Fathers Group's Bias Claim Dismissed

Lawyers Weekly

February 21, 2000

U.S. District Court Judge Edward F. Harrington recently dismissed a lawsuit by a men's rights group alleging that Probate & Family Court judges are biased against men.

Harrington, in an unpublished opinion, rejected the claim of the plaintiffs six divorced men and a fathers' rights group called the Fatherhood Coalition that they were being denied equal protection under the law as a result of blatant bias in domestic relations cases.

Harrington, according to published reports, also determined that judges are immune from being sued.

David F. Grossack of Hull, who represented the plaintiffs, said he was "extremely disappointed and unhappy with the decision. The judge and I have a different view of the Constitution and how 42 U.S.C. Sect. 1983 should be applied to state court judges."

Grossack claimed the issue will not go away, citing a half-dozen or so similar cases pending in other states, as well as ongoing cases in Massachusetts alleging discrimination against men in Chapter 209A restraining order proceedings.

The case is Nollet, et al. v. Justices of the Trial Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, U.S. District Court No. 99-CV-11861.

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