Woman takes unusual step in custody case: She sues the judge

Here’s a story on a matter often important in family law that might likely interest our readers in Georgia and elsewhere.

Relevant law in one state requires that all child custody proceedings in any case be finished within a 90-day period. One Manhattan, New York, mother has now been involved in a bitter custody dispute for more than 1,200 days, and she is seeking to take matters into her own hands by pursuing a rather novel strategy: She’s suing the judge in the case.

And not for peanuts. Rather, the federal lawsuit recently filed by Maggie Rhee Karn makes a money demand of $10 million, claiming that Manhattan Family Court Referee Marva Burnett has unlawfully delayed final resolution of the case and is acting with questionable motives.

Karn also recently stressed those concerns in a letter she wrote to a chief judge, stating that, “This case has never been about the best interest of my child, but appears to be a financial profit to everyone Referee Burnett appoints.”

Adds Karn’s attorney: “This case is the worst I’ve ever seen.”

Karn’s daughter , now 9, lives with Karn’s ex-husband under a temporary custody grant that has now been operative for more than three years. Karn’s lawyer has produced a copy of a report from the Administration for Children’s Services stating that the girl does not like that arrangement.

Karn says that she has spent in excess of $200,000 thus far on legal fees and has been in court more than 40 times on the matter.

Source: New York Post, “Mom sues judge over 3-year custody battle,” Julia Marsh, Dec. 2, 2013

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