This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2007, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Posted: 5:24 PM- A Layton couple awarded just $2 for the wrongful removal of their son by Utah child welfare caseworkers are entitled to recover some of their attorney's fees and costs, a federal judge ruled on Tuesday.
U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball ordered the state to pay Connie and James Roska $27,768, which he said, "is equal to the amount of fees and costs to which they are entitled minus the costs to which the [state is] entitled."
The order comes after the Roskas' lawyer, Steven Russell, requested the state cover his legal fees of $536,000. In response, state attorneys filed a motion seeking payment of $4,174 in witness and court fees.
Kimball partially granted the Roskas' motion, but said they had a responsibility to weigh the risks of going to trial versus settling.
"The fact that some judges viewed that there was no case should have been a warning sign that jurors could feel the same way," wrote Kimball.
The Roskas sued three caseworkers at Utah's Division of Child and Family Services after a federal appeals court ruled the caseworkers violated Utah law and could be held personally liable for taking custody of the Roskas' 12-year-old son in 1999 without a warrant or court order. A federal jury awarded the Roskas $1 for each parent.
The state offered to settle with the Roskas three times: Once for $5,000, again for $100,000 and most recently for $200,000.
Connie Roska said Tuesday she wishes she could repay her attorney, but that money was never the object.
"We made a difference, we changed the laws and protected families and children," said Roska. "But I still haven't gotten my public apology."