Savoie v. Martin

Tennessee law mandates mediation in certain contested divorce proceedings. Now-Judge Martin was appointed and performed mediation in plaintiff's divorce as part of his private legal practice. The divorce was granted, allowing wife to take the children to Japan during vacations but requiring her to live within 100 miles of husband. Husband believed that wife planned to abduct the children to her native Japan, petitioned to modify the parenting plan, and sought a restraining order. The hearing, initially assigned to another, was re-assigned to Judge Martin. The parties agreed to have Judge Martin hear the motion, despite the judge raising the issue. Judge Martin ruled in favor of wife, who subsequently took the children out of the U.S. with no apparent intent to return. Husband was awarded full custody; wife was charged with felony custodial interference. Husband filed suit against Martin as both judge and mediator; the law firm as his employer; and a court-ordered parental coordinator, under 42 U.S.C. 1983 and state law negligence and contract theories. The district court dismissed all claims. The Sixth Circuit affirmed. View "Savoie v. Martin" on Justia Law