We are representing a putative class of custodial parents in a lawsuit against New York State Chief Justice DiFiore and others who are part of the New York State Office of Court Administration in an Article 78 petition seeking enforcement of an administrative rule that requires the Family Court to process child support willfulness violation petitions in a very compressed time frame (no longer than 90 day). Sanctuary For Families is co-counsel.
 
In mid-February 2020, the State Supreme Court Judge assigned to this case in Manhattan dismissed the amended Article 78 class action that we litigated over a more than two year period. The Supreme Court Judge’s decision was, frankly, frivolous. My opening appellate brief filed with the Appellate Division, First Department, last Monday, March 16, is attached. 
 
Her Justice, a prominent public interest organization that serves low-income clients in family and matrimonial matters, has agreed to serve as amici in this case at the appellate court level. Her Justice’s brief will focus on the difficulty, if not impossibility, of their low-income clients vindicating the time frames set forth in the Family Court Rule without systemic relief coupled with the total absence of pro bono or other lawyers representing custodial parents in these cases, and the importance of the Office of Court Administration maintaining accurate and relevant statistics on the operations of the court system. 
 
There is no strict deadline for the service of the brief but the appeal is calendared for the June Term and thus ideally the brief would be submitted by end of April. A separate amicus brief is being written by Akerman on behalf of a very respected former Family Court Judge.
 
I don’t believe the brief would be very long at all and should be able to be written in no more than 40-60 hours at most. I have spent more than 5 years representing individual clients in Family Court child support violation cases (all 10 named petitioners are clients I have and continue to represent) to develop and prosecute this case. I believe it is an important rule of law impact case and critical that a good ruling is issued to allow low-income, vulnerable clients to hold the Court system accountable for their failure to comply with a rule that is imposed on the state by a federal mandate. Please let me know if your firm has interest (and, yes, the power structure of the NY court system is the adverse party). Thanks in advance.