A mother’s four children had been summarily removed from her custody into foster care after the father’s “expert” accused the mother of suffering from Munchausen’s Syndrome by Proxy and of “coaching” the children’s sexual abuse reports against the father. Michael Lesher drafted all the legal papers defending her from the accusation and pointing out the deficiencies in the methods and conclusions of the “expert.” The expert was largely removed from the case, and the mother was eventually reunited with all four of her children.
Michael Lesher drafted all appellate papers for another mother accused by her ex-husband of suffering from Munchausen’s Syndrome by Proxy. All of the ex-husband’s claims on appeal, including a demand for joint custody, were successfully defeated. Later, the father was barred from contact with professionals involved in the case for a six-month period in order to ensure successful therapy for the child.
A mother lost custody of her young son to the boy’s father after the boy’s attorney, ignoring evidence of abusive behavior by the father, accused the mother of attempting to alienate the child from him. Michael Lesher drafted all appellate briefs for the mother, seeking the child’s return and the disqualification of the child’s attorney.
Because her daughters reported abusive behavior by their father, a mother “temporarily” lost custody to the father and could only see her daughters under supervision. When this had lasted eight months, Michael Lesher drafted papers on her behalf arguing that these conditions violated procedural and substantive legal requirements. As a result, supervision of the mother’s visits was removed and the first steps were taken toward the reunification of the mother with her daughters.
Even after a court concluded that a divorced father had committed acts constituting child abuse, the father sought expanded visitation and custody. Michael Lesher drafted motion papers and appellate papers opposing these efforts.
A mother gave up child support in exchange for her ex-husband’s agreement to give her full custody of the couple’s child. She had made the agreement out of concern for the child’s welfare. Michael Lesher drafted an extensive research memorandum showing that the agreement was unenforceable to bar the mother from seeking appropriate child support, since as a matter of public policy the court could not endorse the father’s trade of custody for a more favorable financial “agreement.”
Two small children were removed from a mother’s custody without appropriate evidence and based upon apparently improper actions by the child’s guardian ad litem. Michael Lesher drafted a thorough research memorandum demonstrating grounds invalidating the order.
A father credibly accused of sexual abuse by two of his children sought a reduction in child support as a result of the ensuing litigation. The trial court granted his request. Michael Lesher wrote the appellate briefs seeking reversal of this ruling, demonstrating that the litigation could not be blamed on improper actions by the mother.
A father “graduated” from a sex offender’s program, despite polygraph test results suggesting he had sexually abused his stepdaughter and lied about it, leading a family court judge to approve visits between the father and his children. Although the decision was upheld on appeal, Michael Lesher’s papers laid the groundwork for the judge’s later suspension of visitation due to complaints from the children that the father was not being honest.
Michael Lesher prepared direct examination and cross-examination of witnesses, wrote motion papers and a letter brief, and prepared litigation strategy on behalf of a mother who was accused of interfering with visitation by an allegedly abusive father.
Michael Lesher prepared direct examination and cross-examination of all witnesses, and prepared written closing statements, on behalf of a mother seeking to prevent unsupervised visits between her young daughter and the girl’s allegedly abusive father.
A mother had lost custody of her young daughter to a father she suspected of abuse. Michael Lesher wrote the successful motion papers that enabled her to regain custody of her daughter. He also wrote the appellate brief successfully defeating the father’s attempt to reverse the result.
A mother’s children were summarily removed following accusations made against her. Michael Lesher wrote motion papers on the mother’s behalf, and prepared an expert witness for a court hearing at which the motion was heard. As a result, the proceeding against the mother was dismissed.
A mother had lost custody of her children to their father in a proceeding in which she was penalized for having been critical of the behavior of Child Protective Services personnel. She was not even allowed visits with the children except with the father’s permission. Michael Lesher wrote a complex motion for the mother, seeking a change of this arrangement; as a result, she obtained increased visits and a revision of the terms of the custody/visitation order.
Custody of a mother’s minor children was transferred to the father without a trial. As a result of motion papers drafted by Michael Lesher, the mother was granted a full evidentiary hearing on the children’s custody.
A condominium association attempted to make costly and possibly hazardous renovations to the condominium buildings despite the unit owners’ lack of consent. Many were elderly and could not cope with the massive project, for which no adequate reason was given. Michael Lesher drafted court papers to stop the association from proceeding. As a result, the association scaled back the proposed renovation and instead pursued needed repairs.
A young child had accused her father of sexually abusing her. Family Court penalized the mother for her supposedly “delusional” belief that the abuse occurred; however, critical evidence confirming the abuse incident was suppressed. Michael Lesher wrote a motion brief seeking to invalidate this ruling based on a previously unused “error coram nobis” theory.
Michael Lesher wrote the appeal for a mother who alleged she had been forced into an inequitable agreement with her ex-husband over custody and child support. The appellate court reduced the amount of child support owed by the mother.
After fundamentalist Jews took possession of a 13-year-old girl against her mother’s wishes, they sought to validate their actions by filing a custody petition with Family Court. Michael Lesher wrote the mother’s papers opposing the petition. Ultimately the case was resolved through settlement.
Michael Lesher wrote all pleadings and motion papers in a woman’s action against a large investment company, seeking damages for the company’s disclosure of a client’s private information to a man who had allegedly threatened her. These papers defeated the company’s attempts to dismiss the action and a settlement was obtained.
A mother lost custody and was charged by CPS with “child neglect” because her young son reported being sexually abused by his father, and she (the mother) believed the child. Michael Lesher drafted a motion which resulted in the dismissal, before trial, of the petition against her. Trial work based on Michael Lesher’s research resulted in a change of custody to the mother.
Michael Lesher provided the appellate briefs and motion papers in an appeal involving the distribution of marital assets in a divorce. Based on Lesher’s arguments, the appellate court awarded his client, the ex-wife, $50,000 in attorney’s fees.
Michael Lesher drafted the appellate briefs for a woman whose marital support was suspended for eight months by a New York judge after she was found in contempt of court. The appellate court agreed with Lesher’s arguments against such a penalty and ordered a refund to the woman of nearly $85,000.
On behalf of victims of child sex abuse allegedly committed by a rabbi, now a fugitive in Israel, Michael Lesher pursued a suit under New York’s Freedom of Information Law seeking to compel the Brooklyn District Attorney to disclose information regarding extradition attempts. The trial court ruled in Lesher’s favor; after an appellate court reversed, Lesher took the case to New York’s highest court. Lesher’s oral argument before that court may be seen by clicking ; his briefs for the New York high court, and other information about the case, can be found by clicking . (The briefs are linked below the heading “Michael Lesher’s Freedom of Information Lawsuit.”) As a result of this litigation, the District Attorney finally released over a hundred pages relating to the attempted extradition.
Michael Lesher was consulted by a mother who was involved in a divorce from a politically-connected man who may have allowed the couple’s daughter to be sexually abused. Over several months, she was able to avoid pitfalls that could have resulted in her losing custody.
A mother was convicted of custodial interference, a felony, after her 13-year-old daughter ran away from the father’s house and the mother failed to force the child to return against her will (the child having threatened to run away into the streets if she were forced to her father’s). After trial assistance and, afterward, post-judgment challenges drafted largely by Michael Lesher, an appellate court reversed her conviction.
Michael Lesher drafted the complaint and briefs in a federal court action against a father who had been charged with raping his young daughter, and against prosecutors who allegedly abandoned the case against him because of a policy not to pursue cases of incestuous sexual assaults as seriously as other rapes. After trial, a jury awarded the child a $1 million verdict against the father; Michael Lesher wrote the appellate briefs for the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals seeking to have the criminal case against the father reinstated, and presented oral argument before the court. (The oral argument may be heard by clicking .) When the appeal was denied, Michael Lesher wrote a certiorari petition seeking review by the Supreme Court.
A parent had filed a civil rights complaint against Child Protective Services officials after they improperly detained children in foster care. A federal magistrate recommended dismissal of the action on various complex grounds. Michael Lesher drafted the brief objecting to the recommendation and seeking reinstatement of the action against CPS.
Michael Lesher drafted all motion papers, and appellate briefs, in a federal civil rights action against state officials alleging violations of the right of free speech. (The appeal was defeated 2-1 over a strong dissent; the Supreme Court declined to review the case.)
Michael Lesher drafted the pleadings, and all motion papers, in a federal equal-protection action challenging the constitutionality of a law limiting the time in which a child abuse survivor could commence an action against her alleged abuser.