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Saturday, May 18, 2024 | Back issues
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Adoption Firm Ducked Judgment, Parents Say

DALLAS (CN) - A Texas adoption agency is ducking a $1.9 million judgment on the adoption of a child injured by its natural mother's drug use, a married couple claims in court.

John and Jane Doe sued Deborah Hug, in Dallas County Court.

Hug is owner, president, chief executive officer and director of Adoption Access Inc. She and her company lost the judgment in November 2012, in a jury ruling in state District Judge Martin Hoffman's court.

The judgment includes return of more than $33,000 in adoption fees and more than $920,000 for care and treatment of the child.

"AA did not appeal the final judgment," the new complaint states. "Rather, upon information and belief, AA - acting in concert with Hug and [Hug's current boyfriend, nonparty Thomas] Currie - has engaged in inequitable conduct solely calculated to avoid payment of the final judgment to plaintiffs."

The Does sued Hug and AA in 2010, alleging for fraud, negligence, breach of contract, fraudulent inducement, negligent misrepresentation and violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

They accused the agency of inappropriately managing the adoption of their child: withholding critical information about the birth mother and breaking adoption laws in Texas and Oklahoma.

The Does claimed the agency failed to perform a criminal background check that would have uncovered the birth mother's arrest for drug offenses before the child was born.

"The birth mother is now a recovering methamphetamine addict who admitted to using drugs throughout her pregnancy," the original complaint stated. "In violation of AA's own policies, the birth mother was not screened for drugs or alcohol before being accepted into its placement program."

The Does claim the agency refused to perform a DNA test for the birth mother's ex-boyfriend, who contacted the agency two weeks before the child's birth. They claim the defendants misspelled the man's name in legal documents and failed to properly serve him with legal notice of termination of his parental rights, claiming they could not locate him.

"The above facts illustrate the adoption experience the Does had with AA was mishandled from the onset," the plaintiffs said in the original complaint. "Even though Hug was the only licensed Child Placement Administrator for AA, the evidence indicates she provided little day-to-day supervision of the business of AA."

The Does say they found out in December 2012, through discovery responses, that the agency has "no identifiable assets" and is "inadequately capitalized."

And after a review of financial records this month, the Does say, they found proof that Hug diverted agency money for personal use and commingled funds.

One month after the judgment, the Does say, Hug and Currie set up a trust with Hug as the trustee, and transferred ownership of the agency's Dallas offices and four other parcels of real property to the trust.

"There is such a unity between Hug and AA that the separateness of Hug and AA has ceased, such that holding only AA liable for plaintiff's damages ... would result in injustice," the new complaint states. "Hug has used the corporate fiction as a sham to perpetuate a fraud."

Adoption Access was founded in 1992, and provides one-on-one counseling for birth mothers throughout the placement process, according to its website. It claims to have an "extremely high" placement rate of 85 percent.

"We are able to maintain this level because we provide extensive counseling and social services to our birth mothers, so that only birth mothers for whom adoption is the right choice will choose a family and make a placement plan," the agency states on its website. "This is a safe process wherein biological parents' rights are terminated; and, this is permanent, final, and irrevocable under Texas law."

The Does seek judgment on their alter ego claim. They are represented by Mark Johansen with Gruber Hurst of Dallas.

Follow @davejourno
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