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Pro Bono Client Secures Protection Order Victory in NY Supreme Court
- Client News
- January 24, 2023
Paul, Weiss and co-counsel Sanctuary for Families secured a victory for a pro bono client in the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, which unanimously affirmed a Bronx Family Court decision granting a five-year order of protection to our client and a two-year order of protection to our client’s children.
In 2019, our client left an abusive relationship and filed for custody of her two young children. She also obtained a temporary order of protection (TOP) against her husband. Paul, Weiss was engaged in April 2021 to seek a final order of protection and file a violation petition alleging multiple violations of the TOP. In a bifurcated bench trial beginning in October 2021 and spanning six court dates through February 2022, the Paul, Weiss team put on multiple witnesses and asked the court for a five-year final order of protection. The request was based on a finding of aggravating circumstances due to a violent event that occurred with one of the children present, and violations of the TOP.
In its April 19, 2022 decision, the Family Court granted a final order of protection against the respondent father with a finding of aggravating circumstances. The court also found that the respondent committed multiple family offenses and violations of the TOP. The respondent appealed to the First Department soon after.
In his appeal, the respondent alleged that our client’s Family Offense petition was a ploy for her to gain advantage in the parties’ upcoming custody trial and argued that the Family Court’s credibility determinations should be overturned. The respondent also challenged the sufficiency of the evidence supporting almost every violation found by the Family Court and raised evidentiary issues.
The appeals court rejected these claims and unanimously affirmed the Family Court’s decision. The First Department held that a fair preponderance of the evidence supported the Family Court’s determinations that the respondent committed multiple family offenses against our client and that there were aggravating circumstances. It found no basis to disturb the Family Court’s credibility determinations and held that it was not abuse of discretion to conclude that the orders of protection were warranted under these circumstances.
The Paul, Weiss team included litigation associates Paige Geier and Michael Bass, and was supervised by litigation partner William Michael and counsel Robert Kravitz.