Juan A. Arteaga, Esq. and Ryan A. Kane, Esq.
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP
“We admire our client for enduring great personal hardship in order to fight for her daughter and her tremendous courage to let Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, inMotion and the court system give her justice.”
Ryan and Juan represented Danielle, a young immigrant mother from Aruba and victim of severe financial and emotional abuse, in a complex family offense case in Family Court and a highly contested divorce in Supreme Court.
When Ryan and Juan accepted Danielle’s case, their client had left her husband and fled with her daughter to a friend’s apartment after he threatened to kill her. Danielle had obtained a temporary order of protection and child support order from Family Court. On the same day, in a retaliatory move, her husband filed for an order of protection against Danielle and petitioned for sole custody of their child.
Volunteering to represent Danielle offered Ryan and Juan the opportunity to take the lead role on a case involving complex litigation. Juan stated, “Working on an inMotion case is quite different from our regular work at the firm. When you take on an inMotion matter, you are essentially the senior partner on the case. You're making the strategy decisions; you are drafting everything. This is your client. This is your case. You are responsible for all the decisions—it gives one a tremendous sense of ownership.”
Juan continued, “This is meaningful work. This was the most important thing in Danielle’s life, and that's the way we treated it.”
Ryan and Juan represented Danielle in her complex multi-day family offense trial. “Danielle was a wonderful client,” stated Ryan. “We often viewed her as a third lawyer on the case. She was completely engaged, often giving input on strategy and reading drafts of the documents we were preparing to submit to the court. She did everything she could to make our jobs easier.” Juan added, “And she was a terrific witness; she took trial prep very seriously.”
Ryan continued, “One of the best days we’ve had as lawyers was the day we received the verdicts for the family offense trial. We won on all of our claims. The husband lost on every one his claims—the judge dismissed his case against our client.”
Juan added, “When we called Danielle to tell her the verdicts were in—it was as if we told her she had just won the lottery—she screamed in disbelief as we read each page of the judgment. It was a wonderful moment.” The judge awarded Danielle a three-year permanent order of protection against her husband and dismissed her husband’s case.
The victory in Family Court provided key support to lawyers at Safe Horizon who were helping Danielle self-petition for legal residency under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which allows battered women to apply for legal residency on their own without the involvement of their spouse.
With Danielle’s safety and immigration status protected, Ryan and Juan then helped her obtain a divorce based on the cruel and inhuman treatment of her husband. After much complex discovery, negotiation and litigation, Danielle was awarded full custody of their daugher with limited visitation for the father. Danielle was also awarded a child support judgment which requires her husband to pay his rightful share of their daughter's education, medical and child care expenses.
Ryan and Juan both agreed that representing Danielle was one of the most rewarding experiences they have had while at their firm. “Seeing the look on Danielle’s face when all of this was finally over, told us everything.”
Learn more about Danielle’s case.
Note: All clients' names and personal details have been changed to protect their identities.