Death of Female Partner Puts Cozen Firm in Center of Same-Sex Marriage Comity Case

Law partner in Philadelphia firm dies and her parents and wife to whom she was legally married in Toronto in 2006 fight over her profit-sharing account.

See Martha Neil’s article in the ABA Journal online:  Death of Female Partner Puts Cozen Firm in Center of Same-Sex Marriage Comity Case

See Gina Passarella;s article in New York Law Journal:  Fight Brewing Over Dead BigLaw Partner’s Benefits

COMITY – definition

Courtesy; respect; a disposition to perform some official act out of goodwill and tradition rather than obligation or law. The acceptance or adoption of decisions or laws by a court of another jurisdiction, either foreign or domestic, based on public policy rather than legal mandate.

In comity, an act is performed to promote uniformity, limit litigation, and, most important, to show courtesy and respect for other court decisions. It is not to be confused with full faith and credit, the constitutional provision that various states within the United States must recognize the laws, acts, and decisions of sister states.

Comity of nations is a recognition of fundamental legal concepts that nations share. It stems from mutual convenience as well as respect and is essential to the success of international relations. This body of rules does not form part of International Law; however, it is important for public policy reasons.

Judicial comity is the granting of reciprocity to decisions or laws by one state or jurisdiction to another. Since it is based upon respect and deference rather than strict legal principles, it does not require that any state or jurisdiction adopt a law or decision by another state or jurisdiction that is in contradiction, or repugnant, to its own law.

Comity of states is the voluntary acceptance by courts of one state of the decision of a sister state on a similar issue or question.