Tag: family law issues

13 Jan

A Pound of Flesh?

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Shocking news out of Garden City, New York last week.  It is one of those incredible stories you hear that will either have you rolling on the floor clutching your gut to stave off the laughing-induced cramps, or shaking your head in disbelief at the state of the world today.

Now that my cramps have subsided…

In July 2005, Dawnell Batista filed for divorce from her husband of fifteen years, 49-year old Long Island surgeon, Dr. Richard Batista.  The couple have three children, age eight to fourteen.

In 2001, after his wife had two prior failed kidney transplants, Batista donated one of his kidneys to her, thereby saving her life.  Batista claims that his wife began having an extramarital affair a couple of years after the transplant.

Instead of going after their million dollar home in Massappequa, Batista now wants his estranged wife to return the donated kidney, although he says he’ll settle for $1.5 million in compensation.  Divorce lawyers say a donated organ is not a marital asset to be divided.  Further, in the U.S., organs cannot be bought or sold.

Speaking to reporters last week, Batista said, "There is no deeper pain that you can ever express than betrayal from somebody who you loved and devoted your life to."  Perhaps, but I’m guessing that having a donated kidney removed might come pretty close.

Hmmmm.  I’m suddenly having second thoughts about asking for those implants…

Jennifer Hartman, Guest Blogger

02 May

The Law and Polygamy in Canada

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The intense media coverage of the raid on the polygamist ranch in Texas has also generated scrutiny of Canada’s polygamous communities.


Polygamy is against the law in Canada but there has not been a prosecution of a case in over sixty years. For a background on the issues surrounding polygamy and Canadian law, read A Polygamy Primer on Osgoode Hall’s law blog, The Court.


The primer provides a link to a collection of research policy reports commissioned by the federal government exploring polygamy in the Canadian context. While the focus of the papers is on polygamy in a criminal law and family law context, the paper by Alberta’s Civil Liberties Research Centre discusses the civil case of Yew v. British Columbia (Attorney General) [1924] 1 D.O.D. 1166 (B.C.C.A.). In the case, the British Columbia Court of Appeal gave limited recognition to a polygamous marriage that had occurred in China to allow the two surviving wives to receive their annuities from their husband’s estate at a lower tax rate.


It will be interesting to see if the possible recognition of polygamous unions in the family law context will have an impact on estates law.


Enjoy your weekend,

Diane Vieira


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