Judge Refuses To Dismiss CPS Lawsuit After Child’s Death
Traditionally, plaintiffs have been prevented from filing lawsuits against Child Protective Services on the grounds of sovereign immunity. However, recently, numerous lawsuits have been filed against CPS in multiple states after they failed to heed warnings made by concerned parents and others and a child died as a result of that failure.
Every time the government creates an agency to perform some service, that agency is required to have a policy. The only time that lawsuits against an agency like CPS are permitted to move forward is when the agency violates its own policy. The same is true for police brutality lawsuits. Plaintiffs must prove the brutality fell outside of the aegis of the police officer’s duties. In these CPS cases, the same arguments are being made. In this case, CPS has a duty of care to act on any credible intelligence of abuse. So, when they failed to respond to a concerned father’s request to have his child removed from an abusive home, they violated their own policy and failed in their duty of care.
Hence, a judge has allowed the lawsuit to move forward.
The plaintiff contends that despite numerous requests to have the child removed from his mother’s home, CPS failed to respond and the boy was murdered. The father blames CPS for not acting in accordance with its own policy and allowing the child to die when they had a duty to intervene. Multiple healthcare providers also reported the abuse to CPS.
CPS contended that the incident was tragic, but they were not liable for it. They say that the husband opted to split custody with the mother of his children. However, most people don’t “opt” for custody arrangements. The court “opts” for you. Most people abide by custody arrangements that are first negotiated and then agreed upon.
More of these lawsuits are being filed as the government places itself in the position of managing people’s families and then drops the ball when it comes to ensuring the safety of children. The allegations are more or less the same. A concerned parent or healthcare provider reports abuse to CPS. CPS does not act on that credible information. A child dies as a result of that failure.
Thus far, CPS has only faced wrongful death lawsuits emerging from unacted-upon abuse reports.
There is no trial date set, but the lawsuit will be allowed to move forward which was a major hurdle for the plaintiffs. It was unclear at the outset whether or not the argument would gain traction in court. It worked with other departments, so the plaintiff’s attorneys tried it out on CPS. Thus far the results are promising. But there’s a lot more work to do.
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