The gold standard of excellence for more than 80 years, The United States Law Week® is the most authoritative way to keep up with important cases and other legal developments nationwide, in all...
A federal district court improperly abstained from hearing a constitutional challenge to California’s surrogacy contract enforcement law while the parties’ related state suit proceeded, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held Jan. 12.
Abstention was improper under controlling U.S. Supreme Court precedent because the state proceedings were neither quasi-criminal enforcement actions nor cases involving the state’s interest in enforcing the orders of its courts, the opinion written by Judge Stephen Reinhardt said.
Nevertheless, federal courts are precluded from hearing the suit because a state appellate court ruled that the state law is constitutional, the appeals court said.
Melissa Cook agreed to be a surrogate mother and signed a contract to give up her parental rights and surrender any children to C.M. when they were born. Cook was artificially inseminated and three embryos developed.
When Cook and C.M. disagreed over whether she should carry all three babies to term, she challenged the constitutionality of the state law and C.M. sought to have the contract enforced. While those suits were pending in state court, Cook filed a federal suit raising her constitutional claims. The district court abstained, noting the state’s unique interest over domestic relations.
While the district court erred by not applying controlling precedent, the state court definitively settle the issue, the appeals court said.
Judges Kim McLane Wardlaw and Wiley Y. Daniel, sitting by designation, joined the opinion.
The Cassidy Law Firm represented Cook. Jarette & Walmsley LLP represented C.M.
The case is Cook v. Harding , 2018 BL 12487, 9th Cir., No. 16-55968, 1/12/18 .
To contact the reporter on this story: Bernie Pazanowski in Washington at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jessie Kokrda Kamens at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2018 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)