There will be more lawsuits against CPS and Caseworkers as the truth emerges in all the states! Your Consititutional Rights CANNOT be Violated!

County loses $4.9 million lawsuit challenge over lying social workers

April 21st, 2011, 1:45 pm · 275 Comments · posted by Kimberly Edds, Staff Writer

The County of Orange lost its battle in the U.S. Supreme Court Monday to overturn a record-setting $4.9 million judgment awarded to a Seal Beach woman, after two county social workers lied to a juvenile court commissioner in order to take away the woman’s two daughters.

It took Deanna Fogarty-Hardwick 6 ½ years to regain custody of her children.

The jury award given to Fogarty-Hardwick included damages against the two social workers. The Supreme Court also upheld $1.6 million in attorneys fees for Fogarty-Hardwick’s attorneys, but that could end being as much as $3 million, Fogarty-Hardwick’s attorney Shawn McMillan said.

The county and the two social workers will also be responsible for paying interest which has accrued on the $4.9 million jury award over the last four years, bringing the grand total close to $9.3 million, McMillan said.

Fogarty-Hardwick’s attorneys had offered to settle with the county for $500,000.

Orange County Social Services social workers Marcie Vreeken and Helen Dwojak filed false reports and held back evidence which would have cleared Fogarty-Hardwick, an Orange County jury found. Vreeken would later be promoted, according to county records.

A third social worker was found not liable.

According to court papers, Vreeken threatened that if Fogarty-Hardwick did not “submit” to her will, she would never see her children again. The social workers also tried in 2000 to coerce Fogarty-Hardwick to sign a document saying she was a bad parent by threatening to take her daughters away, Fogarty-Hardwick alleged.

She refused. A county commissioner ordered Fogarty-Hardwick’s daughters, 6 and 9, taken from their mother and put in Orangewood Children’s Home.

The girls were later put in foster care.

Fogarty-Hardwick gave her ex-husband full custody in 2002, hoping to protect her daughters. She was then allowed two supervised visits a month for two years. She eventually won 50-50 custody in 2006.

Fogarty-Hardwick sued the county in 2002, arguing the Social Services Agency and its two social workers violated her civil rights. A jury ruled against her.

She sued again, arguing this time county’s policies violated her constitutional rights, including her Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights.

Fogarty-Hardwick’s accused the county of violating her constitutional rights by removing her children without making a finding of imminent danger or serious physical injury; interviewing her daughters without a parent present; holding her children without cause; fabricating evidence; and failing to properly train employees about parents’ constitutional rights.

An Orange County jury voted 10-2 in 2007 in favor of Fogarty-Hardwick and awarded her $4.9 million.

The county appealed the judgment.

In the Fourth District Court of Appeal opinion, Justice William Bedsworth wrote, “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.”

“Despite Fogarty-Hardwick’s complaints, and the concerns expressed by others about the handling of this dependency case, SSA did not investigate the situation or consider assigning different social workers to the matter. Neither of the social workers involved was disciplined. Instead, Vreeken was promoted to supervisor in 2001,” Bedsworth wrote.

The Watchdog is looking into whether Vreeken and Dwojak still work for the county.

“What the county and these social workers did to her was horrendous and she deserves to be compensated in full measure,” McMillan said.

“It’s a big deal for a private citizen to take on the government all the way to the United States Supreme Court,” McMillan said. “(Fogarty-Hardwick) poured her whole life into this case. She provided a valuable service to Orange County and to other parents for having the tenacity to stick with it.”

We have calls in to Social Services and the county’s lawyer. We’ll let you know what they have to say when we hear back.

About yvonnemason

Background:  The eldest of five children, Yvonne was born May 17, 1951 in Atlanta, Georgia. Raised in East Point, Georgia, she moved to Jackson County, Ga. until 2006 then moved to Port St. Lucie, Florida where she currently makes her home.  Licensed bounty hunter for the state of Georgia. Education:  After a 34 year absence, returned to college in 2004. Graduated with honors in Criminal Justice with an Associate’s degree from Lanier Technical College in 2006. Awards:  Nominated for the prestigious GOAL award in 2005 which encompasses all of the technical colleges. This award is based not only on excellence in academics but also leadership, positive attitude and the willingness to excel in one’s major. Affiliations:  Beta Sigma Phi Sorority  Member of The Florida Writer’s Association – Group Leader for St Lucie County The Dream:  Since learning to write at the age of five, Yvonne has wanted to be an author. She wrote her first novel Stan’s Story beginning in 1974 and completed it in 2006. Publication seemed impossible as rejections grew to 10 years. Determined, she continued adding to the story until her dream came true in 2006. The Inspiration:  Yvonne’s brother Stan has been her inspiration and hero in every facet of her life. He was stricken with Encephalitis at the tender age of nine months. He has defied every roadblock placed in his way and has been the driving force in every one of her accomplishments. He is the one who taught her never to give up The Author: Yvonne is currently the author of several novels, including:  Stan’s Story- the true story of her brother’s accomplishments, it has been compared to the style of Capote, and is currently being rewritten with new information for re-release.  Tangled Minds - a riveting story about a young girl’s bad decision and how it taints everyone’s life around her yet still manages to show that hope is always possible. This novel has been compared to the writing of Steinbeck and is currently being written as a screenplay. This novel will be re-released by Kerlak Publishing in 2009  Brilliant Insanity – released by Kerlak Publishing October 2008  Silent Scream – Released by October 2008- Slated to be made into a movie Yvonne’s Philosophy in Life - “Pay it Forward”: “In this life we all have been helped by others to attain our dreams and goals. We cannot pay it back but what we can do is ‘pay it forward’. It is a simple
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4 Responses to There will be more lawsuits against CPS and Caseworkers as the truth emerges in all the states! Your Consititutional Rights CANNOT be Violated!

  1. Heather says:

    Please contact me at I have infromation you need. Thank you Heather


  2. Trinity Commander Deal says:

    The same thing happened to me. We finally managed to turn tables and get my children back, by taping them while they sent me to a psychological exam they lied n stated the exam took 1 hr. . They also brook a injection and keep trying to brake injunction after judge yelled at them. Another state agency came to our aid in P.C., with the knowledge of our daily activities, the workers were lying about not contacting them and where I was. The worker kept excellent records. They got 12,000 for tracking and documenting computers. Then they took my children and easily lied there way though court. Top that my attorney wouldnt speak up either. She had laughed that she was glad she didn’t get the case ahead of me, it was a risky one. My case worker was her friend.


  3. Darlene says:

    Yes this happened to my family as well. I have lost a son that was used as a pawn to persuade me to lie for the defense, and since i did not do their dirty work my son was given to his paternal grandfather and his ex wife (who could not have kids so she gets mine) and now my five year old daughter is on their hit list with anonymous allegations being phoned in monthly. My email is wolfberry23@yahoo.,com and my story hit front page papers in fort collins colorado. Just type in Dartanian Whelan and my story pops up look for my story not the news cap….i need to find a way to protect my children and do what i can for my son. Thanks….Darlene


  4. Ramesh says:

      Looking for Attorney Appeal Court

    Located in the Los Angeles area close to Beverly Hills or Woodland Hills
    (1) Need  to find an attorney who deals with Child Protective Services and Violation of Civil Rights, NICWA/ICWA laws and Appeals Attorney
    and referral to Low Cost legal Services or Unions which help people who do not have much money
    I’m looking for a appeals attorney.
    Here are some bullet points from my case. I’m looking file claim for damages as well. Thank you (1) Wrongful removal of child from ER. Doctor put in writing on release papers it was an accident. Also other expert witness (doctor) testimony was submitted by father’s attorney stating that it was an accident.(2) CPS Violating Federal laws by committing perjury about Indian Heritage. The 1978 children’s native American act. Violation of federal law. CPS did not verify Indian Heritage of child on birth mother’s Paternal side of the family even though they were given the information. they claimed mother denied Indian heritage which she didn’t. (3) Not given Due Process required by law for trial; not able to question witnesses, was not allowed in courtroom during trial which lasted 4 days, everything was done behind close doors and then attorney would talk to me and explain things going on, only brought in for questioning on witness stand and to let us know trial is scheduled to continue next day. (4) CPS violating court orders for visits with child. CPS does not monitor 3rd court ordered visit for over 4 months…making mom and dad travel long distance to visit child even though he could have been placed closer to them. (5) My attorney asked me to submit questions/answers to use in trial for questioning witnesses – I was not able to question witnesses in court because they did not respond to phone questioning as planned or show up in court even though they were supposed to be subpoenaed for trial court dates. Court did not take any action on this. they just let it go, ignored it.(6) I was only person put on stand and questioned – I did not admit to being guilty, but didn’t have choice but to sign papers and agree to follow court ordered service plans because father of baby agreed to settlement.(7) Case was based on false allegations made to CPS; there was not any evidence or proof to back up the allegations which were falsely made.(8) Judge court ordered a lot of things to be completed in order to possibly reunify with child if completed – no gurantee(9) CPS not really trying to reunify child with birth parents (10) Social workers not responding to calls made by mother to them. For along time even after repeated calls.(11) CPS not cooperating with mother even though trying to work with them In following court orders (12) Lots of Civil Rights Violations and other Constitutional Violations on mother and child.
    Please leave message and I will return the call. And give you more details about case.
    Note: Child still being held by CPS since February 24, 2012. Need to find someone to get him back.
    Can you please provide info where to look for attorneys or how to find attorneys


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