Thankfully some common sense has been injected into the situation between New Jersey teen, Rachel Canning, and her parents, Sean and Elizabeth Canning. Rachel is the 18 year-old who didn’t like her parents’ house rules, moved in with a girlfriend, and ended up in a courtroom suing her parents, courtesy of her girlfriend’s father, a local Lincoln Park politician and….wait for it…..lawyer!
Rachel obtained a court order on March 5, 2014 that denied her the child support she was seeking, but set up a court process for the matter to proceed to trial with a pretrial hearing on April 22, 2014. It was reported that her benefactor, lawyer John Inglesino, has already spent $13,000 on legal fees on her behalf.
Judge Peter Bogaard’s order also included the suggestions that the parties be encouraged to explore the option of family counselling…no kidding?
Rachel’s lawsuit turned her into an international media pariah, savaged in the court of public opinion, a situation that greatly distressed her parents, who changed counsel after the original hearing.
It cannot be a coincidence that the Canning’s new lawyer, Angelo Sarno, announced yesterday that Rachel had returned home, much to her family’s joy. Mr. Sarno said “(This case) should never have been brought to the court’s attention. It should never have been brought to the public”.
However, after Rachel returned home, her lawyer, Tanya Helfand, ran into court seeking emergency orders to seal the court file and have a guardian appointed for Rachel, telling the court that Rachel was “pressured” to return home by her parents and was waiving her complaint with no promise of financial consideration.
Judge Bogaard denied Ms. Helfand’s application.
So what you have now appears to be a classic legal conundrum. On one side, a lawyer who supports his clients to leave the legal arena before the damage is so devastating there is no possibility of reconciliation between Rachel, her parents and her two younger sisters; matched with a lawyer who apparently wants to continue and even escalate the litigation.
I still don’t understand lawyers who ignore the future ramifications of court actions involving families…one of the reasons why family law matters need to be steered away from court and into mediation or arbitration, if no compromise can be reached.
Not surprisingly, lawyer Inglesino has also been the subject of derision for interfering with Rachel and her parents in a highly personal matter.
It looks like there is only one lawyer in this piece who is wearing a “white hat”…
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang