525 F.3d 112 (1st Cir. 2008), 07-1394, Cao v. Puerto Rico

Docket Nº:07-1394.
Citation:525 F.3d 112
Party Name:Dolores H. CAO, Plaintiff, Appellant, v. COMMONWEALTH OF PUERTO RICO through the Secretary of Justice, Roberto S
Case Date:May 13, 2008
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
 
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[*] Senior Circuit Judge, and SMITH, District Judge//--> Page 112

525 F.3d 112 (1st Cir. 2008)

Dolores H. CAO, Plaintiff, Appellant,

v.

COMMONWEALTH OF PUERTO RICO through the Secretary of Justice, Roberto Sánchez-Ramos; Puerto Rico Department of Family; Puerto Rico Department of Family, Unit of Substitute Care of Adults; Félix Matos-Rodríguez, in his Personal Capacity and as Secretary of the Department of the Family; State Psychiatric Hospital; Administrator B of State Psychiatric Hospital, Doctor X; Unknown Defendants; AB Insurance Company; BC Insurance Company; CD Insurance Company; DF Insurance Company; FG Insurance Company, Defendants, Appellees.

No. 07-1394.

United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit.

May 13, 2008

Heard Nov. 5, 2007.

APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF PUERTO RICO Hon. Jaime Pieras, Jr., U.S. Senior District Judge].

Page 113

Ralph Vallone, Jr., with whom Ralph Vallone, Jr. Law Offices was on brief, for appellant.

Susana I. Peñagarícano-Brown, Assistant Solicitor General, Department of Justice, with whom Salvador J. Antonetti-Stutts, Solicitor General, Mariana Negrón-Vargas, Deputy Solicitor General, and Maite D. Oronoz-Rodríguez, Deputy Solicitor General, were on brief, for appellees Commonwealth of Puerto Rico; Puerto Rico Department of the Family; Puerto Rico Department of the Family, Unit of Substitute Care of Adults; Félix Matos-Rodríguez; and State Psychiatric Hospital.

Before TORRUELLA, Circuit Judge, BALDOCK, [*] Senior Circuit Judge, and SMITH, [**] District Judge.

TORRUELLA, Circuit Judge.

Dolores H. Cao, an elderly resident of Cupey, Puerto Rico, was removed from her home, made to undergo a psychological

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evaluation, and placed in a substitute home and, later, a state institution for the elderly, by the Puerto Rico Family Department ("the Department"). She seeks recovery under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981 and 1983 for alleged violations of her procedural due process and equal protection rights, as well as under several state law causes of action. The district court dismissed Cao's complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b) (6). After careful consideration, we affirm the district court's dismissal.

I. Background

Cao is a seventy three year-old woman who, at the time of these incidents, lived alone in a very rundown house; its roof had severe leaks and wild doves had entered through the openings and nested inside. On March 16, 2004, Cao was removed from her home by a Department social worker for fear that she was living in subhuman conditions and suffering from Alzheimer's disease. After removing Cao, the social worker took her to the local police department. Police officers transported Cao to the state psychiatric hospital where she was evaluated by two doctors. They diagnosed her...

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