- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 1, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Indiana officials are appealing a $31 million judgment awarded to parents falsely blamed for the death of their 14-year-old daughter.

A federal court jury in Hammond determined last year that three Department of Child Services employees, an Indiana State Police detective and a doctor violated the constitutional rights of Roman and Lynnette Finnegan and their children by sabotaging investigations into the girl’s death, the Indianapolis Star (https://indy.st/2f6FrSk ) reported. The jury ruled that the officials had retaliated against the couple for complaining about how they were treated.

The state attorney general’s office asked the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday to review several decisions made in the case, including the jury’s verdict and the federal judge’s denial of motions for summary judgment. The office also asked the court to reduce the amount awarded.

U.S. District Judge Rudy Lozano denied the state’s motion to reduce the amount awarded and said the amount awarded by the jury was “rationally connected to the evidence presented.”

The Finnegans’ 14-year-old daughter was found dead in their home in 2005. The Indiana Department of Child Services and Indiana State Police suspected the Finnegans caused the girl’s death. The state took custody of the couple’s three other children and arrested the couple, said Richard Waples, an attorney for the couple.

It was later determined the girl, who had a congenital heart defect and suffered from a seizure disorder, died as a result of her doctor prescribing too much of a medication that caused bleeding in her brain, court records said.

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Information from: The Indianapolis Star, https://www.indystar.com


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