Orange County Judge Orders Social Services to Pay Mom $1.6 Million in Attorney's Fees

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On October 31, 2007 Orange County Superior Court Judge, Ronald Bauer (Dept. CX-103) awarded Deanna Fogarty-Hardwick over $1.6 million in attorney's fees to help defray the cost of litigation against Orange County Social Services. The fee award arises from Ms. Fogarty-Hardwick's recent court victory against the Orange County Social Services and two of its social workers, Marcia Vreeken and Helen Dwojak, earlier this year.

RE: Fogarty-Hardwick v. County of Orange, et al.
Superior Court of California, County of Orange
Case No. 01CC02379 (Trial before Hon. Ronald L. Bauer, Dept. CX103)

On October 31, 2007 Orange County Superior Court Judge, Ronald Bauer (Dept. CX-103) awarded Deanna Fogarty-Hardwick over $1.6 million in attorney's fees to help defray the cost of litigation against Orange County Social Services. The fee award arises from Ms. Fogarty-Hardwick's recent court victory against the Orange County Social Services and two of its social workers, Marcia Vreeken and Helen Dwojak, earlier this year.

The case was brought by Deanna Fogarty against the County of Orange, Marcia Vreeken, Elaine Wilkins, and their supervisor Helen Dwojak to recover damages arising from these defendants' alleged falsification of evidence, perjury, and suppression of exculpatory evidence during a juvenile dependency action back in February of 2000. On March 23, 2007 after over six years of litigation and a seven week trial, an Orange County Jury found against Orange County, social worker Marcia Vreeken, and social worker supervisor Helen Dwojak and awarded monetary damages of $4.9 million. Elaine Wilkins was found not liable.

In addition to seeking damages, Ms. Fogarty-Hardwick also sought to enjoin the Orange County Social Services Agency from continuing its allegedly unlawful practice of making allegations of wrong doing against parents in dependency proceedings without supporting evidence. On May 14, 2007 Orange County Superior Court Judge, Ronald Bauer (Dept. CX-103) issued an injunction against the Orange County Social Services Agency requiring the agency to obtain "reasonable and articulable evidence" prior to initiating dependency proceedings alleging abuse, neglect, or abandonment of a child.

San Diego Lawyer Shawn A. McMillan, of the Law Offices of Shawn A. McMillan, was lead trial counsel in the case.

For additional information, contact:

Shawn A. McMillan, Esq.
The Law Offices of Shawn A. McMillan, A.P.C.
4955 Via Lapiz
San Diego, California 92122
Telephone: (858) 646-0069
Facsimile: (206) 600-4582
Website: http://www.mcmillan-law.com

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