LAWSUIT: Cabinet social worker lied about abuse allegations against Louisville parents
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – A Louisville mother and father have filed a lawsuit against a Cabinet for Health and Family Services social worker, alleging she was caught lying to the court in claiming the couple had abused or neglected their children.
The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Jefferson Circuit Court on behalf of Dr. James Tipton and Rachel Tipton, alleges that Michelle Isham deliberately misrepresented what witnesses told her in “falsely accusing” the Tiptons of abusing or putting their children in danger.
Following a trial, a Jefferson Family Court judge dismissed the case on Sept. 3, 2014, after several witnesses testified that “statements attributed to them” in interviews with Isham were “not true or were misleading or taken out of context,” according to court records in the case.
Isham did not record any of her interviews, according to the lawsuit, instead generating hand-written notes weeks after she spoke with witnesses in the summer of 2013.
Judge Eleanor Garber wrote in her order dismissing the abuse case that she “cringes at the thought that (Isham's) notes, without a taped record, could alone be deemed a full and accurate record of testimony at hearings.”
Attorney Pete Lay, who represents the Tiptons, said multiple witnesses testified that they had to correct Isham during their interviews, in which she was misquoting them. Among those Isham interviewed were teachers, physicians and the children.
As a result of the allegations, Rachel Tipton had only supervised visits with her four children for more than a year.
“The nightmare that these two (the Tiptons) went through has to be made right,” Lay said. “And losing your kids for over a year can never be made right. But we are going to do everything we can to correct it.”
In her order dismissing the case, Judge Garber found that it is “highly unlikely” there had been any abuse or neglect and called the parents “loving, caring and dedicated.”
The cabinet also found the claims against the Tiptons unsubstantiated, according to records.
A spokesperson for the cabinet said they had not yet seen the lawsuit and declined to comment.
Claims made in filing a lawsuit present only one side of the case.
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