June 26, 2017

On June 6th, Erick Kaardal, attorney for Anmarie Calgaro, appealed the decision of St. Paul District Judge Paul Magnuson that dismissed Calgaro’s lawsuit against state and county agencies, the school district, and a private health facility. Judge Magnuson ruled on May 23rd that Calgaro’s civil rights were NOT violated despite the fact that these entities treated her minor son as an adult, providing services and benefits to him without her knowledge or consent.

“We are encouraged and excited about this appeal,” stated Child Protection League President Michele Lentz. This lawsuit was first filed because each of those entities deprived this mother of her constitutional parental rights by treating her son as an emancipated minor. The federal court was asked to declare that her due process rights under the 14th amendment of the Constitution were being violated and to fully restore them. The ruling to dismiss those charges had to be appealed!”

Unless you are a family caught in this legal tangle, you likely are unaware that Minnesota minors are deemed “emancipated” if they can support themselves financially and if they are living independently. No age limit is established. Under this statute, no court hearing is required and parents have no right to be notified or to be provided an opportunity to state their case before a judge.

Clearly, parents’ constitutional rights are being violated. In all other cases involving the loss of parental rights, such as paternity, divorce, or the involvement of child protection services, a court hearing is mandatory. In this situation, however, as other Minnesota parents have also discovered, parental rights are being arbitrarily terminated.

It’s hard to overstate the peculiarity of Judge Magnuson’s ruling. He dismissed her case without ever referencing or addressing the state law at issue! In fact, he specifically stated that, absent a court order to terminate her parental rights, “Calgaro’s parental rights over [her son] remain intact.” One might mistakenly think he was arguing Calgaro’s side of the case!

Since Judge Magnuson had ruled that Calgaro has full parental authority, she again requested that the school provide her son’s educational records for her review.

The school denied her request, this time responding:

Minnesota Statutes section 13.02 requires the District to withhold records from a parent when doing so is in the best interests of the student and the student requests that the District withhold those records.

Attorneys for the school district went on to state that, since Calgaro had filed a lawsuit to assert her parental rights, her request should be denied in order to protect her son from “further harm.”  Consider that. The school administration is empowered to decide that Calgaro is harmful to her son because she challenged the violation of her parental rights in court.

Anmarie Calgaro’s son turns turns 18 in July when he will no longer be a minor. According to Kaardal, however, this case does not become “moot,” because the situation is “capable of repetition.” It can, and it most certainly will, happen again. No court hearing date has yet been established. We will keep you informed.

Child Protection League supports Anmarie Calgaro in her appeal of Judge Magnuson’s outrageous ruling. Please help us support her, because she is fighting for the rights of every parent.