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.
(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 v