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Mayer Brown Victory for Cardinal Noberto Rivera Affirmed by California Court of Appeal

5 February 2009
5 February 2009 – Mayer Brown, a leading global law firm, secured a victory for Mexico City Cardinal Norberto Rivera when the California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division Seven, affirmed an earlier Superior Court decision in a case about an alleged conspiracy to protect an priest accused of sexual misconduct.

The decision in Joaquin M. v. Cardinal Norberto Rivera et al. dismisses the case for lack of jurisdiction.  Associate Justice Frank Y. Jackson wrote the opinion and noted this particular point.

“California has no interest in providing a forum to resolve a claim having its genesis in Mexico,” Judge Jackson wrote. “Given that the abuse occurred in Mexico…the resolution of plaintiff’s claim would be most efficient in Mexico.”

“We are pleased with the California Court of Appeal ruling,” said Mayer Brown partner Steve Selsberg, who led the Mayer Brown team that successfully represented Cardinal Rivera. “This isn't a case to be judged in the United States. There is no evidence that Cardinal Rivera knew anything about the priest’s alleged misconduct. The California court correctly respected Mexico’s system of justice.”

The earlier ruling in Los Angeles County Superior Court came on Oct. 17, 2007, when Judge Elihu M. Berle dismissed a lawsuit against Cardinal Rivera, who had been accused of conspiring with Roman Catholic officials in the U.S. to transfer a priest, Father Nicholas Aguilar, accused of sexual misconduct in the U.S. and Mexico.

Plaintiff Joaquin Mendez filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging that Rivera, who was then a bishop in Puebla state, knew about the alleged misconduct when he sent him to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

In addition to Mr. Selsberg, other Mayer Brown attorneys who worked on the case were partner Donald Falk and associate Evan Wooten.

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