|Judge Says County Must Produce Thousands of Files, Orders SanctionsA federal judge last week gave Clark County Child Welfare Officials until Oct. 3 to turn over 1,100 child abuse files to the National Center for Youth Law (NCYL) and has also ordered they pay NCYL’s legal fees for the court fight to get the files.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Johnston found the county’s conduct unacceptable and rebuked them for being “recalcitrant” and failing to comply with his first order to turn over the files, issued last March.
Judge Johnston stated that the County has been “piecemealing this court and plaintiffs to death” with their various legal challenges and told them to “get the discovery done.” e found that the County’s actions were a misuse of the court’s resources.
The child welfare records are being sought by NCYL as part of its lawsuit against the Clark County Division of Family Services (DFS) for failing to protect the children in its care. NCYL cites “overwhelming evidence” of the harm suffered by children in the child welfare system, including physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, denial of medical and mental health care, and chronic instability.
“If these files didn’t show any damning information, we wouldn’t be battling. They would have turned them over,” said Bill Grimm, a senior attorney with NCYL and lead counsel in the case.
Clark County DYS had said in court documents that the files comprise about 235,000 pages and would take them two years to produce.Media CoverageEditorialNews