DSS has a lot of power in the state of South Carolina. DSS can take your kids, terminate your rights, and put your kid up for adoption. So, what can you do if DSS abuses their power or acts with gross negligence? You can sue. Bass v. SC DSS is a case that shows this exact situation.
What Happened Here
Diane and Otis Bass had three kids. All three had special needs, but two were also autistic: Hanna and Alex. Hanna and Alex had special medicine to help them sleep at night. In April 2008, the medicine was accidently mixed at 1000 times the recommended concentration. Diane and Otis did not know. So, after giving Hanna and Alex the medicine, both children became very sick and ended up in the hospital. The hospital placed Alex on life support. The day the children went to the hospital, DSS received a report that two special needs children were in the hospital due to possible poisoning by parents. DSS assigned the case a “medium” danger rating, which mandated a filed report and initiated investigation within 24 hours. Parrish was the caseworker.
Parrish spoke to the hospital staff, took the medicine, and asked Diane and Otis to meet her the next morning. During this meeting, Parrish chose to remove the children from Diane and Otis. About a month later, Parrish learned that the medicine was the cause of the children’s illness and not the parents. Thus, Diane and Otis got their kids back. Diane and Otis sued for gross negligence and outrage. A jury agreed with Diane and Otis. The appellate court reversed. Diane and Otis then appealed to the Supreme Court.
The Court found that there was evidence that DSS did not conduct a proper investigation of the Bass kids and family. Thus, the jury verdict could not be overturned by a court of appeals.
Proving Gross Negligence
If DSS takes your kids when they should not, speak with a lawyer. DSS makes mistakes. You should not let them get away with their mistakes. Contact us today to talk about your family law needs.