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New Jersey Teen’s Lawsuit Against Parents Hits Roadblock

Updated on: 2/18/2019

A New Jersey judge on Tuesday denied a high school girl’s request for immediate financial assistance from her parents, which stemmed from a lawsuit she filed against them after she ran away from home in October 2013.

According to court documents, 18-year-old high school senior Rachel Canning claims that her parents kicked her out of their home and that as a result, she is unable to financially support herself. She filed a lawsuit against her parents requesting that they pay the remaining balance of her private high school tuition, in addition to her current living and transportation expenses and future college tuition.

The future of Canning’s lawsuit appears much bleaker now, as Judge Peter Bogaard on Tuesday denied the girl’s request to have her parents pay her high school tuition and current living expenses, according to a news report from CNN.

Judge Will Hold Additional Court Hearing in April

Judge Bogaard said that a second hearing will be held in April to address other issues in the lawsuit, including whether or not Canning had actually left home on her own accord. Despite the fact that Canning says she was kicked out of the home, her parents maintain that she moved out on her own after they disciplined her for not attending school.

But in the lawsuit, the teen says she was subjected to a slew of emotional and psychological mistreatment, and that she left home because she could not take the alleged ‘abuse’ anymore.

“I have been subjected to severe verbal and physical abuse by my mother and father,” reads Canning’s complaint. “I am not willingly and voluntarily leaving a reasonable situation at home to make my own decisions. I had to leave to end the abuse.”

But the girl’s parents detest the allegations of abuse, adding that their daughter was suspended from school for truancy in October 2013. Her parents took away cell phone and car privileges to discipline the girl, but she continued to skip school and eventually ran away to live with her boyfriend, who had also been suspended for skipping school.

“Are we going to condone, or open the gates for a 12-year-old to sue for an Xbox? A 13-year-old to sue for an iPhone? Or how about a 16-year-old to sue for a 60-inch flat-panel TV? I’d like both counsel to be mindful of the potential slippery slope here,” said Judge Bogaard in his closing statement.

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