Orange County Government settles with DSS plantiffs

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GOSHEN – Orange County Government has settled with plaintiffs who claimed that the Department of Social Services violated their constitutional rights when it interviewed their minor child at school without their knowledge or consent after receiving a spurious complaint through the State Child Abuse hotline. That complaint was deemed unfounded.
The case was settled for $250,000 and paid to the plaintiff’s attorney, his parents and a trust fund for the child.
The parents of the child, Marie Condoluci and Steven Phillips, sued in federal court claiming that DSS had violated the rights of their child and themselves by interviewing the child without their consent and coercing them into agreeing to a home inspection.
Judge Sidney Stein of US District Court in New York found that, as a matter of law, the county had violated the child’s right to be free of unreasonable search and seizure pursuant to the Fourth Amendment and ordered a trial on the issue of the search as well as the parents’ claims against the Goshen School District.
The matter has now settled with the county agreeing to a change in policy with respect to interviewing students at school so as to comply with the judge’s order.