Second Circuit not barred by State Custody Decision


Petitioner, Lisa Tann, appeals the district court determination denying her petition for custody. "Tann, a citizen of the United Kingdom who resides in Northern Ireland, alleged that Respondent George Bennett wrongfully abducted their son, J.D., to the United States." Pp. 3. During the pendency of this appeal, the Family Court of New York State, Orleans County, granted full custody to George Bennett. The Bennett's now move to dismiss the claim as moot. The Court dismisses the Bennett's contention as contrary to the intent and purpose of the Hague Convention.

The International Child Abduction Remedies Act (“ICARA”), 22 U.S.C. § 9001 et 16 seq. implements the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, Oct. 25, 1980, T.I.A.S. No. 11,670, 1343 U.N.T.S. 89, reprinted in 51 Fed. Reg. 10494 (Mar. 26, 1986) (“Hague Convention”), which was designed “to protect children internationally from the harmful effects of their wrongful removal or retention and to establish procedures to ensure their prompt return to the State of their habitual residence, as well as to secure protection for rights of access.” Gitter v. Gitter, 396 F.3d 124, 129 (2d Cir. 2005) (quoting Hague Convention, Preamble).

Mootness: “A case is moot when the issues presented are no longer ‘live’ or the parties ‘lack a legally cognizable interest in the outcome.’” Blackwelder v. Safnauer, 866 F.2d 548, 551 (2d Cir. 1989) (quoting Murphy v. Hunt, 455 U.S. 478, 481 (1982)). “A moot action . . . must be dismissed, even if the case was live at the outset but later events rendered it moot on appeal.” N.Y.C. Emps.’ Ret. Sys. v. Dole Food Co., 969 F.2d 1430, 1433 (2d Cir. 1992).

The Hague Convention provides that “[t]he sole fact that a decision relating to custody has been given in 5 or is entitled to recognition in the requested State shall not be a ground for refusing to return a child under this Convention.” Hague Convention, art. 17. The Court finds that "one of the primary purposes of the Hague Convention was to prevent situations where 'a family member would remove a child to jurisdictions more favorable to [his or her] custody claims in order to obtain a right of custody from 10 the authorities of the country to which the child ha[d] been taken.” Pp. 4 (quoting Mota v. Castillo, 692 F.3d 108, 112 (2d Cir. 2012) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted).

Conclusion: " this Court may still grant effective relief to Appellant [Tann], despite the existence of the custody order."

The case is Tann v. Bennett, 14-4734 (2d Cir. Dec. 3, 2015), http://www.ca2.uscourts.gov/decisions/isysquery/930aeab2-4a74-4f9e-986a-b602d8ce43c8/3/doc/14-4734_opn.pdf#xml=http://www.ca2.uscourts.gov/decisions/isysquery/930aeab2-4a74-4f9e-986a-b602d8ce43c8/3/hilite/

#Hague #ChildCustody #SecondCircuit #DistrictCourtAppeal #Mootness

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