Karen King Scores Unanimous Victory Before U.S. Supreme Court in Golan v. Saada

June 15, 2022

NEW YORK, June 15, 2022 – The firm extends its congratulations to our client, Narkis Golan, and our partner Karen R. King for their unanimous victory at the U.S. Supreme Court in an important case (Golan v. Saada (20-1034)) involving the interpretation of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of Child Abduction. 

Karen, representing Ms. Golan — a domestic violence survivor and mother of the young child at the center of the case — successfully challenged the precedent of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit requiring district courts hearing Hague Convention petitions to consider “ameliorative measures” that would facilitate return of the child to a foreign country, even after finding that return would subject the child to a “grave risk” of exposure to harm. 

The Court held, in an opinion authored by Justice Sotomayor, that the Second Circuit’s categorical rule is inconsistent with the text and other requirements of the Hague Convention.  The Court further held that a district court may reasonably decline to consider ameliorative measures that have not been raised by the parties, are unworkable, draw the court into determinations properly resolved in custodial proceedings, or risk overly prolonging return proceedings.  Any discretionary consideration of ameliorative measures must be exercised in a manner that prioritizes the child’s physical and psychological safety, does not usurp the role of the custody court, and is expeditious. 

The decision is widely viewed as providing an important victory for survivors of domestic violence and their children.

Karen argued the case before the Court on March 22, 2022.  She worked with several associates of the firm, including Kevin Grossinger, as well as co-counsel on the case—Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP and Zashin & Rich Co., L.P.A. 

A copy of the Court’s decision can be read here.  A copy of the firm’s briefing before the Court can be found here and here.