Kaye Scholer Victorious in Having Class Certified in Litigation Against Oklahoma's Child Welfare System
On May 5, 2009, U.S. District Judge Gregory Frizzell (N.D. Oklahoma) granted a motion to certify a class of children in the custody of Oklahoma's Department of Health and Human Services. The class action litigation — filed on February 13, 2008 by Kaye Scholer LLP, in its capacity as co-counsel with Children's Rights, Inc. and four local Oklahoma law firms — seeks reform of Oklahoma's child welfare system on behalf of the more than 10,000 children placed in its care. The Kaye Scholer team, led by Phillip A. Geraci (Partner, Litigation, Securities & Derivatives Litigation, New York Office), took the lead on drafting the Class Certification Motion and related filings. Children's Rights, the national watchdog organization that advocates on behalf of abused and neglected foster children throughout the United States, handled the oral argument with significant help from the Kaye Scholer team. Ruling from the bench, Judge Frizzell stated that “the remedies dealing with caseload limitations and monitoring the safety of children in foster care appear to meet the requirements" of Rules 23 and 65 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. On the heels of his denial of the defendants' motion to dismiss, Judge Frizzell stated that any appeal by the defendants would not stay class-wide discovery, which should begin immediately.