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The Second Circuit vacated the district court's judgment in favor of defendants, agreeing with plaintiff that the district court wrongly instructed the jury that "but for" causation applied to Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) claims. The court held that FMLA retaliation claims of the sort plaintiff brought here were grounded in 29 U.S.C. 2615(a)(1) and a "motivating factor" causation standard applied to those claims. The court also held that the district court exceeded the bounds of its discretion in admitting and permitting the adverse inferences to be drawn in this case. Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "Woods v. START Treatment & Recovery Centers" on Justia Law

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Ten years after the parents of B.W.D. and her younger sisters divorced, B.W.D. filed an amended petition alleging that Father had abused and neglected her younger sisters. B.W.D. petitioned the juvenile court to transfer custody solely to her. The juvenile court sua sponte dismissed the petition without giving B.W.D. an opportunity to be heard, basing much of its decision on Utah Code 78B-13-802, which provides that a court must decline jurisdiction if it would have jurisdiction only “because a person invoking the jurisdiction has engaged in unjustifiable conduct.” The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the juvenile court erred in applying an “unjustifiable conduct” test, and its inconvenient-forum determination was deficient, leading it to erroneously deny B.W.D.'s petition. View "In re S.W." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the district court terminating Mother’s parental rights to her child. Contrary to Mother’s contentions, the court held (1) Mother was not deprived of due process because the district court afforded her sufficient notice of the termination hearing before terminating her parental rights and did not place undue weight not he earlier termination of Mother’s rights to another child; and (2) the court’s findings were sufficient as a matter of law, and the court’s judgment was the “result of the application of independent judicial thought to the process of making fact-findings and conclusions.” View "In re Zoey H." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals, which concluded that the consent of Appellant, the putative father of Child, to Child’s adoption by Appellees was not necessary because Appellant “willfully abandoned” the birth mother during her pregnancy and up to the time that the child was placed with Appellees. Specifically, the court held (1) Ohio Rev. Code 3107.07(B) does not equate the failure to care for and support the mother with willful abandonment of the mother; and (2) the probate court’s determination the Appellant willfully abandoned the mother was both contrary to the express language in section 3107.07(B)(2) (c) and against the manifest weight of the evidence. Because Appellees did not assert any other bases for the adoption to proceed without Appellant’s consent, the court remanded the matter to the probate court to vacate its adoption decree and to dismiss Appellees’ adoption petition. View "In re Adoption of P.L.H." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit challenging the constitutionality of Arizona's revocation-on-divorce (ROD) statute after she remained the beneficiary of her ex-husband's IRA account when he died. The Ninth Circuit held that the district court correctly determined that an Arizona state court would disregard the choice-of-law provision in the Plan and instead apply Arizona's ROD statute; the application of the ROD statute was not preempted by federal statutes and regulations governing IRAs; the district courts erred when they denied plaintiff standing; and the California district court did not abuse its discretion in transferring the case to Arizona under 28 U.S.C. 1406(a) on the grounds that it lacked personal jurisdiction over the Estate. Although it disagreed with the district court's holding that plaintiff lacked standing, the panel affirmed the dismissal of the constitutional challenge to the application of Arizona's ROD statute in the allocation of the proceeds of the ex-husband's IRA. View "Lazar v. Kroncke" on Justia Law

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Accrued investment earnings or appreciation of nonmarital assets during the marriage are presumed marital unless the party seeking the classification of the growth as nonmarital proves that the growth is readily identifiable and traceable to the nonmarital portion of the account and the growth is not due to the active efforts of either spouse. In this dissolution action, Husband, the cofounder and president of a C corporation who owned thirty-four percent of its stock, argued that none the nearly $5 million in appreciation of his stock interest during the parties’ twenty-five-year marriage was subject to equitable division. The trial court found that Husband’s thirty-four percent ownership interest in the corporation was, in its entirety, nonmarital. The Supreme Court reversed the division of the C corporation property, holding that, based on the active appreciation rule, the court should not have excluded the corporation of the marital estate. View "Stephens v. Stephens" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the district court terminating Mother’s parental rights to her two minor children. On appeal, Mother challenged the sufficiency of the evidence supporting the court’s findings that the children could not wait for permanency and that Mother failed to make a good faith effort to rehabilitate and reunify. Mother also challenged the court’s determination that termination of her parental rights - not the creation of a permanency guardianship - was in the best interest of her children. The Supreme Judicial Court held that the evidence supported the court’s findings and discretionary determinations. View "In re Haylie W." on Justia Law

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Paul Schaffner appealed a district court order denying his petition to modify his parenting time from supervised visitation to unsupervised. The district court denied his petition after finding Schaffner failed to show a material change in circumstances had occurred since the previous order establishing his parenting time. Finding no reversible error, the North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed. View "Schaffner v. Schaffner" on Justia Law

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The biological father of two minor children appealed a juvenile court order terminating both parents' parental rights to their children. The father argued the State failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence the grounds for termination under N.D.C.C. 27-20-44(1)(c)(1) and Grant County Social Services failed to use reasonable efforts to reunite the parents with their children. The North Dakota Supreme Court concluded the juvenile court did not err and affirmed. View "Interest of A.B." on Justia Law

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The district court terminated father’s parental rights, 22 M.R.S. 4055(1)(B)(2), finding, by clear and convincing evidence that he is unfit; that termination of his parental rights was in the children’s best interest; and that the permanency plan for the children would be adoption. The mother of the boys was previously found to have abandoned them. The Maine Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, finding that the evidence supported finding that father is unwilling or unable to protect the children from jeopardy within a time reasonably calculated to meet their needs; is unwilling or unable to take responsibility for them within that timeframe; and failed to make a good faith effort to rehabilitate and reunify with the children. The court noted father’s incarceration until at least July 2017, the testimony of mental health experts that the children “are very damaged, ” father’s history of substance abuse, including while he was incarcerated, which delayed his release, and his inconsistent communication with the children. The court noted extensive testimony about the need for permanency and stability for the children. View "In re: Mathew H." on Justia Law