Friday, May 07, 2010

Cuellar v. Joyce (9th Cir. - May 7, 2010)

"After Richard Joyce abducted his and Leyda Cuellar’s child from Panama, by way of Australia, Cuellar tracked him down in America and petitioned for the return of the child pursuant to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. We ordered the child returned, and Cuellar now petitions for an award of attorneys’ fees and other costs incurred on appeal [as expressly provided by the Hague convention]. . . . As we noted in our opinion, this is not a difficult case; it 'falls squarely within the heartland of the Hague Convention.' The only reason the case took as long as it did, and consumed so many valuable resources, was Joyce’s dogged refusal to give up custody of the child as required by the Hague Convention. Joyce’s litigation tactics were largely intended to 'manipulate judicial process for purpose of delay.' That delay proved expensive, both for Joyce and for the law firm that represented Cuellar. Having caused that expense, Joyce may not turn it to his own advantage to avoid the mandatory fee-shifting provision of section 11607(b)(3). If Joyce didn’t want to bear the cost of delay, he shouldn’t have caused it. Better yet, he shouldn’t have abducted the child in the first place."