The state Department of Human Services has agreed to pay $9,500 to settle a lawsuit filed after a temporary worker picked up the wrong girl from a Harrah elementary school in 2006.
Oklahoma County District Judge Lisa Davis approved the settlement Thursday.
“It was just a mix-up,” DHS attorney Richard Freeman said. “Once it was determined there had been a mistake, we rectified it as soon as possible.”
Ashley Solmi was a student at Clara Reynolds Elementary School in Harrah when the DHS worker picked her up by mistake April 14, 2006. Ashley was then 9 or 10, her mother told the judge.
Solmi is now 16, the mother said.
Freeman said both the DHS worker and the school made mistakes.
“They gave us the wrong kid, but we didn't catch it,” he said.
The worker was supposed to pick up a different girl for a supervised visit with that girl's family, Freeman said.
The worker instead picked up Solmi, who has a similar first name to the girl who should have been picked up, he said.
Worker not rehired
The temporary social work aide's employment with DHS ended in July 2006, records show. She was never rehired.
Solmi's parents, David and Kimberly Solmi, sued Harrah Public Schools and DHS in 2007. The school district settled in 2010 — also paying $9,500.
The lawsuit alleged the DHS worker “failed to read the ‘pickup order' for the correct child and effectively took Ashley Solmi from her school, without cause, transporting her to the Midwest City office of ... DHS.”
On the way, the DHS worker questioned Ashley Solmi about allegations from the case involving the other girl “all the while Ashley ... kept asking about her parents,” according to the lawsuit.
“The DHS case worker advised Ashley ... they were going to see her father in the hospital. Ashley ... was taken to the Department of Human Services, detained and questioned regarding matters unknown to her. It was only then that DHS employees discovered they had taken the wrong child,” according to the lawsuit.
The family's attorney, Mikel Flores, declined Thursday to comment on the lawsuit.
The judge on Thursday asked how Ashley Solmi was doing.
“She's OK. She's a teenager,” Kimberly Solmi responded.
The judge then asked if the teen had any lasting effects from the incident.
“No,” the mother replied.
Ashley Solmi's share of the two settlements is $12,184.75, court orders show. Her attorney's share for his services and costs is $6,815.25.
Ashley Solmi will not have access to the funds until she turns 18.
The DHS settlement will be paid from insurance funds, Freeman said.