Bigger Better CWS Claim

The New and Better CWS Claim 011211

The Prospect has written 12 articles about Child Welfare Services and the problems that can arise from inappropriate intervention in the family.  There are many negative repercussions for the family; for the agency and the county there is lawsuit.

There is now such a lawsuit.  It is based on the claim by a local social worker, which we covered HERE.

This claim is much more powerfully written.

“The claim is primarily founded on a cause of action under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 to redress the deprivation by defendants, at all times acting under color of state law, of rights secured to plaintiffs under the United States Constitution, including the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments, and state law where applicable. Said cause ofaction, which accrued on or about August 20,2010, and are ongoing. “

The claim outlines the protections of law, including the Constitution, federal law, and state laws.

“Children's Protective Services ("CPS") is a COUNTY governmental agency organized and existing pursuant to the law and policies of defendant SIERRA COUNTY, which promulgated, encouraged, administered, and/or permitted, the policies, practices, customs, and procedures under which the individual defendant employees committed the acts or omissions complained of herein, and either intentionally or negligently, whether as a result of policies, practices, customs, or procedures, or as a result of ineffective, non-existent, or inadequate training and education of employees, caused or were otherwise responsible for the acts or omissions of said employees as complained of herein, and plaintiffs allege that the policies, practices, customs, and/or procedures of COUNTY, as determined and effected in the circumstances complained of herein by the individual defendants, constitute and/or engender a circumstance and/or environment of deliberate indifference to the rights and safety of citizens of the community, of families, and of children. The entities are referred to interchangeably herein as COUNTY.”

The allegations in the claim are well known to Prospect readers, essentially that social worker Benson, social worker supervisor Marks and director Roberts conspired to “frame” a local family, and put them through CWS hell.  Jim Curtis, County Council is also named.  

The most significant lines in the claim are these:

Estimated Damages (Compensatory/Special) Exceed: $5,000,000.00
Punitive Damages: $25,000,000.0

Will the claim succeed?
No one knows, but we’re willing to prognosticate.

Forget the millions and millions, that will be frittered away to just millions.

Chances are that there might be some difficulty proving the claims.  There is no physical evidence for some allegations, and for others, the local court might try to prevent the records from being revealed.  The latter is tricky business.

We expect that there will be a settlement.  We assume there will be some personnel shifts.  We expect money to change hands.

We expect the Board of Supervisors will act swiftly and fairly, and not try to simply cover their ass.  

We think County Council Jim Curtis should step away from defending the county or even advising the supervisors.

Still, who knows?  The Federal Court might decide that there was no wrong-doing, that all parties are blameless.  Seems doubtful, though.

Let’s see what happens!

Read the entire document HERE.
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