Josh Kovner of The Hartford Courant reports as follows:
"A federal appeals court has given two Connecticut residents a chance to prove the state child protection agency trampled on their rights by removing two children at birth based on "perceptions and stereotypes" of the parents' mental health.
The U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals issued its ruling Friday, sending the case of Joseph Watley, 61, and Karin Hasemann, 47, back to the U.S. District Court.
The pair claim that their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act were violated when the state Department of Children and Families terminated their parental rights.
U.S. District Judge Robert N. Chatigny dismissed the couple's case.
The appeals court, in part, said the district court erred when it ruled it lacked jurisdiction and then denied the couple's motion for appointment of a lawyer. The parents had been representing themselves.
"District courts should not dismiss a pro se complaint without giving the plaintiff an opportunity to be heard "[u]nless it is unmistakably clear that the court lacks jurisdiction, or that the complaint lacks merit or is otherwise defective," the appeals court ruled..."