I actually sat and watched all 25 previous James Bond movies (yes, counting Sean Connery’s Never Say Never Again) during the first month of “lockdown” in April of 2020. So when I give my usual “this list will not be your list” disclaimer, I should also note that this list won’t necessarily be the list I […]
Brad Pitt Challenges Ruling in Custody Battle Against Angelina Jolie
which would later lead Jolie to try to discountenance the judge’s ruling. In July, a California appeals court approved her request to disqualify the judge. According to her legal team, Ouderkirk failed to “disclose multiple professional, business and financial relationships, ongoing during the course of the matter, with Brad Pitt’s counsel and their law firms.”
Consequently, Jolie retained full-time custody of their kids, while Pitt maintained visitation rights.
So, the Moneyball actor is now responding in court, filing a petition with the California Supreme Court to review the case, which E! News obtained on Sept. 1.
“The Court of Appeal effectively upended the constitutionally authorized temporary judging system in California and generated widespread confusion, uncertainty, and instability for judges, litigants, and the California judicial system as a whole,” it reads.
When it comes to the Oscar winners’ custody case, the petition states, “After more than four years of contentious litigation, every day of which has harmed the children and their father, an important and considered custody decision will be entirely undone as a result of an administrative error that is wholly unrelated to the merits of the custody dispute itself.”
Pitt’s camp accuses Jolie of waiting three and a half years to seek disqualification of Judge Ouderkirk, even though she was allegedly “made aware of Judge Ouderkirk’s significant professional history with Pitt’s counsel from the very start.”
Pitt’s team argues the judge was “improperly disqualified after providing a detailed, fact-based custodial decision,” said his lawyer, Theodore J. Boutrous Jr.
The attorney said this type of “strategic” disqualification can “cause irreparable harm” to the children and families involved “by unnecessarily prolonging” the legal battle. “Allowing this kind of crafty litigation strategy will deprive parents of irreplaceable time with their children,” Boutrous stated.
However, Jolie’s lawyer praised the appeals court for disqualifying the judge and giving the Maleficent actress full custody.
“The Court of Appeal unanimously refused to tolerate the ethical violations of the private judge,” said her lawyer, Robert A. Olson, in a statement to E! News.
Pitt’s petition shows he is “clinging to this private judge who exhibited bias and refused statutorily required evidence,” Olson said, adding, “It is disturbing that in full knowledge of unethical behavior, and having previously failed to disclose their new and ongoing financial relationships with him, Mr. Pitt’s counsel would seek to reinstate the private judge.”
Jolie hopes Pitt will “join her in focusing on the children’s needs, voices, and healing,” according to Olson.
In the ruling from the appeals court, three judges determined that “Ouderkirk’s ethical breach,” along with information about his alleged connection to Pitt’s lawyers, allow one to “reasonably to entertain a doubt as to the judge’s ability to be impartial.” They wrote, “Disqualification is required.”
Per the ruling, Ouderkirk said he “made all required disclosures in a timely manner at the time of his initial appointment.”