Give Me Back My Kidney: A Strange Divorce Case in New York

 

In 2001, Long Island surgeon, Dr. Richard Batista, donated his kidney to his wife, Dawnell, in order to save her life.  Although the surgery was a success, the same cannot be said for the marriage which ended when Dawnell filed for divorce in 2005 after 15 years. Batista claims that his wife began cheating on him eighteen to twenty-four months after she received the transplant.

Instead of fighting over the million-dollar home they shared, Batista is asking that either his kidney be returned or that he be compensated for it. He is seeking $1.5 million in damages. Batista claims that his demand stems from frustration regarding the ongoing negotiation process with his soon to be ex-wife. He decided to go public with the details of his divorce as a last resort after being prevented from seeing his three children for months at a time.

Matrimonial attorneys were quick to voice legal opinions that Batista’s claim for damages would fail. In the Huffington Post article “Divorcing Man Wants Kidney Back After Wife Cheats,” a Manhattan attorney, Susan Moss, argues that no judge will entertain this demand because judges are unwilling to place a value on such assets.  She cites a similar case in which a husband wanted to be repaid for the cost of breast implants but was denied compensation.

Moss’s prediction was correct. In February, a Long Island Judge rejected Batista’s request on the grounds that it would violate public policy. The Judge’s Referee, Jeffrey Grob, wrote, in a ten page ruling, that entertaining Batista’s claim would make the statement that human organs are commodities.… <Read More>


Getting a Divorce? What You Post on Facebook Can Come Back to Haunt You

 

The American Association of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) recently conducted a survey of divorce attorney which revealed a growing trend involving evidence found on social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter and Match.com. According to the survey, 66 percent of attorneys use Facebook to find incriminating photos or statements while 15percent use MySpace and only 5 percent use Twitter.

People do not realize that what you post on sits such as Facebook are permanent, even if you close your page or later delete comments.  Racy pictures and derogatory comments are discoverable because there is no right of privacy in social media forums. This information can be used as evidence of ” accurate depictions of what someone did, said (or intended to say) at the time. MSNBC.com recently highlighted some examples of such posts:

-In court, a mother denied that she smokes marijuana but posted photos of herself partying and smoking pot on Facebook.

-A husband went on Match.com and declared he was single and had no children while he was seeking primary custody of his actual children.

– A husband denied that he had anger management issues but under the “write something about yourself” section on Facebook: “If you have the balls to get in my face, I’ll kick your ass into submission”.

Because postings such as these can hurt a client’s case, more attorneys are advising their clients to shut down Facebook pages and Twitter accounts when in the admist of a divorce.

For more information, see “Facebook Can Haunt You in Your Divorce” (Razai & Nefulda, businessreviewusa.com)… <Read More>


Florida State Colleges Charging Higher Tuition Fees for Children of Illegal Immigrants

In late 2011, a class-action lawsuit was filed in Miami by Florida residents who were being charged out-of-state tuition rates to attend state colleges and universities. The students are American citizens who were born in the U.S. to illegal immigrants. Their claim is that Florida’s regulations violate their constitutional rights under the 14th Amendment.

“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” Amendment XIV.

The out-of-state tuition is said to be three to four times the cost of in state tuition making it well beyond the reach of many Florida residents whose parents are illegal immigrants.  Following the class-action suit, a bill was proposed that would have given Florida residents regardless of their parents’ immigration status, in-state tution for higher education contingent on them having lived in Florida for at least two years.

The story doesn’t end well for the affected students. In January 2012, the bill died in the Senate’s higher education committee. One concern raised by many Senators was that the bill would open up a loophole for students with parents in other States who could otherwise afford the out-of-state tuition costs.… <Read More>