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Timothy M. Tippins

In L.M.L. v. H.T.N. (Supreme Court, Monroe Co., NYLJ, 10-20-17) Justice Richard A. Dollinger grappled with an application for interim exclusive possession of the marital residence. With the literary flair so often found in a Dollinger decision, he styled his task “an Augean Challenge,” analogizing it to the Fifth Labor of Hercules. (For the fifth labor, Eurystheus ordered Hercules to clean up King Augeas’ stables wherein some 30 years of cattle dung had accumulated, a foul and sordid task indeed. No doubt many a matrimonial judge, wading daily through the muck of failed marriages, has felt similarly oppressed.) It is an apt analogy. The resulting decision substantially recasts one of the traditional standards governing the grant of such relief. The decision is both instructive and innovative. It is also troubling. This article will explore its substantive and procedural implications.

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