A Staten Island mom is making national headlines today after suing the city of West Brighton for $900 trillion, alleging the city improperly placed her two children in foster care.
The $900 trillion figure, first reported by the New York Post, certainly is staggering and the standard response so far has been to treat the lawsuit as something of a joke, focusing on the mother's alleged mental illness.
But I have to agree with the Inquisitr's Kim LaCapria, who says plaintiff Fausat Ogunbayo is actually quite clever in choosing to sue for $900 trillion. After all, how many people would be reading about this story and discussing Ogunbayo's plight had she quietly filed her petition without seeking monetary compensation?
Of course there's no way she'll get a settlement remotely approaching that number, if she is awarded anything at all. After all, the entire U.S. has an annual gross national income of just over $14 trillion. Or, put another way, if Ogunbayo was awarded $900 trillion she'd have enough disposable income to pay off the U.S. national debt several dozen times over.
Ogunbayo sued the city and the Administration for Children's Services (ACS), alleging that both entities violated her and her children's civil liberties by placing them in foster care in June, 2008. In her lawsuit, obtained by The Smoking Gun, Ogunbayo listed her grievances as follows:
"For causing plaintiff substantial economic hardship; for causing plaintiff substantial economic injuries; for depriving plaintiff and plaintiff children's Civil Right, 42 U.S.C. section 1983; for depriving plaintiff and plaintiff's children, the right to family integrity; for depriving plaintiff and plaintiff's children, the right to life, liberty, property and the right guaranteed by statute; for disregarding the probability of plaintiff's children, suffering emotional and mental distress."
The city has not responded to Ogunbayo's lawsuit but contends that she is mentally ill and unable to properly care for her two boys, who are now teenagers.The New York City Law Department released a statement to ABC News, which said, "We are unable to comment on pending litigation. The amount a plaintiff requests in a lawsuit has no bearing on whether the case has any merit and no relation to actual damages if any."
The state alleges Ogunbayo suffers from hallucinations, refuses mental health treatment and placed her children at risk by leaving them at home for several hours each day. Two of the more specific allegations are that Ogunbayo wrote to her children's former school, insisting that the FBI and Secret Service were after her children and that their skin was becoming darker due to radiation exposure.
However, the state Appellate Division recently threw out a family court finding that Ogunbayo was guilty of neglecting her children. "Proof of mental illness alone will not support a finding of neglect," the court ruled, according to SILive.com
Ogunbayo is representing herself in the case.
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