Court Battles

Appeals court temporarily allows ER doctor to keep child custody during pandemic


A Miami appeals court has suspended a judge’s order that ruled an emergency room doctor lost custody of her daughter during the coronavirus pandemic, The Miami Herald reported

Miami’s Third District Court of Appeals issued a stay for Judge Bernard Shapiro’s order to allow physician Theresa Greene’s ex-husband Eric Greene to have full custody of their 4-year-old daughter. With the order suspended, Theresa Greene will continue to share split custody as the legal process continues. 

Shapiro’s original order said the suspension of custody was “solely related to the outbreak of COVID-19” and to “protect the best interests” of the child, CNN and NBC affiliate WTVJ-TV in Miami reported. The order would have allowed Theresa Greene to have “daily video communication” and to make up the lost days of custody in the future. 

The doctor, who had been divorced from Eric Greene for almost two years, accused the court of discriminating against her as a divorced parent. Theresa Greene has said she wears personal protective equipment at work and has tested negative for the virus.  

Her lawyer Steven Nullman wrote in a statement obtained by The Hill that the split custody will be “temporarily restored effective immediately” and he and his client were “thrilled” with the result. 

“While we are beyond grateful for today’s ruling, we know that this matter is far from over. We will continue to work diligently for Dr. Greene, her daughter and all the other first responders and medical professionals,” Nullman said in the statement.

Eric Greene’s lawyer Paul Leinoff said in a statement to The Hill that the father’s concern “was and continues to be the immediate safety of the minor child.” He said the father will comply with the latest order to return to the regular timesharing agreement.

“Just as Mr. Greene initially sought the help of the law to protect the child, he will comply with and honor this latest order of the appellate court regarding the most appropriate means to maintain the child’s safety,” Leinoff said.

“Mr. Greene and I reiterate our respect for the important job being done by Dr. Greene and her fellow healthcare providers and we pray for their health as they continue their difficult work during this pandemic,” he added.

The original ruling giving Eric Greene full custody during the pandemic caused an uproar in the medical community, including the American College of Emergency Physicians. 

The group’s president, William Jaquis, said in a statement to The Hill that the organization “stands in solidarity” with Theresa Greene.

Updated at 3:11 p.m.

Tags Child custody Coronavirus COVID-19 doctor emergency room Florida Miami

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