FVAP August 2014 e-newsletter
What a summer it's been...

In this issue: 

  • FVAP achieves legal victories in court in incredible 6-0 winning streak
  • Battle of the Bands events raise 217K
  • Thank you to co-founder Sonya Passi
  • Welcome new Board members

FVAP's Legal Victories Make a Real Difference for Survivors of Domestic Violence

FVAP is thrilled to report that we have won 6 cases in the last 2 months.  Two years ago, we started FVAP based on the idea that appealing domestic violence cases could help not only our clients, but all survivors of domestic violence with cases in California family courts. Today, we feel gratified that our approach is working.  FVAP's string of legal victories in the appellate courts will have a very real impact on the law that domestic violence survivors can use to support their cases in trial courts.

Our success rate in affirmative appeals is 80%, well above the statewide average of 21%.

Our success rate in defending appeals is 100%.

And we have obtained 5 published cases in 2014 so far, plus one in 2013.

With your support, FVAP is changing the legal landscape.  Here is a brief summary of our recent legal victories:
  • Christina L. v. Chauncey B. (August 14, 2014) (trial court erred by completely ignoring our client's domestic violence restraining order and failing to apply the presumption against awarding child custody to abusers when it ordered joint custody) (counsel, request for publication pending)
  • Keisha W. v. Marvin M. (August 7, 2014) (affirming trial court's award of child custody and restraining order to our client, who had fled from Texas to escape abuse, because California was the child's home state when the case was filed) (counsel, request for publication pending)
  • Gou v. Xiao (August 4, 2014) __ Cal.App.4th __ (parents can seek restraining orders based on abuse against their children; abuse of a party’s child can constitute abuse of the party requesting a restraining order because it places the party in reasonable apprehension of imminent serious bodily injury to the child and disturbs the party’s peace) (amicus counsel, obtained publication)
  • In re Marriage of I.T. and A.T. (July 23, 2014) (party seeking a domestic violence restraining order need not demonstrate she was not the “primary aggressor” or that the other person was the primary aggressor) (counsel, request for publication pending)
  • Nevarez v. Tonna (July 1, 2014) __ Cal.App.4th __ (court required to find only a past act of abuse to issue a restraining order, not likelihood of future abuse) (counsel)
  • Vafai v. Weissman (June 17, 2014) (upholding our client’s five-year restraining order protecting her from an ex-boyfriend who physically abused her and threatened her life) (counsel)
Thank you very much to our pro bono co-counsel in these cases, Dentons, Simpson Thacher, Reed Smith, Mayer Brown, Taylor & Co., DLA Piper, and Qualcomm.

For more information about FVAP's legal victories and our other work, click here.


Battle of the Bands Events a Huge Success

We invited you, and you came.

They played, and you listened.  And cheered.  And voted.

Glory was achieved.  Winners were crowned.  And thanks to you, FVAP raised over 217K to support our case work (see above), trainings, and other work to help survivors of domestic violence and their children in California.

On June 19, hundreds of music fans gathered to hear 6 bands battle it out at 1015 Folsom in San Francisco.  In the end, the O'Melveny & Myers/Twitter band, Bad Larry & the Legalese, squeezed out a narrow victory over last year's champion, Jones Day and the Objections (from Jones Day, of course).  Huge thanks to the other bands that played, from Latham & Watkins, Google, Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, and Kirkland & Ellis, and of course to all our sponsors.  Check out the photos of the event here.
Not to be outdone, only two weeks later on July 8, the legal community in Los Angeles came together at the Belasco Theater to hear 11 bands play on 2 stages in an epic battle of musical talent.  Band Morrison of Morrison & Foerster was crowned champion, with Proskauer Rose's Legally Blonde and Qualcomm's Power Control taking second and third place.  Thank you to all the other bands (from DLA Piper, Gibson Dunn, Latham & Watkins, Norton Rose Fulbright & Case Knowlson, O'Melveny & Myers, Perkins Coie, Reed Smith, and The Collective CA) for helping the legal community let down its hair and have some fun.  And eternal thanks to all our sponsors.

Check out photos here and the American Lawyer article about the event here.
From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for coming out, for playing, for voting, for caring about survivors of domestic violence and their children, and for supporting FVAP. We look forward to seeing you next year.

Thank You Sonya Passi... We Wouldn't Be Here Without You

In late 2011, FVAP co-founders Sonya Passi and Alex Scott had an audacious idea: Since no one in California is appealing domestic violence cases, we'll do it.  Less than three years later, FVAP not only exists, but we are filling an important gap in legal services in California, making real changes in the legal landscape, and not just sustaining but expanding our staff.

We wouldn't be here without Sonya, and today we send her our heartfelt thanks -- for her vision, hard work, and inspiration.  With FVAP now well-established with a strong leadership team and positioned for an extremely promising future, and with her relocation to the East Coast, Sonya is transitioning from her role as a Board member to an Honorary Board member.  We look forward to continuing to work with Sonya in this new capacity and wish her all the best in her new endeavors.


Meet Our New Board Members

FVAP is pleased to welcome our two newest board members, Anna-Rose Mathieson and Brittany Tyler.  Anna-Rose is Counsel at O'Melveny & Myers and specializes in appellate practice.  Brittany, a second-year law student at UC Berkeley, continues FVAP's commitment to and legacy of law student involvement in our work.  Check out their impressive bios and those of our full Board of Directors on our website.

Welcome to the FVAP family, Anna-Rose and Brittany.

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Family Violence Appellate Project, 2850 Telegraph Avenue, Suite 500, Berkeley, CA 94705
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