Toland v. FutagiAnnotate this Case
Peter Toland, a Maryland resident, filed a complaint to establish custody of his daughter, Erika, who lived with her maternal grandmother, Akiko Futagi, in Japan. The mother of Erika, having previously been awarded custody by a Japanese court, died in 2007. A Japanese decree issued thereafter, and without notice to Toland, appointed Futagi as the guardian of Erika. Toland subsequently amended his complaint and alleged that Maryland was the appropriate forum to determine custody under the Maryland Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. The circuit court dismissed Toland's complaint, concluding (1) the Japanese guardianship decree did not constitute a violation of Toland's due process rights; and (2) Japan was the home state of Erika under the Act because Erika had lived exclusively in Japan for her entire life. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding (1) the circuit court's dismissal of Toland's complaint did not violate his due process rights, as they were not implicated by the Japanese decree; and (2) the circuit court properly applied the Act to conclude that it should not exercise jurisdiction over Toland's complaint to establish custody, as the child had no connection with Maryland, and Japan had not declined custody jurisdiction.