- Michael Lewis and his partner Lauren Taylor had their two young son taken from them by local welfare officials
- The official had determined that Lewis’ medical marijuana was a hazard
- A Gulf War vet he had been prescribed the drug to help alleviate migraines
- It took a year before the couple had their sons returned to them
- They claim the misconduct by city and county officials cost them physically and emotionally and have filled a lawsuit seeking damages
PUBLISHED: 23:46 EST, 3 September 2013 | UPDATED: 03:52 EST, 4 September 2013
A couple who had their two young children placed in foster care for nearly a year because of their use of medical marijuana are seeking punitive damages after a judge ruled that local welfare officials had no grounds for ever taking the children.
Michael Lewis and Lauren Taylor are suing local Health and Human Services officials and police officers in Coronado, California, accusing them of false imprisonment, battery, negligence and civil rights violations, according to a lawsuit filed in San Diego Superior Court last month.
The lawsuit stems from an incident on August 5, 2011, when local police received an anonymous tip that the couple were operating an illegal covert daycare operation and exposing children to marijuana.
Police found no evidence of a daycare center at the house, but they did find Lewis’ prescribed marijuana.
A former Gulf War vet, he had been prescribed the drug to help alleviate migraines he suffered after being exposed to chemicals.
Lewis was able to provide the cops with a valid California doctor’s recommendation which they were happy to accept.
But three days later, agents from the United States Department of Health and Human Services showed up at the family’s home, reports Courthousenews.com.
Citing the discovered marijuana as a ‘hazard’ in their official report, the agents removed the couple’s two young boys – Cameran, then aged four, and Bailey, aged two – and placed them in an emergency shelter for ‘abused, abandoned, and neglected children’ in San Diego.
Even though the Center immediately determined that the kids were ‘developmentally on target and there were no concerns for them’, the children were kept from their parents for a year.
In their lawsuit, Lewis and his wife claim the County repeatedly lied to the Courts, inventing tales of ‘abuse’ and ‘neglect’ to keep the family separated.
Lewis was accused of being a forger and a drug dealer who suffered from mental illness, while officials disregarded evidence that his marijuana use had been recommended by a physician and practiced away from the youngsters, and that Taylor did not use pot at all.
Finally, on August 2, 2012, the children were returned to their parents after a judge ruled that the HHS had no grounds on which to continue holding them.
The family was overjoyed at being reunited and now a year later has filed a lawsuit.
They claim the misconduct by city and county officials has cost them physically and emotionally – from costly drug tests and supervised visitation to eviction and going a year without the bond of family life.
They are now suing for abduction of a child, invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress and false imprisonment and are seeking an unspecified amount of compensatory and punitive damages.
Michael Lewis and Lauren Taylor were overjoyed in August 2012 when their boys were returned to them almost a year after they had first been taken away
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