A judge in Hackensack has ruled that an area attorney and her law firm can’t hold a Spanish national convicted in an international child abduction partially liable for $950,000 in damages they were ordered to pay for improperly giving the woman her daughter’s passport.
Superior Court Judge Charles Powers Jr. rejected an appeal of a jury’s verdict this past spring ordering the judgment against Lesnevich & Marzano-Lesnevich and partner Madeline Marzano-Lesnevich.
Thanks to the passport, young Victoria Solenne Innes was taken to her mother’s native Spain in January 2005, violating a parenting agreement.
This ignited a custody dispute between the mother, Maria Jose Carrascosa, and her then-estranged husband, Peter Innes of Hasbrouck Heights — which ended with Carrascosa being sent to prison.
The judge gave Innes full custody of his New Jersey-born daughter and ordered Carrascosa to bring the girl back. But her family obtained a Spanish decree that Victoria not leave the country until she is 18. Then 4½ and now 11 years old, she reportedly remains with Carrascosa’s parents, Jose and Juana Maria Carrascosa, in Valencia.
Diplomatic efforts have failed, according to Law.com, which cited a live video conference from the U.S. embassy in Madrid.
Bergen County prosecutors won a jury’s conviction against Carrascosa, who was once an attorney herself, for interfering with custody and contempt of court. She has lost all of her appeals — right up to the U.S. Supreme Court — and is serving a 14-year sentence at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women, in Clinton.
The judge said he would reconsider the sentence if Victoria is returned here.
Innes, meanwhile, sued the law firm, which withdrew as Carrascosa’s counsel in May 2005 (the couple were divorced four years ago).
Lesnevich & Marzano-Lesnevich countered that it wasn’t an official trustee. But jurors in May unanimously upheld the claim, awarding Innes $700,000 and Victoria $250,000. Lesnevich & Marzano-Lesnevich appealed to Powers, who issued his ruling earlier this month.
The Philadelphia-born Innes, who runs a successful ad agency (Innes Communications) continues to petition both governments for the return of his daughter.
According to law.com, Madeline Marzano-Lesnevich is a past chairwoman of the State Bar Association’s Family Practice Committee, a current member of the Supreme Court Family Practice Committee, a certified matrimonial law attorney and a fellow in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.