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Federal judge rules Oklahoma must pay $6 million to New York child advocacy group

Judge orders payment to advocacy group for its work on a lawsuit that caused state DHS to make reforms.
by Nolan Clay Modified: April 4, 2013 at 10:56 am •  Published: April 4, 2013

A federal judge has awarded $6 million to a New York-based advocacy group for its work on a lawsuit that caused DHS to reform its child welfare practices.

The state of Oklahoma is responsible for paying the award.

Children's Rights last year asked for $9,520,419 in attorney fees and expenses.

The Department of Human Services argued the group should get only $2.6 million to $3.7 million “if the court determines that the plaintiffs are entitled to an award at all.”

In a March 31 order, U.S. District Judge Gregory Frizzell awarded the group $6,011,888.

The child advocacy group sued DHS officials in 2008 in federal court in Tulsa.

The class-action lawsuit was settled last year when DHS agreed to make changes.

Award was reduced

The group sued on behalf of the state's foster children. The group alleged DHS policies and practices were so bad that neglected and abused children were being harmed or were at risk of harm at state shelters and foster homes.

The judge significantly cut how much Children's Rights attorneys will be paid largely because of problems with their bills for time spent on the case. The judge described the bills as vague, insufficiently detailed, excessive and duplicative.

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by Nolan Clay
Sr. Reporter
Nolan Clay was born in Oklahoma and has worked as a reporter for The Oklahoman since 1985. He covered the Oklahoma City bombing trials and witnessed bomber Tim McVeigh's execution. His investigative reports have brought down public officials,...
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