Brooke S.B. v. Elizabeth A.C.C.

28 N.Y.3d 1 (2016)

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Brooke S.B. v. Elizabeth A.C.C.

New York Court of Appeals
28 N.Y.3d 1 (2016)

  • Written by Liz Nakamura, JD

Facts

Brooke S.B. (plaintiff) and Elizabeth A.C.C. (defendant) were a same-sex couple who entered into a preconception agreement to conceive and raise a child together as coparents. Elizabeth conceived the child through artificial insemination. The child was given Brooke’s last name, but Brooke never formally adopted the child. At the time, same-sex marriage was still illegal in New York. Brooke and Elizabeth lived together and shared all parental responsibilities for the first year of the child’s life, after which Brooke and Elizabeth terminated their relationship. After approximately three years of regular visitation between Brooke and the child, Elizabeth barred Brooke from further contact. Brooke filed a family-court petition seeking joint custody and regular visitation. Elizabeth moved to dismiss, arguing that, under Matter of Alison D. v. Virginia M., only biological or adoptive parents had standing to seek visitation or custody of a child. Brooke challenged, arguing that, under the principles of equitable estoppel, her long-term parental relationship with the child gave her sufficient standing. The family court dismissed Brooke’s petition, holding that Alison D. mandated dismissal because Brooke was not a biological or adoptive parent. On appeal, the appellate court affirmed. Brooke appealed to the New York Court of Appeals.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Abdus-Salaam, J.)

Concurrence (Pigott, J.)

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