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NPO publishes blog articles to inform and to stimulate conversation about issues of importance to NPO's mission.  All blog articles express the opinions of the authors as individuals and do not necessarily reflect the views of National Parents Organization, its Board of Directors, or its executives.  

February 17, 2019 by Robert Franklin, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Signs and wonders.  Carlos and Jemima Guimaraes have filed suit against Dr. Chris Brann.  Really, they have.  I’m not making this up(Houston Chronicle, 2/14/19).
A wealthy Brazilian couple, sentenced to federal prison for helping kidnap their grandson, sued their ex-son-in-law this week, alleging that he defrauded the court in the trial that led to their convictions.
Carlos and Jemima are, as I’ve written numerous times, the parents of Marcelle Guimaraes, who, over four years ago, kidnapped her son Nicolas from his home in Houston to her native Brazil.  That was done with the active participation of Carlos and Jemima.  They were apprehended in Florida and brought to trial in Houston on criminal charges related to their role in the kidnapping.  They were convicted and given the lightest of taps on the wrist by the federal judge presiding in their case.

Now they’ve decided to sue Dr. Brann.  Their theory appears to be that he lied to the court when he said Marcelle abused Nico.
At a news conference Thursday morning, the Guimaraes' lawyer, Jeff Diamant, said Brann had twisted the narrative of his marriage to their daughter, portraying himself as the victim of domestic violence when he was in fact the perpetrator.
Here’s how I would translate that message: attorney observes wealthy couple who are unhappy with their conviction for abetting the kidnapping of a little boy.  Attorney convinces couple he can help them achieve the “justice” they believe they’ve been denied.  Wealthy couple is used to getting their own way in their native Brazil and therefore is ready to believe attorney.

The fact is that this lawsuit has essentially no chance of success.  That’s because all the issues it raises have already been decided and are thus precluded from being re-litigated by the doctrine of res-judicata.  If the Guimaraes had wanted to complain that Brann wasn’t telling the truth about his behavior during his marriage, they had ample opportunity to bring the matter up, produce countervailing evidence and let the trier of fact decide.

Come to think of it, that’s exactly what they did.  One of their main defenses in the criminal matter was that they were protecting Nico from further abuse by Brann.  The judge gave that defense careful consideration, even postponing for several days his decision on whether to enter the jury’s verdict or not.  Both the jury and the judge rejected the Guimaraes’ claim.

In fact, so did several other courts.  The family court in Houston found Marcelle to be the abusive parent and there was plenty of evidence to back it up.  One former nanny for Nico testified that Marcelle was an indifferent and sometimes abusive mother and that Dr. Brann was concerned, loving and nurturing.  At least one mental health professional said much the same.
Brann's attorney, Alan Daughtry, called the lawsuit "frivolous" and "further harrassment" of Brann, a physician. He said Brann intends to file a motion to dismiss the suit.
"(The) claim of 'fraud on the court' has already been rejected, as Dr. Brann has prevailed on the merits before a federal jury, a federal judge, a Texas trial court judge, and the First Court of Appeals," Daughtry wrote in a statement Thursday.
And then of course there are the courts in Brazil that have rejected all claims of abuse by Dr. Brann.  That’s the more remarkable because, at every turn, those courts have sided with Marcelle, even violating Brazilian judicial procedure and the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction to do so.

In short, numerous courts have considered the claims of child abuse made against Chris Brann and every one of them has rejected them.  You’d think that would persuade the Guimaraes that it’s time to drop the subject.  After all, they’ve won.  Brazilian courts have dragged out the process so long that they’ve decided, in violation of the Hague Convention, to embrace Marcelle’s kidnapping of her son and deny Dr. Brann any chance of getting his son back.

Her kidnapping has been given the Brazilian judiciary’s stamp of approval.  Nico will never come home.  What more do the Guimaraes want?  Yes, they have boatloads of money with which to harass and abuse Dr. Brann, and they appear intent on doing exactly that.  But, at long last, have they no decency, no shame?  Why don’t they just go home to Brazil and enjoy the grandson they’ve worked so hard to deprive of his father?

The civil court in which they filed their suit should dismiss it and levy damages and attorney’s fees against the Guimaraes for filing a frivolous suit.  Perhaps that will convince them that their fight is at an end and they should take their winnings and leave.

Signs and wonders.  That a fit and loving father should have his son taken from him, that all the courts in two supposedly civilized nations should be unable and unwilling to provide justice to him and his son and that two wrongdoers should file suit against him are all signs and wonders.  Signs of a deeply dysfunctional society.  Wonders that we have no notion that what we do regarding families brings us down – all of us.

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