MORRISTOWN, N.J. — A high school senior who gained international notoriety by suing her parents for child support and college tuition formally dismissed her lawsuit Tuesday.
Rachel Canning, 18, of Lincoln Park, N.J., moved out of her parents' home two days before her 18th birthday in November but returned last week.
Canning — accompanied by her lawyer, Tanya N. Helfand; her parents, Sean and Elizabeth Canning; and their lawyer, Angelo Sarno — appeared early Tuesday before Judge Peter A. Bogaard of state Superior Court here. The judge accepted brief testimony from Rachel Canning on her decision to dismiss the complaint and found that she was making "a knowing and voluntary decision," according to a copy of the dismissal order.
The Morris Catholic High School honor student, cheerleader and lacrosse player left home Oct. 30 and moved in with the family of her best friend in Rockaway Township, N.J. She sued her parents Feb. 24, claiming they had cut off emotional and financial support when she turned 18 on Nov. 1.
Her parents counter-claimed that their daughter had become increasingly belligerent, refused to follow household rules, was drinking and would not break up with a boyfriend they considered a bad influence.
After the Cannings ceased paying for the final half of Rachel Canning's senior year at Morris Catholic and appeared unwilling to pay upcoming college costs, she filed a suit for "constructive abandonment."
The father of Rachel Canning's best friend, lawyer John Inglesino, financed her lawsuit. Inglesino, who drew criticism for bankrolling the lawsuit that cost his side at least $13,000, said he allowed Rachel Canning to live in his home because she is best friends with his daughter Jaime and he was concerned that her educational future was at risk without parental support.
Rachel Canning unexpectedly returned home March 11, and her parents' lawyer, Angelo Sarno, said the family wanted to move on.
But the lawsuit remained on file. That same day, Rachel Canning's lawyer filed an emergency application with the court declaring that she suspected that the 18-year-old's parents and public sentiment against the suit were putting pressure on the teen to drop the legal proceedings.
Helfand wanted the judge to conduct a closed hearing, seal all records in the case and appoint a guardian to represent Rachel Canning's interests but the judge declined.