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Court of Appeal Affirms Orange County Jury Finding Cps Liable to Mother for $ 4.9 Million in Damages.

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Court of Appeal Affirms Orange County Jury Finding Cps Liable to Mother for $ 4.9 Million in Damages.

The California Court of Appeals has affirmed the damage award against Orange County and two of its social workers in what has been described as the largest civil rights verdict in the State of California, and possibly the nation.

San Diego, CA (PRWEB) June 17, 2010

Case No. 01CC02379 (Trial before Hon. Ronald L. Bauer, Dept. CX103)
California Court of Appeals, Fourth District, Division Three, Case No. G039045

On March 23, 2007, the Orange County Social Services Agency and two of its Social Workers, Marcie Vreeken and Helen Dwojak were found liable for violating the parental rights of Deanna Fogarty-Hardwick, as guaranteed under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. The jury found in favor of Ms. Fogarty-Hardwick and awarded $4.9 million in economic and non-economic damages, and approximately $6,000 in punitive damages against the individual social workers.

At trial, Ms. Fogarty-Hardwick demonstrated that social workers Marcie Vreeken and Helen Dwojak caused Ms. Fogarty-Hardwick’s children to be removed from her custody without cause, and continued to detain them without cause, violating Ms. Fogarty-Harwick’s Constitutional right to familial association. Ms. Fogarty-Hardwick demonstrated that these defendants, while working as social workers for Orange County Social Services, intentionally fabricated evidence to obtain a court order to detain Ms. Fogarty-Hardwick’s two young daughters on February 17, 2000. Ms. Fogarty-Hardwick also demonstrated that Orange County Social Services, Marcie Vreeken and Helen Dwojak maliciously failed to provide the court with exculpatory information, and filed false reports in furtherance of the effort to keep Ms. Fogarty-Hardwick separated from her children.

The lawsuit also alleged that the policies, practices, or procedures employed by Orange County Social Services and the County of Orange in the removal of Plaintiff’s children from her care also violated Ms. Fogarty-Harwick’s constitutional rights, under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. The unlawful policies, practices or procedures pertained to the 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; and failing to adequately train employees regarding the Constitutional rights of parents.

In addition to the jury’s verdict, the trial court also awarded attorneys fees of $1,653,284.95.

The defendants Orange County, Marcie Vreeken and Helen Dwojak, all appealed the jury verdict, the court’s decision, and the attorney fee award. On June 14, 2010, after in depth review of extensive briefs and a complex record, Division Three of the Fourth District Court of Appeal for the State of California issued its opinion affirming the Orange County jury’s verdict awarding Deanna Fogarty-Hardwick approximately $4.9 million against the County of Orange, and two of its social workers, and affirming the trial court decision awarding attorney’s fees.

In its opinion, the Court of Appeal voiced its concerns over what happened to Ms. Fogarty-Hardwick: “Stated plainly, the outcome of this case cannot be dismissed as merely the unfortunate product of a runaway jury. The evidence adduced at trial obviously caused both the jury and the judge to conclude not only that something seriously wrong was done to Fogarty-Hardwick in this case, but also that the wrongful conduct was not an isolated incident. That conclusion is something the County should be taking very seriously.”

San Diego Lawyer Shawn A. McMillan, of the Law Offices of Shawn A. McMillan, was lead counsel in the case, both at trial and on appeal. Attorney Sondra S. Sutherland was co-counsel. The Law Offices of Donnie R. Cox (Dennis Atchley an Donnie R. Cox) assisted with the appeal.

For additional information, contact:

Shawn A. McMillan, Esq.

THE LAW OFFICES OF SHAWN A. McMILLAN, A.P.C.
4955 Via Lapiz
San Diego, California 92122
Telephone: (858) 646-0069
Facsimile: (206) 600-4582

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Written by dawneworswick

January 18, 2012 at 5:15 am

Posted in Uncategorized

3 Responses

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  1. A real Lawyer would stop this not make money off it!!! why aren’t attorney pushing the feds th charge this child trafficking ring FOR RICO and but them out of business I would be more content with that than any money. I do not want money I want my children alive with me and this mess to stop

    Celeste Cortes

    June 24, 2012 at 12:03 am

    • Amen

      blessed

      March 4, 2014 at 5:05 am

    • Because money talks! As I am sure you are aware DCF/CPS is a cash for kids business, the more kids they kidnap each fiscal year the bigger the budget & the bigger the bonuses. This case just hit them where it hurts. What would be up in arms about is why isn’t this story splattered all over main stream media, bringing much needed focus on the problem!?

      nich74

      July 12, 2014 at 4:05 am


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