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State appealing $31M judgment against DCS workers

November 1, 2016

The state of Indiana is asking the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to review the $31 million jury verdict awarded to a Pulaski County family after they sued Department of Child Services workers and others for the wrongful removal of their children and prosecution of the parents.

Last year, a jury awarded Lynette and Roman Finnegan $31 million dollars after ruling for the plaintiffs on four of five claims that actions of DCS caseworkers and investigators violated their rights. The Finnegan’s daughter, Jessica, died and DCS suspected abuse. Even after an investigation showed the girl died due to prescribed medication causing a fatal drug interaction with another medication she took to treat a heart condition, the DCS continued to pursue false neglect substantiations against the parents.

Judge Rudy Lozano in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana denied the state’s request in September to reduce the jury award.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller filed the federal appeal Friday on behalf of state defendants Laurel Myers, Regina McAninch, Reba James and Jennifer McDonald. They are challenging the denial of their motion for summary judgment at trial, the denial of their motion for a directed verdict, the jury verdict, and the denial of their motion to reduce damages.
 

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