Russian Bride Slave Case Stays in Federal Court

     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – A doctor’s son cannot dismiss claims that he and his father enslaved a Russian woman and her teenage daughter, a federal judge ruled.
     As explained in the May 2010 complaint, Joe Cunningham lured Natalya Shuvalova and her daughter Liza from Russia through a dating website with promises of marriage and a safe home.
     The Shuvalovas say Cunningham and his son Dan imprisoned them on the rural property in Clearlake, Calif., for several years, during which time the men allegedly sexually abused them and forced them to do manual labor.
     After U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers dismissed the Shuvalovas’ federal claims against Dan Cunningham, the defendant claimed that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the state-law claims for assault, battery, false imprisonment and invasion of privacy.
     Rogers disagreed Tuesday.
     “The court is not convinced by Dan’s arguments that the ‘quantum of evidence’ needed to adjudicate the claims against him is so fundamentally different from the evidence needed to adjudicate the claims against Joe that it forms a separate case or controversy,” Rogers wrote. “While the conduct described in the first amended complaint does not constitute a claim of forced labor against Dan, Liza’s claim of forced labor against Joe and Liza’s claims of false imprisonment, assault, battery, and psychological abuse against both Joe and Dan ‘derive from a common nucleus of operative fact.'”
     “In sum, the circumstances here do not warrant departure from the exercise of supplemental jurisdiction,” she added.

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