Collection of CPS’s “Priors” Why Does the General Public NOT Acknowledge These?

Deanna Fogarty-Hardwick’s 4.9 Million Dollar Verdict

A Southern California mother, Deanna Fogarty-Hardwick, filed a lawsuit against Child Protective Services (CPS). She claimed caseworkers had unjustly taken her children in February 2000. The children were ages 6 and 9 at the time. The accusation against her was that she was telling the children that their father was trying to take them away from her.

Because of this, the children were placed in the Orangewood Children’s Home. The children were kept there for a month, then transferred to a foster home for two months. Eventually they were placed in their father’s custody, and the mother had to endure the humiliation of supervised visits.

Another family destroyed!

But wait! The mother recovered from the injustice done to her enough to file a federal lawsuit based on violations of Constitutional law. With the help of an attorney, Shawn A. McMillan, they went after the Orange County (California) Department of Social Services and three caseworkers.

In the lawsuit the mother alleged the caseworkers intentionally misled the court, fabricated evidence against her, and hid exculpatory evidence. She also alleged that caseworkers withheld information from the judge regarding the emotional distress of the children, who wanted to be with their mother. Also alleged was that a supervisor in the agency refused Kinship Care rights to relatives without good cause, forcing the children to stay longer in foster care.

On March 23, 2007, after a seven-week civil trial, the jury found the Department of Social Services and caseworkers Marcie Vreeken and Helen Dwojak liable for violating the mother’s parental rights and violating the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

Deanna Fogarty-Hardwick was awarded 4.9 million dollars. The jury also awarded her an additional $5,900 in punitive damages. The large settlement was intended to ‘send a message’ to Child Protective Services bureaucrats.

In a press release after the settlement the attorney gave this list of illegal practices of the caseworkers involved:

… detention of children without a finding of imminent danger or serious physical injury;

… interviewing children without a parent present;

… continuing detention after learning there was no basis to do so;

… using trickery and fabricated evidence;

… failing to adequately train employees regarding the Constitutional rights of parents.
The attorney added:

“My client Deanna Fogarty-Hardwick, is satisfied by the Jury’s recognition of the harm that the defendants caused her. But, obviously, no amount of money can ever undo the damage inflicted upon Ms. Fogarty-Hardwick or her children. We expect the Jury’s 4.9 million dollar verdict will cause the County of Orange and its Department of Social Services to implement procedures to prevent future abuses by County social workers and protect other families.”

Lawsuit against Children Services might break new legal ground

By  Rita PriceThe Columbus Dispatch Sunday March 6, 2011 11:30 PM

Franklin County Children Services works with thousands of parents each year, and many of them get angry about what the agency does – or doesn’t do – to help their troubled families.

But there’s a big difference between being angry enough to sue and winning a lawsuit against child-welfare workers.

The civil lawsuit currently before a jury in U.S. District Court is a rare example of a complaint that survived the government-immunity and other legal hurdles that protect child-welfare agencies throughout the nation.

If plaintiff Hadiya AbdulSalaam and her daughters prevail, it will mark the first time a Franklin County Children Services caseworker has been ordered to pay damages in a violation-of-rights case, Executive Director Eric Fenner said. “We’ve had a few cases that were filed in federal court, but we really haven’t had any that weren’t dismissed.”

Diane Redleaf, executive director of the Chicago-based Family Defense Center, said it’s easier to sue a police officer than a child-welfare caseworker. The center is an advocacy group for families in the child-welfare system.

An Oregon case argued before the U.S. Supreme Court last week marks the first time in 21 years that a child-protection-services question has made it to the high court for review, Redleaf said. During that time, dozens of constitutional issues involving law enforcement have been argued and settled.

Redleaf said that, in addition to qualified- or absolute-immunity laws that protect caseworkers from being sued for doing their jobs, other factors make child-protection lawsuits tough to win. Confidentiality rules, shame about making case details public, scant established case law and a lack of lawyers with expertise in the area thwart many legal actions, she said.

“There are a lot of hurdles, and it’s costly,” said Redleaf, who helped prepare briefs in the Supreme Court case.

Cases sometimes proceed when plaintiffs can show that agency officials knew, or should have known, that what they were doing was wrong, or if their actions were malicious or reckless. Errors don’t count.

“Mistakes are made periodically, and that’s why the law protects us,” Fenner said.

In AbdulSalaam’s case, Judge Algenon L. Marbley dismissed the county, Children Services and two other agency employees from the lawsuit that alleges harassment and discrimination based on the family’s race and religion – they are black and Muslim.

The caseworker, Amber Spires, remains as the sole defendant because what she is accused of doing, including fabricating evidence, disqualifies her from immunity on most of the counts, the judge ruled.

Fenner said the agency stands by Spires, who is being represented by the county prosecutor’s office. He said he isn’t sure how damages would be paid if the caseworker loses.

“The county is self-insured, and exactly how this would be resolved, I really don’t know,” Fenner said. “We’ve got no experience with it.”

But, he said, there never was a thought to settling because agency officials feel certain that Spires did her job properly when she put AbdulSalaam’s daughters in foster care in 2003, against their mother’s wishes.

Children Services has, on occasion, paid some small-claims matters of a few thousand dollars but, as a rule, doesn’t agree to compensate people on larger issues. Officials think that would be a slippery slope.

The long-running case against Spires, which was filed in 2006, has not rattled other caseworkers at the agency, Fenner said. “Our people understand. Lawsuits are a part of the

Father files lawsuit against CPS

Updated: Friday, 07 Sep 2012, 11:33 PM EDT
Published : Friday, 07 Sep 2012, 11:33 PM EDT

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – It’s an agency that is supposed to protect children. But now, the Department of Child Protective Services is in the hot seat.

Jerraco Noel says the agency dropped the ball.

Noel says five months before his one-year-old son died he contacted the agency concerned his son was being abused. Friday, the father sent notice to the state that he plans to sue.

On July 14, 2011 the child was treated at Major Hospital in Shelbyville. That day, the father contacted CPS after discovering a bruises on his son’s face.

This lawsuit says CPS investigated but “un-substantiated the allegations.”

Soon after CPS closed its investigation, baby Jayden died.

Now, the suit seeking $700,000 alleges the CPS investigation was “woefully inadequate and unreasonably failed to protect Jayden Noel.”

It also says CPS failed to communicate with Jayden’s healthcare providers and never consulted child abuse experts on Jayden’s injuries.

The Department of Child Protective Services released the following statement saying “DCS did receive the notification. We are reviewing it and we are awaiting a formal response from the attorney general. ”

The coroner ruled the child had “multiple blunt-force traumatic injuries to the head.”

The child’s mother, Chelsea Taylor and her boyfriend, Ryan Worline were charged with neglect of a dependent resulting in death.

Father files lawsuit against CPS

Updated: Friday, 07 Sep 2012, 11:33 PM EDT
Published : Friday, 07 Sep 2012, 11:33 PM EDT

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – It’s an agency that is supposed to protect children. But now, the Department of Child Protective Services is in the hot seat.

Jerraco Noel says the agency dropped the ball.

Noel says five months before his one-year-old son died he contacted the agency concerned his son was being abused. Friday, the father sent notice to the state that he plans to sue.

On July 14, 2011 the child was treated at Major Hospital in Shelbyville. That day, the father contacted CPS after discovering a bruises on his son’s face.

This lawsuit says CPS investigated but “un-substantiated the allegations.”

Soon after CPS closed its investigation, baby Jayden died.

Now, the suit seeking $700,000 alleges the CPS investigation was “woefully inadequate and unreasonably failed to protect Jayden Noel.”

It also says CPS failed to communicate with Jayden’s healthcare providers and never consulted child abuse experts on Jayden’s injuries.

The Department of Child Protective Services released the following statement saying “DCS did receive the notification. We are reviewing it and we are awaiting a formal response from the attorney general. ”

The coroner ruled the child had “multiple blunt-force traumatic injuries to the head.”

The child’s mother, Chelsea Taylor and her boyfriend, Ryan Worline were charged with neglect of a dependent resulting in death.

Federal Court refuses to grant immunity to NYC Child Protective Services caseworker in lawsuit

Crime & Courts newsletter


Copyright Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. District Court Eastern District of New York has refused to grant immunity to aChild Protective Services caseworker fromNew York City in a lawsuit. Normally Child Protective Services caseworkers are granted limited immunity in lawsuits arising from their duties. However, the court on July 21, 2009 denied immunity to Marcos Cardenas for withholding information from his supervisors in a neglect proceeding.

Steven Friedman sued the New York City Administration for Children’s Servicesin 2005. Friedman had been the subject of a neglect proceeding brought by the New York City Administration for Children’s Services. The information that Cardenas used in investigating Friedman came from Doctor Daniel Cohen. What Cardenas did not tell his supervisors, and did not include in the neglect petition, was that Doctor Daniel Cohen was involved in a romantic relationship with Steven Friedman’s estranged wife’s sister, Jennifer Masnick.

Idaho Parents Take Boise Hospital to Court Over Newborn’s Forced Spinal Tap

June 14, 2010

An Idaho couple’s lawsuit pitting them against a Boise hospital that ordered spinal tap on their newborn against their wishes could lead to a revised look at parents’ federal right to govern their child’s medical care.

Eric and Corissa Mueller have waited six years to get their say in court and allege that their constitutional rights as parents were violated simply because they preferred not to let a doctor stick a needle in their 5-week-old daughter’s spine without more information.

But in Idaho, as in many other states, the state can seize a child in a hospital setting if authorities believe the child is being neglected or abused. In the Mueller’s case, child protection services was called on a medical neglect accusation when Corissa Mueller declined the spinal tap on baby Taige against their doctor’s recommendation.

“She thought she had an understanding with the doctor. That’s the particularly frustrating thing,” said Terrence Pell, president of the Center for Individual Rights, which has represented the Muellers in their lengthy court battle. “The next thing she knows there’s two policemen holding her on each arm.”

Photo: Idaho Parents Take Boise Hospital to Court Over Newborn's Forced Spinal Tap: Eric and Corissa Mueller Say CPS Seized Baby Paige When They Declined Risky Procedure
Courtesy Center for Individual Rights
Corissa Mueller, shown with her daughter Taige, filed a lawsuit after her then 5-week-old baby was taken away from her when she declined to consent to a spinal tap.

If the Muellers win their case, now in the early days of what is expected to be a 4-week trial, it could force states to develop more stringent standards for seizing a child in a hospital setting.

“This has to do not with the reporting of abuse and not the grounds for possible abuse,” Pell said. “It just has to do with what the state has to do before it assumes custody.”

The spinal tap was recommended to test for meningitis by Dr. Richard MacDonald after 5-week-old Taige had been rushed to St. Luke’s Regional Medical Center in 2002 with a fever of 100.8.

After agreeing to a battery of tests and treatments, including fluids, x-rays and blood work, Corissa Mueller declined the spinal tap, according to the original court complaint, preferring to wait until the initial test results came back before consenting to a procedure that carries a series of health risks. MacDonald had told her, court documents say, that there was only a 5 percent chance Taige had meningitis based on her symptoms.

“She thought that it would be painful for the child and along with the lumbar puncture they have to give steroids to reduce brain swelling,” Pell said. “She just thought that was possibly not necessary.”

When the baby’s fever eventually dropped a short time later and she appeared to be improving, Corissa Mueller began asking about taking her home, according to court documents.

But the hospital, the Mueller’s allege, had immediately contacted child protection services, alleging neglect. As two police officers detained Mueller at the hospital, CPS ordered the spinal tap for baby Taige. It came back negative.

MacDonald’s attorney, Richard Hall, declined to comment on the specifics of the case or the trial, but said that his client “was doing what he could do in the best interest of Taige Mueller.”

Mueller Lawsuit Will Not Challenge Abuse Laws in Religious Cases

The legal battle over Taige’s spinal tap began six years ago when the Mueller’s filed suit against MacDonald, St. Luke’s, the city of Boise and and others. It has since gone through a round of summary judgments and appeals.

One of the Mueller’s chief complaints was that the hospital’s magistrate was not involved, Pell said, and Eric Mueller, at home with the couple’s older sons, was never called for consent.

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4 thoughts on “Collection of CPS’s “Priors” Why Does the General Public NOT Acknowledge These?

  1. Pingback: Legislature must help stem the flight of caseworkers from Child Protective Services | I Messenger

  2. Hey guys I have another one you can add here. The dads name is sonny b. Southerland. He is a new York dad who has been suing the state wand a social worker named woo for his wrong doing

  3. My one and a half year old son went through a similar incident at St. Luke’s in Boise. He was removed for so-called failure to thrive and the doctor, Dr. Perry Brown, accused me of Münchhausen Syndrome by Proxy. /The diagnosis was proven to be unfounded but that didn’t’ stop the great state of Idaho from detaining my son for 6 months. Want to hear the interesting part? I am a licensed social worker and drug and alcohol counselor. My record was impeccable but now I am on the central regitstry and unable to work in the state of Idaho.

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