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Saturday, November 23, 2013

#BabyVeronica: Cherokee Nation Files Forceful Response to Capobiancos' $1 Million Attorneys' Fees Suit

November is Adoption Awareness Month
11/23/13

On Friday the Cherokee Nation came out swinging in their response to the motion filed weeks ago in Nowata, Oklahoma county court in Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, in which Matt and Melanie Capobianco are seeking approximately $1 million in attorneys' fees and costs. Their recent filing in Oklahoma is the second jurisdiction in which they have sought compensation in the four-year custody battle that ended in September when Dusten Brown relinquished his biological daughter to the Capobiancos after losing at the United States Supreme Court in June. Immediately following the child's transfer in September, the couple filed similar litigation in South Carolina seeking roughly $500,000 in that state.

RELATED: Capobiancos Sue Dusten Brown for Nearly Half a Million in Fees
Cherokee Nation Mourns as Veronica Is Returned to Adoptive Family

In its 50-page response, the tribe bluntly told Nowata County Judge Curtis DeLapp that it is not responsible for paying the fees and costs for the Capobiancos because of its Eleventh Amendment sovereign immunity from suits without its express consent. Additionally, the tribe said that the statute under which the couple is seeking compensation, the Uniform Child Custody and Jurisdiction Enforcement Act, is not applicable to the tribe.

"Clearly, these people are trying to throw spaghetti at the wall in whatever court they can find to see what's going to stick," said an Oklahoma lawyer who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the case. "But, several things immediately come to mind. First, the tribe is a sovereign nation and cannot be sued without its express consent - and to my knowledge the Cherokee Nation is not in the habit of waiving their immunity. Second, this is a domestic case, one in which both the Capobiancos and Dusten Brown were represented pro bono, which was widely understood by everyone on both sides. To come after the fact asking for fees that the adoptive couple would not have had to pay had they lost, it then becomes a 'contingency' case. Contingency fees are never awarded in domestic relations, so that's a null.

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2013/11/23/cherokee-nation-files-forceful-response-capobiancos-1-million-attorneys-fees-suit-152405

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