Woman Who Had Baby Taken By State for a Poppy-Bagel False Positive Drug Test Settles** Lawsuit


[UPDATE: Headline originally mistakenly said "wins" lawsuit, rather than correct "settles."]]

Justice served against an officious state very, very quick to take a baby from its mother, reported via Watertown Daily Times and AP:

A woman who had her newborn taken away because she failed a hospital drug test after she ate a poppy seed bagel has settled a lawsuit over the case.


Lawrence County's child welfare agency and Jameson Hospital have paid $143,500 to settle the suit filed on behalf of Elizabeth Mort by the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, which announced the settlement Tuesday.

Mort sued in October 2010, alleging that a poppy seed bagel she ate shortly before arriving at the hospital spurred a positive test for opiates in April 2010 that prompted the seizure of her 3-day-old daughter, Isabella Rodriguez.

Mort said she was home with her baby when a county child welfare caseworker arrived with an emergency protective custody order and took Isabella.

The lawsuit alleged Mort was never told in the hospital that she had failed a drug test, nor was she asked if she had eaten anything that could have affected the test results.

The infant was returned five days later, after local officials agreed there was no evidence the mother had used illegal drugs….

Jacob Sullum wrote about this case for Reason in its 2011 beginnings. I wrote about bigger issues of state choices overwhelming parents' rights when it comes to medical care for Reason in February 2001 in a story called "Doctor's Orders."