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Costanich v. Dept. of Soc. & Health Servs. for the State of Wash., No. 08-35217

Civil Rights Action Concerning Alleged Fabrication of Evidence in Parental Rights Revocation

In Costanich v. Dept. of Soc. & Health Servs. for the State of Wash., No. 08-35217, a 42 U.S.C. section 1983 action alleging the deprivation of plaintiff's due process rights to her foster care license and guardianship of her dependents, the court affirmed summary judgment for defendants where defendants were entitled to qualified immunity because it was not clear at the time the events at issue took place that the right not to have evidence fabricated by a social worker applied in the context of proceedings adjudicating a foster care license and termination of guardianship.

As the court wrote:  "Washington state revoked Kathie Costanich's foster care license and instituted guardianship termination proceedings against her following an investigation by a Department of Social and Health Services ("DSHS") social worker, Sandy Duron, which purportedly revealed "emotional abuse" of the children in Costanich's care. Finding fundamental inaccuracies in the investigation, an administrative law judge ("ALJ") reversed the license revocation. The Court of Appeals of Washington ultimately upheld the ALJ's determination. Costanich v. Wash. State Dep't of Soc. & Health Servs., 138 Wash. App. 547, 156 P.3d 232 (App. Ct. 2007)."

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