New Castle News

Local News

November 24, 2012

Parties settle in poppy seed bagel lawsuit

NEW CASTLE — A lawsuit filed when an infant was taken away from her mother two years ago appears to have been settled.

However, the terms have not been made public.

The case stemmed from Elizabeth Mort of Neshannock Township having eaten a poppy seed bagel before going into labor and later testing positive for opiates at the hospital in April 2010.

The parents, Elizabeth Mort and Alexander Rodriguez, filed a lawsuit after Jameson Hospital contacted Lawrence County Children and Youth Services, which removed the baby from Mort and placed her in temporary foster care for about a week.

The hospital then learned the positive test was the probable result of her having eaten a poppy seed bagel before going into labor. Poppy seeds contain trace amounts of opium.

The suit was filed on behalf of the baby’s parents by American Civil Liberties Union attorneys against Jameson Hospital, Children and Youth Services, its director Jane Gajda, its supervisor Sandy Copper and caseworker Chrissy Montague.

A U.S. District Court judge had ordered a conciliation conference in Pittsburgh for the parties involved. Those included attorneys for the baby’s parents, Children and Youth Services and its supervisor and caseworker, and Jameson Health System.

Sara J. Rose, the ACLU attorney, said last week she was hopeful a settlement would be reached.

In an order late last week, U.S. District Court Judge David Stewart Cercone confirmed a settlement had been reached “as to all aspects of” the couple’s complaint.

Attempts to reach Rose Wednesday afternoon for comment about the settlement were unsuccessful.

Lawrence County Solicitor Thomas W. Leslie said Wednesday he was unaware of the terms of the settlement, but commented that typically, the county’s share would come out of its insurance deductible, which totals $25,000.

The county has its insurance through Pennsylvania Counties Risk Pool under the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania. Attorney Marie Jones of the Jones Passodelis law firm of Pittsburgh, representing the pool, handled the case on the county’s behalf. Attempts to reach her Wednesday also were unsuccessful.

Jameson spokeswoman Lisa Lombardo said she was unable to reach a hospital spokesperson who would comment on the case.


Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Kara_Petro.jpg Westminster names alumni director

    Westminster College has named Kara Petro as its director of alumni relations.


    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • LATCOM_Unspoken.jpg County fair concert to benefit LATCOM

    The Christian band Unspoken will perform a benefit concert for LATCOM at this month’s Lawrence County Fair. The event will take place at 7 p.m. Aug. 13 in the fairgrounds grandstands.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • FallenWarriorRide.jpg Fallen Warrior Ride to preface soldier tribute

    Area motorcyclists will be heading out once again this month to pay tribute to the nation’s soldiers and veterans. The second annual Fallen Warrior Ride is scheduled to leave Cascade Park at 6 p.m. Aug. 15 for a one-hour, circuitous route to Laurel High School. Once there, riders — led by the Patriot Honor Guard of Western Pennsylvania — will parade into the Lawrence County Fairgrounds, where they’ll join a Salute to the American Soldiers: For God and Country, a crusade by Vision Ministries of Lawrence County.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • LOVEkitchen.jpg Love Kitchen: Little Caesars provides special delivery for Rescue Mission

    The Little Caesars Love Kitchen rolled into the City Rescue Mission for a special delivery Wednesday. A pizza kitchen on wheels, the big rig travels across the United States and Canada to meet the needs of the hungry, the homeless and disaster survivors.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • fairphoto.jpg County fair looks for a few good bakers

    The countdown to the 2014 Lawrence County Fair has begun. In less than two weeks, the fairgrounds will be brimming with animals, vegetables, fruit, flowers, music, food and fun. This year’s fair runs from Aug. 11 to 16.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • CarolineOrrico.jpg Local teen off to state DYW event

    Lawrence County’s 2015 Distinguished Young Woman is heading back into scholarship competition.


    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • NicholsonOffice.jpg County to buy new office for Nicholson

    Before the end of the year, the Lawrence County commissioners plan to move District Judge Jennifer Nicholson into new offices.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • PortersvilleSS.jpg Portersville Steam Show summer event arrives

    The Portersville Steam Show will stage its summer event Thursday through Sunday at its show grounds.


    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Veteran.jpg Veterans seminar to view technology

    A veterans benefits seminar has been set for Friday. The program will run from 2 to 4 p.m. in the commissioners room of the Lawrence County courthouse.


    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Part-time guard position created

    The Lawrence County Salary Board created a part-time temporary court guard position Tuesday.


    July 30, 2014