April 10, 2008 --
A Maryland Court of Appeals upheld a jury's decision on Wednesday, granting Michael Shannon over 3 million dollars in punitive and compensatory damages. The decision is stemming from visitation interference against Shannon's ex-wife and mother-in-law,
after they abducted their two sons to Egypt. This is a groundbreaking case and is the first successful case in the US filed over an international kidnapping and
is precedent setting.
International fathers' rights attorney Jeffery M. Leving, who is coordinating all litigation in the US and Egypt for the father, said this verdict is part of his strategy to put pressure on the mother to return the children.
Leving has also retained Egyptian counsel to persuade the Egyptian court in Cairo to recognize and enforce Mr. Shannon's custody orders entered in a US court.
"The decision was closure to six years of criminal and civil court dates. Throughout, [I] have yet to be once on the 'losing' side of any judge or jury's outcome. Yet the changes in the state and federal law have done
nothing for my family or sons. [The] only solace is they all know -- or will someday know the extraordinary efforts gone to recover the boys, and that we have never
stopped thinking of them ... " says Mr. Shannon.
The court opinion, written by Judge Lynne A. Battaglia, says the
Khalifas "Consciously and knowingly have deprived a father of the love and comfort of his two children for an extended period of time." The opinion also stated that Mr. Shannon will never be fully compensated for the time he has lost with his children.
Jeffery M. Leving is representing Mr. Shannon and working closely with Shannon's counsel in Maryland. Leving is coordinating all efforts and contacts between Shannon
and his Egyptian attorney, who will represent him at trial for his pending appeal in Egypt to attempt to convince the Egyptian court to order the mother to return the boys to the US. The boy's mother, who has dual citizenship in Egypt and the US, will face criminal charges if she returns to the US. The ex-wife's mother was convicted of kidnapping and incarcerated in Maryland, but was recently deported to Egypt.
Shannon v. Khalifa will have a significant effect on the future of parental rights. Not only is this case a victory for Mr. Shannon, but it's a victory for parents
who have had their children abducted and taken out of the United States," says Fathers' Rights attorney Jeffery M. Leving. Leving went on to say this decision should be a warning to anyone who interferes with a parent's visitation rights. He says in addition to contempt or other sanctions, the wrongdoer could now face the
prospect of having to pay a fortune.