News Girl Who Sues Her Parents Drops Case, Returns Home

The teenage girl who left home and sued her parents for child support and school tuition has dropped her lawsuit and returned back to her family's residence. The Cannings and their 18 year old daughter, Rachel - admonished by the judge and referred to as a "spoiled cheerleader" in the press - have come to a mutual agreement.

Attorney Laurie Rush-Masuret represented Sean and Elizabeth Canning at trial. At a press conference held in Roseland, New Jersey yesterday, the Canning family's new attorney, Angelo Sarno, insisted that the case is over, disputes resolved and that there is nothing left for the press to report upon. However, the real picture is not quite that clear.

The Case of the Spoiled Cheerleader May Be Far From Over

rachel canning press conferenceTanya Helfand, Rachel Canning's attorney, made an emergency filing in court on Wednesday to seal the records and close the courtroom to further proceedings. Superior Court Judge Peter Bogaard denied the motion. The parties are still scheduled to appear in court on April 22, when Judge Bogaard is expected to rule on the the issue of whether (a) the 18 year old child is not emancipated from her parents and still entitled to parental support or (b) she is emancipated by voluntarily leaving her family's home and disobeying house rules. Rachel's attorney has not yet filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.

What also makes this case still noteworthy and full of drama is what attorney Helfand was reported to have written in her application to the court. Helfand implied that her client, Rachel, was being wrongfully pressured into dropping the lawsuit against her free will:

Just a few days ago Rachel Canning indicated that she could not go back home with her parents and she required a promise of some financial assistance going forward. Now, after speaking with her mother yesterday, she said she is waiving her complaint and is receiving no promises or consideration in return.

Helfand also alleged that the faculty of the Catholic school which Rachel attends certified that the Cannings abused their daughter. One of the issues that may be at play is the fact that Rachel's legal bills, reported to exceed $13,000, are being financed by attorney, John Inglesino. A significant part of Rachel's lawsuit was the recovery of her legal fees from her parents. And if this case about child support and school tuition wasn't unusual enough, it has been widely reported that Inglesino is also a member of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's School Funding Task Force.

What may have originally prompted Rachel to consider dropping her lawsuit was the disposition of Rachel by Judge Bogaard in the preliminary hearing for emergency support, which was denied. It was widely reported that the judge was not happy hearing Rachel's voice mail message left for her mother and seemed poised to rule against her should the case have proceeded further. The words speak for themselves:

Hi Mom, just to let you know you're a real f***ing winner, aren't you? You think you're so cool and you think you caught me throwing up in the bathroom after eating an egg frittata. Yeah, sorry that you have problems now and you need to harp on mine because I didn't and i actually took a s*** which i really just wanna s**t all over your face right now because it looks like that anyway. Anyway, I f***ing hate you and, um, I've written you off so don't talk to me, don't do anything. I'm blocking you from just about everything. Have a nice life. Bye Mom.

For the moment, the Cannings have reconciled with their daughter. But it remains to be seen whether this lawsuit is far from over.
Legal Practice
Family - Child Support
  1. New Jersey
About author
Michael Wechsler
Michael M. Wechsler is an experienced attorney, founder of, A. Research Scholar at Columbia Business School and of-counsel to Kaplan, Williams & Graffeo, LLC. He was also an SVP and chief Internet strategist at and legal consultant at Kroll Ontrack, a leading service e-discovery and computer forensics service provider.


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Michael Wechsler
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