Golan v. Saada

142 S.Ct. 1880 (2022)

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Golan v. Saada

United States Supreme Court
142 S.Ct. 1880 (2022)

Facts

Under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (the Hague Convention), implemented in the United States through the International Child Abduction Remedies Act (ICARA), if a federal district court finds that a child was wrongfully removed from the child’s country of habitual residence, the court generally must order the child’s return. However, if the court finds that return would place the child at grave risk of physical or psychological harm, the court has discretion regarding whether to order return. In 2015, United States citizen Narkis Golan (defendant) married Italian citizen Isacco Saada (plaintiff) in Italy. Golan and Saada lived in Italy and had a son, BAS, in 2016. Saada repeatedly verbally and physically abused Golan in front of BAS, and in 2018, Golan fled with BAS to the United States. Saada brought an action against Golan in a New York federal district court under the Hague Convention and ICARA, seeking BAS’s return to Italy. The district court found that Italy was BAS’s habitual residence and that Golan had wrongfully removed BAS to the United States. Although the court concluded that returning BAS to Italy would expose BAS to a grave risk of harm given Saada’s violent behavior, the court noted that Second Circuit precedent required district courts to examine the full range of ameliorative measures that might make the child’s safe return possible before denying return due to a grave risk. The district court found that if Saada provided Golan financial support of $30,000, started therapy, and lived separately from Golan in Italy, among other things, the grave risk to BAS would be ameliorated, and BAS should be returned. The Second Circuit reversed, finding that the identified ameliorative measures were insufficient. The Second Circuit remanded for consideration of whether any other alternative ameliorative measures existed. Following the identification and implementation of additional ameliorative steps, including obtaining a protective order in Italy and requiring Saada to pay Golan $150,000 in financial support, the district court again ordered BAS’s return. The Second Circuit affirmed, and the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Sotomayor, J.)

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