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Woman loses custody of newborn because of poppy seed dressing

NEWCASTLE, Pa., Aug. 20 (UPI) -- A Pennsylvania woman who failed a drug test because she ate poppy seed dressing is entitled to damages for losing her newborn son for 75 days, a judge ruled.

Eileen Bower was unaware the urine sample she provided to Jameson Health Systems an hour before giving birth to Brandon in July 2009 was being used to test for drugs, Courthouse News Service reported.

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Bower tested positive for morphine because there were poppy seeds in a pasta dressing she had at dinner.

Her newborn son tested negative for drugs, the intake form of Lawrence County Children and Youth Services noted.

U.S. District Judge Terrence McVerry dismissed Bower's claims for negligence against the department but her claim of due process violations under the 14th Amendment survived.

"By taking custody of Baby Brandon without any effort to corroborate the drug test and without talking to the parents, LCCYS policy did not provide sufficient protection for the fundamental parental rights involved in light of the drastic nature of the deprivation," McVerry wrote.

He awarded summary judgment against the child services department with the amount of damages to be determined by a jury.

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