McLaughlin & Stern Wins Important Victory for Abused Women

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Mother and child permitted to remain in New York after Federal Court rules psychological abuse constitutes “grave risk of harm” in international child abduction case

The abuse in this case was a "pervasive, manipulative violence that left few physical scars, but which was nonetheless severely damaging."

McLaughlin & Stern is pleased to announce an important victory in New York Federal Court in a case involving the application of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Convention). In Davies v. Davies (16 CV 6542) a young mother, a U.S. citizen, escaped back to the U.S. with her child after suffering years of abuse by her husband in a foreign country. On Jan. 25, after a nine-day trial, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York declined to send the child and the mother back to the abusive husband. Based on the extensive evidence of psychological abuse presented at trial, the Court concluded that sending the child back would expose the child to "grave risk of psychological harm."

This decision recognizes what has long been known to psychologists and psychiatrists – that psychological abuse is every bit as dangerous and damaging as physical abuse, not only to the abused spouses but also to their children. As the Court aptly concluded, the abuse in this case was a "pervasive, manipulative violence that left few physical scars, but which was nonetheless severely damaging to the wife, and runs an almost certain risk of continuing to negatively affect [the child]." This is an important development for women and children who are victims of domestic violence.
The McLaughlin & Stern team was headed by the lead trial lawyer partner Valentina Shaknes, assisted by associate Justine Stringer, with contributions from partners Peter Alkalay and Linda Rosenthal, and associate Carly Krasner.

McLaughlin & Stern, LLP, established in 1898, is one of New York’s most distinguished law firms. The firm provides a diverse range of sophisticated legal services to businesses and individuals and has particular expertise in corporate, securities, mergers and acquisitions, hedge funds, corporate finance, litigation and alternative dispute resolution, employment law, trusts and estates, real estate, intellectual property, bankruptcy and reorganization, tax, family and matrimonial law, health care law, art law, environmental law, maritime law, international law, and other private client matters.

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Rosemarie Yu
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