Federal judge throws out Hancock DHS lawsuit

Federal judge throws out Hancock DHS lawsuit

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - A federal judge has dismissed the lawsuit filed by a Waveland woman against the Hancock Department of Human Services and two of its employees.

Marie Gill filed the lawsuit in September 2015, saying two social workers forged paperwork that prevented her from getting her children back after they were placed in state custody in February 2015.

Hancock County Sheriff's office investigating DHS

The judge said state and federal laws protect DHS because it is a state agency and its employees enjoy "qualified immunity."

According to court documents, Gill said her three children were placed into the custody of the parents of her soon-to-be ex-husband after a marital dispute.

According to court documents, Gill admitted to drinking nail polish remover during the fight but denied swallowing any. Authorities responded to the "attempted suicide," and Gill reportedly said she had "no reason to live."

Court documents show Gill was taken to Garden Park Medical Center for evaluation and later released.

The lawsuit said social workers Tequila Hall and Patricia Piazza presented a "safety plan" that recommended the children remain in the custody of their grandparents during the investigation.

A safety plan ultimately determines if children should be taken out of their home and placed in DHS custody.

The document shows Gill agreed to sign the plan after Piazza said her children would be placed in foster care if she didn't.

Gill claimed Hall and Piazza doctored the safety plan after she signed it and presented the falsified document to the judge hearing her case.

Gill alleged the agency violated her constitutional rights, failed to properly train its employees and follow procedures, and acted negligently through their actions.

Gill's children were returned to her after the investigation was complete.

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