New Jersey student who sued parents for support, tuition returns home

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POOL photo of New Jersey teen Rachel Canning in court on March 5.

By Laura Ly


(CNN) — A high school senior who filed suit against her mother and father for financial support and college tuition has returned to her home in Lincoln Park, New Jersey, the attorneys for her parents said Wednesday.

“Rachel Canning has returned home and reunited with her parents and siblings. Her return home is not contingent on any financial and/or other considerations,” said the statement from the law firm Snyder & Sarno.

The lawsuit has not officially been dropped, but Angelo Sarno, who is representing Rachel’s parents, Sean and Elizabeth, said the family conflict has been resolved.

“The bottom line is it’s over,” Sarno said at a press conference. “It’s ancient history, it’s done. They’ve welcomed her back into the house.”

Canning, 18, alleged in her lawsuit that her parents forced her out of their home, and that she was unable to support herself financially. The lawsuit asked that her parents pay the remaining tuition for her last semester at her private high school, pay her current living and transportation expenses, commit to paying her college tuition and reimburse her friend’s parents for legal fees.

Her parents said she left home because she didn’t want to obey their rules.

A judge last week denied the teenager’s request for high school tuition and current living expenses from her parents. A date had been set for April on the other issues in the lawsuit.

Canning, an honor student and cheerleader at Morris Catholic High School in Denville, said in court documents that she had to leave her parents’ home because of emotional and psychological mistreatment. She alleged, among other things, that her mother called her “fat” and “porky” and that her father threatened to beat her.

Canning was suspended from school for truancy last October, according to court documents filed by her parents’ former attorney, Laurie Rush-Masuret. Her parents told the teen that she could no longer see her boyfriend, who was also suspended from school. Car and phone privileges were also taken away. Once she learned of the punishment, Canning cut school again and then decided to run away, her father said in court documents.

Neither Rachel nor her parents were present at Wednesday’s press conference. Sarno would not comment on what brought the reconciliation or whether Rachel was still in a relationship with her boyfriend. He asked that the public respect the family’s privacy.

“This is a matter that should have been brought into some counselor’s office, not into a courtroom,” Sarno said. “We just ask that you respect their wishes and give them some chance to resolve it.”

CNN’s requests for comment from Tanya Helfand, the attorney representing the younger Canning, were not returned. A request for comment from John Inglesino, whose family had been paying Rachel’s legal fees and housing her for the past four months, also was unanswered.

Canning’s case attracted national attention, which Sarno noted would likely continue to affect Rachel. He said the family is not expected to make a public statement, despite the amicable resolution.

“Nothing good could have come from this case. Absolutely nothing good. This kid is going to be affected long term from the attention,” Sarno said.

CNN’s Chris Welch contributed to this report.

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    • Corey

      Hey Michael. It’s “you’re”. If you’re going to insult someone’s intelligence please use proper grammar.

      • Jo

        Who cares if Michael spells a word incorrectly Corey? Do you agree with Rachel’s actions? Color me surprised! I knew there would be at least one person who could not stand the heat…so she blasts Michael…really? We can see what is most imporatant to Corey

  • Shannon

    Yep…no sympathy whatsoever. She created this mess with a ridiculous lawsuit and now doesn’t want deal with the media attention. Obviously, as smart as she is, she has not yet learned life’s valuable lesson of; ‘You made your bed, now you have to lie in it.’. Welcome to real life; spoiled, ungrateful, little girl.

  • Jo

    shame on this young woman. She has been ill-advised in this endeavor and I believe now regrets her decision. If you cannot live by the rules of the house, then move on…otherwise….bite the bullet and realize that until you can support yourself, you are obligated to deal with it. Too many people today operate with the “entitlement attitude.” I side with the parents.

    Rachel you are a Spoiled Brat! You obviously didn’t get your mouth slapped enough. Shame on you.

  • Jo

    Oh yes, and shame on her friends parents who may have “egged her on.” What is wrong with this picture????? Wow! I recall when I told my parents at age 16 that I wanted to live on my own…..yes…they said with all seriousness…”Go ahead….just remember, it is NOT a revolving door.” Rachel should count her blessings that her parents care enough to welcome her back in to THEIR HOME.

  • Jo

    Rachel, did you ever think about getting a job? Yes, I worked during high school…..does Rachel even know the merits of hard work?

  • Darcey Powell

    Shame her friend’s parents and double shame on the “greedy” lawyers who agreed to take this matter to court rather than steer Rachel in the direction of professional counseling! And highest admiration for her parents for allowing her back in the house after she has brought such embarrasment to her family.

  • jo

    I agree Darcey. Although I really cannot blame the attorneys, afterall, this is what they do, it is their profession. Be that as it may, I commend her parents for displaying compassion towards their daughter. Hopefully, Rachel will take this experience and apply it towards her life experiences.

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