Determined whether a victim of domestic violence may be penalized for "failure to produce records" in an eminent domain suit, where she had lost access to her records when fleeing from her abusive husband.
Legal Momentum was an amicus curiae in this case on behalf of Maria Martinez, whose claim for compensation after her restaurant was taken in an eminent domain proceeding was denied, in part because she failed to provide certain records to support her claim-even though Ms. Martinez told the judge that she left those records behind when she fled her abusive husband. Legal Momentum's amicus brief to the Appellate Division argued that the trial court’s unpublished ruling, which stated that even if it were true that she had lost access to the records due to her decision to leave an abusive husband, this would not excuse her "failure" to produce the records, was dangerous to victims of violence. Not only did the court fail to examine the evidentiary support for Ms. Martinez’s claim to have lost access to the records because of domestic violence, but also, it was directly contrary to New York’s strong public policy of supporting victims of domestic violence. The Appellate Division denied Ms. Martinez’s appeal, but it ruled on an entirely separate basis from the failure to produce records, and did not refer to the trial court’s discussion of that issue. Thus, our brief at least succeeded in ensuring that the Appellate Division did not endorse a harmful precedent.