Pennsylvania mother wins lawsuit after winning child custody

Whenever the state feels there is a reason to take a child from a parent or parents, they typically do so in the best interest of the child. However, there may be times when they interfere with a child custody situation due to a misunderstanding and a parent or parents lose custody of their children for no reason. For one Pennsylvania mom, suing the state agency that took her child and the hospital where the child was born has helped them deal with what was deemed a wrongful act.

While in the hospital giving birth to her daughter, the mother was subject to a drug test and failed. She had a measurable amount of opiates in her system. Hospital staff did not tell her she failed the test but then alerted authorities. The authorities showed up at her house once she was home with the child and took her from the parents. 

Upon further investigation, it was found that poppy seeds in a bagel eaten right beforehand caused the positive test. The mother filed suit and won $143,500 for emotional pain of having her child wrongfully taken. The hospital has also changed the policies they use in cases such as this, such as testing the baby first and finding out more about the actual situation before contacting authorities.

While the state, hospitals and other agencies typically work to help those who need and protect children from harm everyday; they do make mistakes. There are times when a child custody arrangement or ruling has been made simply based on bad information. A Pennsylvania parent who finds themselves in a situation where wrong information has been used to determine custody should know their rights and what legal avenues they may be able to pursue to restore custody.

Source:, “Daughter taken by child services over false positive from poppy seed bagel,” Howard Portnoy, July 9, 2013