FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Minnesota Nineteen-Year-Old sues her Father, Hennepin and Carver Counties, along with Social Workers, Guardians at litem, and lawyers for an excess of $240 Million for Deprivation of Civil Rights
03/17/2017 Minneapolis, MN, US
Annelise Rice, a hockey player at UND and graduate of Minnetonka High School, filed a lawsuit on March 17, 2017, in Minnesota federal court seeking damages for deprivation of civil rights by tortuous intervention in a mother-child relationship and deprivation of rights under color of the law (Civil Action No. 17-cv-796 ADM/HB).
Annelise’s father, Brent Rice, branch manager of Merrill Lynch Wayzata, is a defendant on the lawsuit. Employees of Hennepin County (Michael Borowiak, Jolene Lukanen, Michael Garelick, Richard Witucki, Judith Hoy, Jean Peterson) and Carver County (Nicole Mercil, Bethany Koch, Sarah Kulesa, Brenda K. Dehmer, Carole Cole), and Brent Rice’s lawyer, Cory D. Gilmer, are also listed among the eighteen defendants. The defendants include court-appointed Guardians at litem, Social Workers, and lawyers who were involved in the custody evaluation and CHIPS (Child in Need of Protection or Services) proceedings for Annelise Rice. The proceedings began in Hennepin County and were moved to Carver County when the family moved.
Judges, lawyers, and social workers no longer have absolute immunity and can be held responsible for their actions that deprive Constitutional rights, even if they are acting in an official role.
This case is highly unusual due to the large amount of defendants involved. The defendants conspired to deny Annelise access to the courts and intentionally inflicted emotional distress on Annelise while she was still a minor. Defendants knowingly interfered with Annelise’s constitutional right to a relationship with her mother and four siblings, causing inordinate stress and difficulty.
Annelise asks the court for relief in an amount great enough to deter defendants and others in similar positions from engaging in this egregious misconduct in the future.There have been many cases of negligence by social services that have put young lives at risk. Social workers, Guardians at litem, lawyers, and judges need to be held accountable to prevent further neglect, abuse, and deaths of children in protective care. This lawsuit could potentially turn into a class action suit, because of the amount of families that have been mistreated in this way.