37 F.Supp.2d 1035 (N.D.Ill. 1998), 98 C 1850, Hebein ex rel. Berman v. Young

Docket Nº98 C 1850.
Citation37 F.Supp.2d 1035
Party NameAmanda HEBEIN, a minor, by her next friend Pilar BERMAN, Pilar Berman and Norman Berman, Plaintiffs, v. Jackie YOUNG, an employee of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, in his individual capacity, et al., Defendants.
Case DateSeptember 25, 1998
CourtUnited States District Courts, 7th Circuit, United States District Court (Northern District of Illinois)

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37 F.Supp.2d 1035 (N.D.Ill. 1998)

Amanda HEBEIN, a minor, by her next friend Pilar BERMAN, Pilar Berman and Norman Berman, Plaintiffs,

v.

Jackie YOUNG, an employee of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, in his individual capacity, et al., Defendants.

No. 98 C 1850.

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division.

Sept. 25, 1998

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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Robert E. Lehrer, Diane L. Redlead, Leher & Redleaf, Chicago, IL, for Plaintiff.

Cynthia J. Wood, Charles A. Rego, Ill. Attorney General's Office, Chicago, IL, Ronald Kawanna, Jr., Edward A. Antonietti, Calumet, City, IL, Ronald N. Primack, Lansing, IL, Jon Yambert, Sharon M. Pearl, Chilton, Yambert & Porter, Chicago, IL, for Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

HART, District Judge.

This case involves a dispute regarding custody of a four-year-old girl. Possible physical abuse was reported by a day care worker which resulted in the girl being placed in the custody of her grandparents for approximately eight months. Plaintiffs complain that employees of the state's child welfare agency and a local police department, as well as the grandparents, acted wrongfully in separating the girl from her mother and stepfather.

Plaintiffs in this case are Amanda Hebein, 1 her mother Pilar Berman, and Norman Berman. Norman is the husband of Pilar and stepfather of Amanda. During the times relevant to this case, Norman apparently had no legal right to custody of Amanda; the parental rights in question are Pilar's right to custody or a relationship with Amanda. Named as defendants are four employees of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services ("DCFS") and four employees of the Calumet City Police Department ("CCPD"). Also named as defendants are Reno Boe and Anita Boe, Pilar's parents. 2 The DCFS defendants are Jackie Young, an investigator in the Division of Child Protection ("DCP"); Sandy Threatt, a DCP lead investigator who was Young's immediate supervisor; Veronica Edmonds, a DCP employee; and Roy Hall, a caseworker responsible for "follow-up" work after the initial investigation by DCP employees. The CCPD defendants are Walter Bergstrom, Timothy Murphy, Ronald Hanrahan, and Paul Ritchie. The state defendants are sued in their individual capacities only. Presently pending are motions to dismiss all the claims against the state defendants, which would be all the federal claims. 3

The complaint contains eight counts. Count I is labeled as a "42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim for violation of Fourth Amendment right not to be subject to unreasonable seizures." Count I is brought by Amanda against DCFS defendants Young, Edmonds, and Threatt, and all four CCPD defendants. Amanda claims that taking her from her parents' home was without any rational or reasonable basis. Count II is labeled as a "42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim for violation of substantive due process rights of minor not to be placed in a dangerous environment by state officials, and to be protected from harm when state officials have taken her into custody against her will and restrained her liberty." Count II is brought by Amanda against the four DCFS defendants. Amanda claims defendants knew or suspected that being placed with the Boes would be dangerous to her. Count III is labeled as a "42 U.S.C. § 1983

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claim for violation of substantive due process rights to family association, family autonomy, family integrity, and family privacy." Count III is brought by Amanda and Pilar against all ten defendants. Plaintiffs claim defendants lacked a rational or reasonable basis for depriving plaintiffs of their rights. Count IV is labeled as a "42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim for violation of procedural due process rights." Count IV is brought by Amanda and Pilar against the four DCFS defendants and the Boes. Plaintiffs complain about defendants taking over two months to initiate a judicial hearing, making false representations to secure a hearing, and obtaining a court order on a constitutionally infirm record. The remaining counts are supplemental state law claims against the Boes. 4

On a Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, a plaintiff's well-pleaded allegations of fact are taken as true and all reasonable inferences are drawn in the plaintiff's favor. Leatherman v. Tarrant County Narcotics Unit, 507 U.S. 163, 164-65, 113 S.Ct. 1160, 122 L.Ed.2d 517 (1993); Swofford v. Mandrell, 969 F.2d 547, 549 (7th Cir. 1992). A complaint need not set forth all relevant facts or recite the law; all that is required is a short and plain statement showing that the party is entitled to relief. Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a); Doherty v. City of Chicago, 75 F.3d 318, 322 (7th Cir. 1996). A plaintiff in a suit in federal court need not plead facts; conclusions may be pleaded as long as the defendant has at least minimal notice of the claim. Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2); Jackson v. Marion County, 66 F.3d 151, 153-54 (7th Cir. 1995); Albiero v. City of Kankakee, 122 F.3d 417, 419 (7th Cir. 1997). It is unnecessary to specifically identify the legal basis for a claim. Albiero, 122 F.3d at 419; Bartholet v. Reishauer A.G. (Zurich), 953 F.2d 1073, 1078 (7th Cir. 1992). It is also true, however, that a party can plead him or herself out of court by alleging facts showing he or she has no viable claim. Jackson, 66 F.3d at 153-54; Tregenza v. Great American Communications Co., 12 F.3d 717, 718 (7th Cir. 1993), cert. denied, 511 U.S. 1085, 114 S.Ct. 1837, 128 L.Ed.2d 465 (1994); Early v. Bankers Life & Casualty Co., 959 F.2d 75, 79 (7th Cir. 1992). Further, as long as they are consistent with the allegations of the complaint, a plaintiff may assert additional facts in his or her response to a motion to dismiss. Albiero, 122 F.3d at 419; Travel All Over the World, Inc. v. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 73 F.3d 1423, 1428 (7th Cir. 1996); Highsmith v. Chrysler Credit Corp., 18 F.3d 434, 439-40 (7th Cir. 1994); Hrubec v. National Railroad Passenger Corp., 981 F.2d 962, 963-64 (7th Cir. 1992). Although the complaint itself need not specifically or correctly identify the legal basis for any claim, in response to a motion to dismiss that raises issues as to a claim, the plaintiff must identify the legal basis for the claim and make adequate legal arguments in support of it. Stransky v. Cummins Engine Co., 51 F.3d 1329, 1335 (7th Cir. 1995); Levin v. Childers, 101 F.3d 44, 46 (6th Cir. 1996); Carpenter v. City of Northlake, 948 F.Supp. 759, 765 (N.D.Ill.1996). See also Teumer v. General Motors Corp., 34 F.3d 542, 545 (7th Cir. 1994).

While a motion to dismiss is generally decided on the pleadings alone, judicial notice may be taken of proceedings in other courts if the proceedings are directly related to the case. Scholes v. Lehmann, 56 F.3d 750, 762 (7th Cir.), cert. denied, 516 U.S. 1028, 116 S.Ct. 673, 133 L.Ed.2d 522 (1995); Green v. Warden, 699 F.2d 364, 369 (7th Cir.), cert. denied, 461 U.S. 960, 103 S.Ct. 2436, 77 L.Ed.2d 1321 (1983). Documents that are referred to in the complaint and are central to the plaintiff's claim may also be considered even if

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not attached to the complaint. Duferco Steel Inc. v. M/V Kalisti, 121 F.3d 321, 324 n. 3 (7th Cir. 1997); Venture Associates Corp. v. Zenith Data Systems Corp., 987 F.2d 429, 431 (7th Cir. 1993). The DCFS defendants provide court orders and pleadings from state court custody proceedings and a related criminal case against Norman. Although other objections are raised, plaintiffs do not question the authenticity of the court documents provided. Judicial notice of these documents may be taken without converting the DCFS defendants' motion into one for summary judgment. The state court documents, however, will be considered only for the purpose of determining what pertinent court proceedings or orders may have taken place. The factual assertions contained in some of the state court pleadings will not be assumed to be true-at most, such assertions show what accusations were made before the state court. The police report attached to the CCPD defendants' reply brief is not a document that may be considered in ruling on the motion to dismiss and it will not be considered.

Taking into account the above stated rules, the facts assumed to be true for purposes of ruling on the motions to dismiss are as follows. Amanda was born on December 23, 1992. She suffers from cerebral palsy and requires special care, including the use of leg braces. Her speech development has also been delayed. Pilar is Amanda's mother. After Pilar separated from Amanda's father, Pilar and Amanda moved into a house owned by ReNo. The Boes cared for Amanda during the day while Pilar worked. After her divorce, Pilar began dating Norman and they were married in May 1996, with Norman moving into the Reno-owned house. Prior to May 1996, Norman apparently maintained a separate apartment, but was involved in Amanda's care.

In February 1996, it was determined that Amanda would need glasses and leg braces. This upset Reno who became incensed with Norman and thereafter expressed hatred toward him. Pilar and Norman became concerned that the Boes were not adequately caring for Amanda during the daytime. Effective April 1, 1996, Pilar enrolled Amanda in the Tiny Town Day Care Center in Lansing, Illinois. This decision upset the Boes who began a concerted effort to take custody of Amanda away from Pilar. As part of this effort, they began making false reports of abuse to DCFS. On March 26, 1996, Reno falsely reported that Pilar and Norman were not adequately feeding Amanda and that they were leaving her in the care of an unqualified 11-year-old. In May 1996, DCFS concluded this report was unfounded. In the meantime, Reno continued to make false reports of abuse or neglect.

Because of her cerebral palsy, Amanda frequently fell, resulting in...

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8 practice notes
  • Minuteman international., Inc. v. Great American Insurance Co., 031804 ILNDC, 03 C 6067
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 7th Circuit United States District Court (Northern District of Illinois)
    • March 18, 2004
    ...Venture Associates Corp. v. Zenith Data Systems Corp., 987 F.2d 429, 431 (7th Cir. 1993); Hebein ex rel. Berman v. Young, 37 F.Supp.2d 1035, 1038-39 (N.D. Ill. 1998). This may include the full text of an SEC filing or document that is integral to the complaint. See Bovee......
  • Munoz v. Seventh Avenue, Inc., 071404 ILNDC, 04 C 2219
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 7th Circuit United States District Court (Northern District of Illinois)
    • July 14, 2004
    ...International, Inc. v. Great American Insurance Co. , 2004 WL 603482 *1 (N.D. Ill. March 22, 2004); Hebein ex rel. Berman v. Young , 37 F.Supp.2d 1035, 1038-39 (N.D. Ill. Plaintiff has alleged that a credit card was sent to her. However, she also attached to the complaint a copy of the page......
  • Martinez v. Hudson, 062217 ALNDC, 2:17-cv-00256-RDP
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 11th Circuit United States District Court of Northern District of Alabama
    • June 22, 2017
    ...the court should apply state law that provided a more limited form of official immunity); Hebein ex rel. Berman v. Young, 37 F.Supp.2d 1035, 1047 n. 17 (N.D. Ill. 1998) (citing Jaworski for the legal rule that “state law immunities do not apply to § 1983 claims”). T......
  • 274 F.3d 12 (1st Cir. 2001), 01-1442, Hatch Jr v. RI Dept for Children & Families
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Courts of Appeals United States Court of Appeals (1st Circuit)
    • December 17, 2001
    ...have hewed to the same line. E.g., Strail v. DCYF, 62 F.Supp.2d 519, Page 24 530 (D.R.I. 1999); Hebein ex. rel. Berman v. Young, 37 F.Supp.2d 1035, 1044 (N.D. Ill. 1998). Given the widespread agreement that has developed as to the applicable legal regime, we conclude that, in the spring of ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
8 cases
  • Minuteman international., Inc. v. Great American Insurance Co., 031804 ILNDC, 03 C 6067
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 7th Circuit United States District Court (Northern District of Illinois)
    • March 18, 2004
    ...Venture Associates Corp. v. Zenith Data Systems Corp., 987 F.2d 429, 431 (7th Cir. 1993); Hebein ex rel. Berman v. Young, 37 F.Supp.2d 1035, 1038-39 (N.D. Ill. 1998). This may include the full text of an SEC filing or document that is integral to the complaint. See Bovee......
  • Munoz v. Seventh Avenue, Inc., 071404 ILNDC, 04 C 2219
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 7th Circuit United States District Court (Northern District of Illinois)
    • July 14, 2004
    ...International, Inc. v. Great American Insurance Co. , 2004 WL 603482 *1 (N.D. Ill. March 22, 2004); Hebein ex rel. Berman v. Young , 37 F.Supp.2d 1035, 1038-39 (N.D. Ill. Plaintiff has alleged that a credit card was sent to her. However, she also attached to the complaint a copy of the page......
  • Martinez v. Hudson, 062217 ALNDC, 2:17-cv-00256-RDP
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 11th Circuit United States District Court of Northern District of Alabama
    • June 22, 2017
    ...the court should apply state law that provided a more limited form of official immunity); Hebein ex rel. Berman v. Young, 37 F.Supp.2d 1035, 1047 n. 17 (N.D. Ill. 1998) (citing Jaworski for the legal rule that “state law immunities do not apply to § 1983 claims”). T......
  • 274 F.3d 12 (1st Cir. 2001), 01-1442, Hatch Jr v. RI Dept for Children & Families
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Courts of Appeals United States Court of Appeals (1st Circuit)
    • December 17, 2001
    ...have hewed to the same line. E.g., Strail v. DCYF, 62 F.Supp.2d 519, Page 24 530 (D.R.I. 1999); Hebein ex. rel. Berman v. Young, 37 F.Supp.2d 1035, 1044 (N.D. Ill. 1998). Given the widespread agreement that has developed as to the applicable legal regime, we conclude that, in the spring of ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results