O.C. may fight $4.5 million award
The Orange County Board of Supervisors may decide today whether the county will fight a record-breaking legal judgment it lost to a mother who said the Department of Social Services violated her parental rights.
At stake is a $4.5 million award decided by an Orange County Superior Court jury in March that found social workers fabricated negative evidence against Deanna Fogarty-Hardwick of Seal Beach.
The panel said Fogarty-Hardwick’s right to raise her children free of governmental interference had been violated and it also found the county negligent because if didn’t provide adequate training and supervision.
Attorneys for the county wouldn’t return phone calls seeking comment. The issue is on the supervisors’ agenda and will be heard in closed session, meaning reporters and the public are barred from hearing the debate, which is standard when the board deals with legal cases.
Shawn McMillan, Fogarty-Hardwick’s lawyer, said he expects the county to appeal the case. Since the jury’s decision, he’s heard from hundreds of people who have had problems with local social services departments.