The First Department refused to dismiss the appeal of this Family Court civil contempt matter pursuant to the fugitive disentitlement doctrine (which authorizes the dismissal of an appeal if the appellant has left the jurisdiction). Here father was in Japan:
Although the father is in Japan, we decline to dismiss the appeal pursuant to the fugitive disentitlement doctrine. There is no “nexus” connecting the father’s fugitive status and these proceedings … . The father has continued to appear virtually in court, communicate with his counsel, and consent to relief sought by the mother. He has complied with the terms of his probation and submitted an affidavit stating that he will return to New York to comply with any court order. Under these circumstances, we find that the father has not “flout[ed] the judicial process,” frustrated the operation of the courts, or prejudiced the mother’s rights by leaving the jurisdiction to warrant dismissal of the appeal … .Matter of Hilary C. v Michael K., 2022 NY Slip Op 01512, First Dept 3-10-22
Practice Point: If an appellant leaves the court’s jurisdiction (here father went to Japan), the appeal may be dismissed pursuant to the fugitive disentitlement doctrine. The doctrine was not applied in this Family Court civil contempt case because father participated in court proceedings virtually and stated he would return to New York to comply with any court order.