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Dennis Slate Recounts CPS Case on Do No Harm

Dennis Slate Recounts CPS Case on Do No Harm

Attorney Slate Speaks About His Fight to Protect Clients in New Podcast

Attorney Dennis Slate has been fighting to protect families in the Greater Houston area for over 17 years. One of his most recent victories, reuniting two wrongfully-removed children with their parents and securing a rare $127,000 sanction from Child Protective Services (CPS) for the family, was recently covered by Do No Harm.

Do No Harm is a podcast hosted by Mike Hixenbaugh who, working alongside fellow reporter Keri Blakinger, followed stories of families’ struggles with CPS. The 7-episode series follows Melissa and Dillon Bright’s agonizing battle with CPS while incorporating additional cases where children were hurt by the system whose sole purpose is to protect them.

The case is paradigmatic of Attorney Slate’s formidability and power to fight for clients’ best interests. No matter the type of family law case he works on, he brings a remarkable work ethic that consistently gets results.

The Bright Case

It all started as a typical, warm September day back in 2018. Unfortunately, it wasn’t long until metaphorical clouds filled the sky and turned the day into one of the worst of Melissa and Dillon Bright’s lives.

Their five-month-old son, Mason, fell off of a chair in their driveway. After being rushed to Texas Children’s Hospital, doctors found one fracture on his skull and an unexpected second hairline fracture that was bleeding severely.

Physicians with a subspecialty for identifying cases of child abuse and neglect raised concern for Mason’s injuries. One said that Mason’s wounds indicated that there was a high probability for abuse.

The Brights immediately sought and successfully received second opinions that offer explanations for the mysterious second fracture. One radiologist concluded that the short fall could in fact be responsible for both fractures, while a Texas Children’s Hospital hematologist diagnosed Mason with von Willebrand disease type 1 – a blood clotting disorder.

When the Brights tried to provide CPS with these findings, CPS dismissively said, “We already have all of the information we need,” remembers Dillon.

Mason and his older sister, Charlotte, were staying with their grandparents while the investigation lingered on. When Mason had his surgery, however, Dillon told CPS that he would work with them however they like, but he needed to take Mason and Charlotte home.

After three weeks of radio silence from CPS, the case worker came to take Mason and Charlotte. Melissa and Dillon, without having received any notification of an emergency custody hearing, were unable to present the judge with the second opinions on Mason’s injuries. Mason and Charlotte were taken to separate foster homes that night.

The children’s aunt was allowed to receive the kids three days later. Melissa and Dillon waited anxiously at her house for the kids to arrive. When the case worker dropped the children off, Mason was hoarse and crying without making any sound. Charlotte was in a stranger’s dress, which was put on inside out and backwards. She had a gash on her face and a severe rash from being fed dairy despite having an allergy to it.

“By the time we got to court, the kids had been injured. But, not by their parents. By the state,” said Judge Mike Schneider, who ruled on the case.

Attorney Dennis Slate’s Role

After the children were taken to separate foster homes, the Brights called Attorney Dennis Slate. From the moment he was brought onto the case, Slate hit the ground running.

Dennis called and demanded to speak with officials responsible for overseeing CPS investigations. He brought up their failure to uphold their agreement to place Mason and Charlotte with another family member. The children were brought to their aunt’s home a few days later.

Attorney Slate continued with the same assertiveness until the case was won and the Brights were reunited with their children. He spent hours reviewing records. He worked tirelessly with Melissa and Dillon, prepping them for questions they may be called to answer in a testimony. Throughout it all, he had an unwavering dedication to seeking justice for the Brights.

Attorney Ryan Mitchell was originally assigned to the case. When he heard that the Brights hired Attorney Slate in his place, he knew CPS had a tough fight ahead. He remembered his reaction in the podcast, saying:

Think about it. If you are a father and CPS is trying to rip your kid from your arms, do you want somebody who's going to be passive, who's going to roll over and just accept the status quo? Or do you want the guy that's going to go in there with guns blazing? You're going to hire a gunslinger. And Dennis is a gunslinger.

Mike Hixenbaugh went on to point out, “Dennis doesn't care what anyone thinks about him. He believes CPS has an important job, but so does he.”

And that’s the attitude that Dennis carries into every case he handles. He knows that, like all of us at Slate & Associates, Attorneys at Law, our priority is to fight for the families and their futures.

For help with your case, contact Slate & Associates, Attorneys at Law online or at (281) 407-9254.
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Please note, the attorneys at Slate & Associates, Attorneys at Law, are only licensed to practice in the state of Texas, and cannot assist with out-of-state cases.