garcia v Galicia, 2019 WL 4197611 (D. Nevada, 2019) the child’s mother, petitioner Zendy Arleny Torres Garcia, alleged that the child was wrongfully taken from the State of Michoacán, Mexico, to the United States by the child’s father, respondent Teofilo Israel Guzman Galicia. The Magistrate Judge recommended that Torres Garcia petitions for the child to be returned to her in Mexico be granted. The District Court adopted the report and recommendation in an order. See Garcia v Galicia, 201`9 WL 4192729 (D. Nevada, 2019)
Torres Garcia and Guzman Galicia were cohabitating in Morelia, which is in State of Michoacán, Mexico, when L.M.G.T. was born on July 4, 2006. Torres Garcia and Guzman Galicia are listed as L.M.G.T.’s parents on her birth certificate. Torres Garcia and Guzman Galicia lived together until May 2015 and that at some unspecified point after that, Guzman Galicia removed L.M.G.T. from Mexico to the United States without Torres Garcia’s knowledge, consent, or acquiescence. According to Torres Garcia, Guzman Galicia is “armed and dangerous” and his violent tendencies and substance abuse caused the parties’ separation. Torres Garcia states that she used to rely on Guzman Galicia for financial support, but that she was left without income when they separated. Garcia explains that the fact she had to “re-enter the work force and fend for [herself]” following the parties’ separation is what allowed Guzman Galicia to keep L.M.G.T. and leave Mexico without Torres Garcia’s knowledge. In January 2017, Torres Garcia filed a custody motion and criminal offense report in Michoacán against Guzman Galicia for abducting L.M.G.T) She filed a Hague Convention request for the return of the child with the Mexican authorities in February 2018. Torres Garcia states she did not know L.M.G.T.’s location until late 2018, when Guzman Galicia contacted Torres Garcia and informed her that he and L.M.G.T. were living in Las Vegas, Nevada. According to Torres Garcia, Guzman Galicia pressured her to sign over her custody rights to him and threatened she would never see L.M.G.T. again Torres Garcia attempted to communicate with Guzman Galicia and his extended family to secure L.M.G.T.’s return to Mexico to no avail. She also attempted to obtain a visa to travel to Las Vegas to get the child herself, but her initial visa application was denied.
The Court found L.M.G.T. was 12 years old at the time the case was filed, but she had since turned age 13. She attended J.D. Smith Middle School in North Las Vegas. She lived with Guzman Galicia and his family. According to Torres Garcia’s attorney, Guzman Galicia provided Torres Garcia with the following address: 5921 West Bartlett Avenue, Las Vegas, Nevada 89108. Guzman Galicia was served with the complaint and petition for return of the child and the summons. The complaint and summons were delivered to Pedro Franco, roommate/co-resident at 5921 W. Bartlett Avenue, Las Vegas, Nevada, 89108).
Torres Garcia moved for an ex parte temporary restraining order and for a warrant in lieu of a writ of habeas corpus directing law enforcement to bring Guzman Galicia and L.M.G.T. before the court. The court further ordered Guzman Galicia to show cause in writing why the temporary restraining order should not be converted to a preliminary injunction and to appear at a preliminary injunction hearing on August 8, 2019. Torres Garcia served her emergency motion for injunctive relief her supporting declaration and the court’s temporary restraining order on Guzman Galicia by United States mail on August 2, 2019. On August 7, 2019, Guzman Galicia contacted Torres Garcia’s attorney’s office and requested to move the hearing on the preliminary injunction because he had to work at the “solar farm,” but the attorney’s receptionist instructed Guzman Galicia to contact the court regarding any scheduling conflict he may have with the hearing. Guzman Galicia did not file a written response to the court’s show-cause order or appear at the preliminary-injunction hearing on August 8, 2019. At the hearing, the court converted the temporary restraining order to a preliminary injunction prohibiting Guzman Galicia from removing L.M.G.T. from the State of Nevada pending trial in this case. After the preliminary-injunction hearing, Torres Garcia attempted to serve the court’s temporary restraining order the minutes of the preliminary-injunction hearing (ECF No. 16), and the court’s subsequent order setting a case-management conference for August 14, 2019 on Guzman Galicia on August 9, 2019, at the Bartlett address, but nobody answered the door. At the time of the second service attempt on August 10, 2019, Guzman Galicia’s sister told the process server that Guzman Galicia moved to North Las Vegas. The process server gave the sister her business card and requested that Guzman Galicia contact her to accept service of the documents. The process server informed Torres Garcia’s attorney that on August 12, 2019, Guzman Galicia called the process server and indicated he was “on his way back from Boulder City” and would pick up the documents at the process server’s office on August 13, 2019. As of 3:00 p.m. on August 13, 2019, Guzman Galicia had not picked up the documents, so the process server left them with Guzman Galicia’s sister at his last-known address on Bartlett Avenue that afternoon. The documents were delivered to Guzman Galicia’s sister, Mireya Guzman, at 5921 W. Bartlett Avenue, Las Vegas, Nevada 89108). Guzman Galicia did not appear at the case-management conference on August 14, 2019. At the case-management conference, Torres Garcia testified under oath that her aunt informed her that Guzman Galicia and L.M.G.T. have left Las Vegas and were travelling to Mexico by bus with an expected arrival date of August 16, 2019. Apparently, Guzman Galicia texted a photograph of himself and L.M.G.T. on the bus to the aunt, but Torres Garcia had not seen the photograph. Additionally, Torres Garcia testified that Guzman Galicia contacted other family members, including Torres Garcia’s brother and grandmother, to arrange for extended family members to see L.M.G.T. in Mexico next week. Torres Garcia provided to the court addresses in Michoacán where she expected L.M.G.T. will be residing and visiting family members next week. Based on her communications with family members, Torres Garcia testified she did not believe Guzman Galicia and L.M.G.T. are still in Las Vegas. At the hearing, Torres Garcia’s attorney verballed renewed the motion for a warrant in lieu of a petition for writ of habeas corpus and requested that the court order an “Amber Alert.” The court took the renewed motion for warrant in lieu of a petition for writ of habeas corpus under advisement and denied the request for an Amber Alert without prejudice of Torres Garcia to make any requests she deems necessary to the appropriate law enforcement agencies.
Given that Torres Garcia established her case-in-chief for the return of L.M.G.T. by a preponderance of the evidence and that Guzman Galicia failed to answer or otherwise appear in the case to present any defenses to the petition for return, the court recommended that the petition for return be granted. The court further will recommend that L.M.G.T. be returned to Mexico for the appropriate Mexican court to make a final custody decision. The court further will recommend that Guzman Galicia be ordered to appear before the court with L.M.G.T. on a date and time to be specified by the United States district judge assigned to this case for a hearing to determine the logistics of L.M.G.T.’s return to Mexico.