Judge Criticizes Quets' Custody Action
Posted March 24, 2008 3:21 p.m. EDT
Updated March 25, 2009 12:00 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — A judge has ordered a birth mother who kidnapped twins from their adoptive parents to pay the couple's legal fees, saying the woman pursued flimsy claims against them in court.
Allison Quets pleaded guilty last fall to international parental kidnapping and was placed on probation for five years. She spent more than eight months in jail before agreeing to plead guilty.
Quets took the twins, who were 17 months old at the time, on Dec. 22, 2006, from their adoptive parents, Kevin and Denise Needham, following an approved visit. Authorities apprehended her a week later in Ottawa, Ontario, and returned the twins to the Apex couple.
She has fought their adoption for more than two years, saying she was ill after suffering medical problems during her pregnancy and that she signed adoption papers under duress.
After Florida trial and appellate courts terminated Quets' parental rights in the case, she pursued the case in Wake County. She filed suit last fall to regain visitation rights, stating the adoption was contingent upon her "retaining a continuing and familiar role" in the lives of the children after the adoption was finalized.
District Judge Anne Salisbury dismissed her claims in January, saying she couldn't seek visitation because her parental rights had been terminated.
Salisbury last week filed an order requiring Quets to pay the Needhams' legal fees in the Wake County lawsuit, ruling that Quets filed the suit – and even misled her attorney – knowing she had few facts and legal arguments on her side.
"While (Quets') purpose has always been to resume contact with her biological children, the practical effect has been the creation of a financial and emotional burden on the (Needhams)," Salisbury wrote in the 17-page decision.(Quets was artificially inseminated, so she is the birth mother, but not the biological mother.)
Quets plans to appeal the ruling, according to her attorney, Mike Harrell. She also is appealing Salisbury's January ruling ending her lawsuit.
The Needhams' attorney, Deborah Sandlin, has until April 1 to provide a breakdown of the couple's legal expenses in the case.