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Family Law
Wayne State University Law School
Mahoney, Kathleen

Matthew M. Kavanagh, Rewriting the Legal Family: Beyond Exclusivity to a Care-Based Standard
Baker v. State p. 10
Vermont Supreme Court, 1999. 170 Vt. 194, 744 A.2d 864.
Pamela Smock & Wendy Manning, Living Together Unmarried in the United States: Demographic Perspectives and Implication for Family Policy-p. 11
Braschi v. Stahl Associates Company p. 15
Court of Appeals of New York, 1989.
74 N.Y.2d 201, 544 N.Y.S.2d 784, 543 N.E.2d 49. 
FACTS. Miguel Braschi lived for about 10 years with Leslie Blanchard, another man, in a rent-controlled apartment in New York City listed under Leslie’s name. The two men were considered a “couple” by their friends and families as well as by the building’s superintendent and doormen. Leslie died, and P received an eviction notice from Stahl Associates Company (D), the owner of the building. The rent control ordinance provided that upon the death of a rent-control tenant, the landlord may not dispossess either the surviving spouse of the deceased tenant or “some other member of the decease tenant’s family” who has been living with the tenant. P sought an injunction against D’s eviction proceeding. The trial court found that P was a “family member” under the noneviction ordinance and granted the preliminary injunction. The appellate division reversed on the ground that the ordinance only protected family members within the traditional, legally recognized familial relationships. P appeals. 
ISSUE. Does a noneviction ordinance that protects “family members” of a deceased tenant who lived in the dwelling apply to a male life partner of a deceased male tenant? 
HELD. Yes. Judgment reversed. 
            1) The rent control ordinances can only work if evictions are also regulated and controlled. Landlords such as D must obtain a certificate for eviction before evicting anyone, and the protection against eviction of family members fulfills the objective of the rent control ordinances. However, public policy also aims at a transition toward a normal market of free bargaining. 
            2) D claims that the free market objective is best accomplished by interpreting the term “family member” to mean relationships of blood, consanguinity, and adoption, so that only those entitled to inherit under the laws of intestacy would be granted noneviction protection. However, the rent control ordinance has a different objective than the intestacy laws. Tenants do not have an alienable property right. Such an interpretation could protect distant blood relatives whose relationship to the deceased was only superficial. 
            3) The term “family” should not be limited to those who have formalized their relationship by obtaining a marriage certificate, but should be based on

d adoption, or marriage (Ps) sought an injunction under 42 USC section 1983 declaring the village ordinance unconstitutional (after they were served with an order to remedy violations of the ordinance). The district court upheld the ordinance but the court of appeals reversed. D appeals. 
ISSUE. May a municipality restrict land use to single-family residences?
HELD. Yes. Judgment reversed. 
1)      The Court upheld a comprehensive zoning plan in Village of Euclid v. Ambler Realty Co. Such plans are a valid exercise of the police power in the interests of the public welfare. The interests asserted by the government in that case were not arbitrary. 
2)      In Berman v. Parker, the Court held that the concept of public welfare should be broadly viewed. It is not confined to elimination of filth, stench, and unhealthy places, but may be used to lay out zones where family values, youth values, and the blessings of quiet seclusion and clean air make the area a sanctuary for people. So long as the zoning law is reasonable and bears and rational relationship to a permissable state objective, there is no “taking” requiring compensation.