NYC mom sues city for $900 trillion for taking custody of her children
posted at 1:12 pm on February 9, 2012 by Howard Portnoy
A woman who claims that the city of New York violated her and her children’s civil liberties by placing them in foster care has filed a civil suit. In and of itself, the story is sad but unremarkable. What makes it worthy of commentary is the amount that the plaintiff is seeking in damages—$900 trillion, a sum that exceeds the nation’s Gross National Product many times over.
The plaintiff, 46-year-old Fausat Ogunbayo, of Staten Island, was forced to surrender her two sons to the city’s Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) in 2008 after the agency investigated reports that she placed the children at risk by leaving them at home alone for several hours each day. A psychiatric evaluation revealed that Ogunbayo suffers from hallucinations but refused mental health treatment.
According to her lawsuit, which was filed last week in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, Ogunbayo contends that the government “recklessly disregarded” her “right to family integrity” and that she is in fact mentally stable. She further submits that her children, who were 9 and 12 at the time of their removal, suffered undue “emotional and mental distress” as a result.
The city released a statement to the effect that it is “unable to comment on pending litigation” but that “the amount a plaintiff requests in a lawsuit has no bearing on whether the case has any merit and no relation to actual damages if any.”
Yet, it is the dollar amount specified in the suit that has catapulted the story into the headlines. The New York Post, one of the first news outlets to report the suit, quips that if Ogunbayo wins, “she could pay off the US national debt and still have $885 trillion left.”
The Post also quotes one of her neighbors as saying, “she has this ritual where, every night around 2:30 a.m. or so, she starts chanting things like, ‘Fight those who fight against me,’ and ‘Hallelujah.’” Yahoo! News cites specific other examples of her alleged mental instability:
Ogunbayo wrote to her children’s former school, insisting that the FBI and Secret Service were after her children and that their skin was becoming darker due to radiation exposure.
The website also reports that Ogunbayo is representing herself in the case.
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