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Thursday, February 21, 2019

Court awards $1.5 million to Anniston couple who lost custody of child

Tim Lockette
The Anniston Star
Originally posted December 13, 2018

A Calhoun County jury ordered a psychologist to pay $1.5 million in damages to a couple who lost custody of their child following the psychologist’s evaluation of them.

John and Farrah Lynn were Anniston residents in 2014, when the Department of Human Resources placed their infant son Oliver in foster care. Oliver Lynn, who had been born with a birth defect, died a little more than a month later.

“Everybody, even DHR, said there was nothing wrong with this family,” said the couple’s lawyer, George Monk. “Only the psychologist objected.”

According to court documents, Oliver Lynn’s birth defect required surgery at Children’s Hospital in Birmingham. The hospital contacted DHR before the infant was released back to the Lynns, setting up an in-home visit to determine whether the Lynns were able to care for the child while he was recovering from surgery.

Social workers found no problem at the Lynns’ Anniston home, Monk said, but did request a psychological assessment of both parents. Dennis Sizelove, a clinical psychologist and owner of Faith-Based Psychological Associates in Sheffield, examined both John and Farrah Lynn.

Sizelove recommended removing the child from the home, citing “occupational, social, and emotional functioning” that put the infant at risk of harm. Sizelove also noted a “self-reported inability to read” on behalf of both the parents.

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