Simescu v. Emmet County Dept. of Social Services, Nos. 89-1180

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore KEITH and NELSON, Circuit Judges, and PECK; JOHN W. PECK
Citation942 F.2d 372
Decision Date19 August 1991
Docket Number89-1181,Nos. 89-1180
PartiesMartin and Victoria SIMESCU, Individually; et al., Plaintiffs, Martin and Victoria Simescu, Individually; Martin Simescu, as next friend for Anna Simescu and Emily Simescu; Mary Ann Tuschak, individually and as next friend for Matthew Tuschak Bondy; Michael and Lizabeth Compton, individually; Michael Compton, as next friend for Benjamin Compton; Candy and Robert Newton, individually; Candy Newton, as next friend for Shayla Newton; Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. EMMET COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES, a unit of government of the County of Emmet; et al., Defendants, Women's Resource Center of Northern Michigan, Inc., a not-for-profit corporation; the Children's Learning Center, a not-for-profit business operated by the Women's Resource Center of Northern Michigan; Janet M. Mancinelli; Nancy Decker; Sheryl Brown; North Central Michigan College, a public corporation, Defendants-Appellees.

Page 372

942 F.2d 372
Martin and Victoria SIMESCU, Individually; et al., Plaintiffs,
Martin and Victoria Simescu, Individually; Martin Simescu,
as next friend for Anna Simescu and Emily Simescu; Mary Ann
Tuschak, individually and as next friend for Matthew Tuschak
Bondy; Michael and Lizabeth Compton, individually; Michael
Compton, as next friend for Benjamin Compton; Candy and
Robert Newton, individually; Candy Newton, as next friend
for Shayla Newton; Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
EMMET COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES, a unit of
government of the County of Emmet; et al., Defendants,
Women's Resource Center of Northern Michigan, Inc., a
not-for-profit corporation; the Children's Learning Center,
a not-for-profit business operated by the Women's Resource
Center of Northern Michigan; Janet M. Mancinelli; Nancy
Decker; Sheryl Brown; North Central Michigan College, a
public corporation, Defendants-Appellees.
Nos. 89-1180, 89-1181.
United States Court of Appeals,
Sixth Circuit.
Argued March 14, 1991.
Decided Aug. 19, 1991.

Page 373

Grant W. Parsons (argued), Dettmer, Thompson & Parsons, Traverse City, Mich., for plaintiffs-appellants.

Janet G. Callahan (argued), Roger F. Wardle, Kohl, Secrest, Wardle, Lynch, Clark & Hampton, Farmington Hills, Mich., for defendants-appellees.

Donald S. McGehee, Tort Defense Div., Vincent J. Leone, Becky M. Lamiman, Asst. Attys. Gen., Office of the Atty. Gen., Habeas Div., Lansing, Mich., for defendants.

Before KEITH and NELSON, Circuit Judges, and PECK, Senior Circuit Judge.

JOHN W. PECK, Senior Circuit Judge.

This 42 U.S.C. § 1983 case arises from the sexual abuse of children by a general assistance recipient who worked at a daycare center through a state "workfare" program. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Appellee Women's Resource Center (WRC) based on the conclusions that WRC's actions were neither state action nor grossly negligent. For the reasons stated below, we affirm.

FACTS

In 1983, Terry Miller was a recipient of financial assistance from the state of Michigan and a participant in the Department of Social Services' Community Work Experience Program (CWEP). Under the CWEP, employable recipients of general assistance or Aid to Dependent Children were required to work for public or private non-profit agencies in exchange for their benefits. Under the CWEP worksite agreement, the Department of Social Services stated that it would "attempt to provide the CWEP agency with clients who have been screened to the specified requirements of the CWEP agency." The CWEP agency was free to select or reject participants referred by the Department. The agency agreed to provide supervision and training to the program participants selected.

Appellee WRC is a private non-profit corporation that operates a daycare facility, the Children's Learning Center (CLC). Miller was placed at the CLC through the CWEP. While Miller worked at the CLC, Protective Services employees for the Department of Social Services (DSS) saw him there, and informed the WRC director that Miller's children had been removed from his home on more than one occasion for child neglect. Additionally, in April 1983, Miller's wife and children had taken refuge at the WRC's safe house due to verbal abuse by Miller. In 1985, Miller was accused of sexually molesting several of the children at the CLC. Miller was convicted of first and second degree criminal sexual conduct and sentenced to life imprisonment.

The children and their parents brought § 1983 and state claims against numerous defendants including the DSS, its director, the CLC and its directors and teachers, and the WRC and its director. All defendants filed motions to dismiss and/or for summary judgment. The district court granted the motions with regard to the § 1983 claims. This appeal followed. During the pendency of the appeal, all defendants except the WRC reached a settlement agreement with Appellants.

Page 374

STANDARD OF REVIEW

This court's review of a grant of summary judgment is de novo. Buckner v. City of Highland Park, 901 F.2d 491, 494 (6th Cir.), cert. denied, --- U.S. ----, 111 S.Ct. 137, 112 L.Ed.2d 104 (1990). Summary judgment is appropriate "if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). Summary judgment is mandated against a party who:

fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the...

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88 practice notes
  • Shoemake v. Mansfield City Sch. Dist. Bd. of Educ., Case No. 1:13CV2505.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Ohio
    • November 20, 2014
    ...of state law. See West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48, 108 S.Ct. 2250, 101 L.Ed.2d 40 (1988) ; Simescu v. Emmet County Dep't of Soc. Services, 942 F.2d 372, 374 (6th Cir.1991). Section 1983 “is not itself a source of substantive rights,” but merely provides “a method for vindicating federal rig......
  • Huff v. Firstenergy Corp., Case No. 5:12CV2583.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Ohio
    • September 17, 2013
    ...F.Supp.2d 1041]West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48, 108 S.Ct. 2250, 101 L.Ed.2d 40 (1988); Simescu v. Emmet County Dep't of Soc. Services, 942 F.2d 372, 374 (6th Cir.1991). Here, defendants Vespoli, Alexander and Pearson are private parties. In general, a plaintiff cannot assert a claim under §......
  • Paiva v. City of Reno, No. CV-N-94-218-ECR.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. District of Nevada
    • August 30, 1996
    ...to inflict injury), cert. denied, 506 U.S. 837, 113 S.Ct. 113, 121 L.Ed.2d 70 (1992); Simescu v. Emmet County Dep't of Soc. Servs., 942 F.2d 372, 375 (6th Cir.1991) (finding "gross negligence" sufficient where defined as "intentionally doing something unreasonable with disreg......
  • Ehrlich v. Kovack, CASE NO. 1:14cv2560
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Ohio
    • October 1, 2015
    ...of state law. See West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48, 108 S.Ct. 2250, 101 L.Ed.2d 40 (1988) ; Simescu v. Emmet County Dep't of Soc. Services, 942 F.2d 372, 374 (6th Cir.1991). Section 1983"is not itself a source of substantive rights," but merely provides "a method for vindicati......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
88 cases
  • Shoemake v. Mansfield City Sch. Dist. Bd. of Educ., Case No. 1:13CV2505.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Ohio
    • November 20, 2014
    ...of state law. See West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48, 108 S.Ct. 2250, 101 L.Ed.2d 40 (1988) ; Simescu v. Emmet County Dep't of Soc. Services, 942 F.2d 372, 374 (6th Cir.1991). Section 1983 “is not itself a source of substantive rights,” but merely provides “a method for vindicating federal rig......
  • Huff v. Firstenergy Corp., Case No. 5:12CV2583.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Ohio
    • September 17, 2013
    ...F.Supp.2d 1041]West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48, 108 S.Ct. 2250, 101 L.Ed.2d 40 (1988); Simescu v. Emmet County Dep't of Soc. Services, 942 F.2d 372, 374 (6th Cir.1991). Here, defendants Vespoli, Alexander and Pearson are private parties. In general, a plaintiff cannot assert a claim under §......
  • Ehrlich v. Kovack, CASE NO. 1:14cv2560
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Ohio
    • October 1, 2015
    ...of state law. See West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48, 108 S.Ct. 2250, 101 L.Ed.2d 40 (1988) ; Simescu v. Emmet County Dep't of Soc. Services, 942 F.2d 372, 374 (6th Cir.1991). Section 1983"is not itself a source of substantive rights," but merely provides "a method for vindicating federal righ......
  • Berridge v. Heiser, No. C-2-95-272.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. Southern District of Ohio
    • December 4, 1997
    ...States and 2) the deprivation was caused by a person acting under color of state law." Simescu v. Emmet County Dep't of Soc. Servs., 942 F.2d 372, 374 (6th Cir.1991)(citing Flagg Brothers, Inc. v. Brooks, 436 U.S. 149, 98 S.Ct. 1729, 56 L.Ed.2d 185 1. Procedural Due Process To establish a p......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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