White v. Cnty. of Stanislaus

CourtUnited States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
Decision Date04 April 2019
Docket NumberCase No. 1:18-cv-01206-DAD-SAB
PartiesANTHONY WHITE, et al., Plaintiffs, v. COUNTY OF STANISLAUS, et al., Defendants.

ANTHONY WHITE, et al., Plaintiffs,
COUNTY OF STANISLAUS, et al., Defendants.

Case No. 1:18-cv-01206-DAD-SAB


April 4, 2019


(ECF Nos. 34, 38, 41)


Anthony White and minors A.L.W. and A.W., by and through their guardians ad litem, (collectively "Plaintiffs") brought this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Currently before the Court is County of Stanislaus, Angela Kelley, Melody Trantham, Salvador Perez, and Anacani Rocha (collectively "Defendants") motion to dismiss the first amended complaint, which was referred to the United States magistrate judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Rule 302.

The Court heard oral argument on April 3, 2019. Counsel Ayman Mourad appeared telephonically for Plaintiffs, and counsel Taylor Rhoan appeared telephonically for Defendants. Having considered the moving, opposition and reply papers, the declarations and exhibits attached thereto, arguments presented at the April 3, 2019 hearing, as well as the Court's file, the

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Court issues the following findings and recommendations.


Plaintiffs filed the complaint in this action on September 4, 2018. (ECF No. 1.) On September 18, 2018, District Judge Dale A. Drozd appointed David Brooks as guardian ad litem for minors A.W. and A.L.W. (ECF No. 8.) On November 8, 2018, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss. (ECF No. 19.) On December 3, 2018, Plaintiffs' filed a first amended complaint which was stricken from the record as untimely. (ECF No. 21.) On December 17, 2019, the motion to dismiss was denied as moot due to the stipulation to file an amended complaint. (ECF No. 23.)

The parties filed a stipulation for Plaintiffs to file an amended complaint which was granted on January 14, 2019. (ECF Nos. 24, 25.) On January 14, 2019, Plaintiffs filed a first amended complaint. (ECF No. 28.) On January 25, 2019, Plaintiffs filed a notice of withdrawal of the first amended complaint and filed an amended complaint using an incorrect docket entry. (ECF Nos. 29, 30.) On January 28, 2019, an order issued disregarding the first amended complaint filed January 14, 2019, and the amended document. (ECF No. 31.) Plaintiffs were ordered to file their first amended complaint using the correct docket entry. (Id.)

On January 28, 2018, Plaintiffs filed their first amended complaint. (ECF No. 32.) On January 29, 2019, a motion to withdraw as attorney for Plaintiffs was filed. (ECF No. 33.) On January 30, 2019, Defendants filed the instant motion to dismiss. (ECF No. 34.) Plaintiffs filed an opposition to the motion to dismiss on March 5, 2019. (ECF No. 38.) On March 12, 2019, Defendants filed a reply to Plaintiffs' opposition. (ECF No. 41.) On March 21, 2019, the motion to dismiss was referred to the undersigned. (ECF No. 42.)


Plaintiff Anthony White ("Anthony") is the biological father of minor plaintiffs A.L.W. and A.W. (First Am. Compl. ("FAC") ¶ 28, ECF No. 32.) Around September 26, 2015, Justene Obrentz ("Obrentz"), A.L.W.'s mother, took A.L.W. to the hospital to have her examined regarding allegations of sexual abuse. (FAC ¶ 30.) Around September 28, 2015, CSA social

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workers Miller and Padilla went to A.L.W.'s school to interview her but were informed by school staff that A.L.W. was absent that day. Later that day, social workers located A.L.W. at a local hospital. Obrentz did not give her consent to have the social workers interview A.L.W. (FAC ¶ 31.)

Around October 19, 2015, A.L.W. and Obrentz met with social workers, Defendant Perez and Ana Diaz. Obrentz informed the social workers that they did not have her permission interview A.L.W. at her school. (FAC ¶ 32.)

In February 2016, A.L.W. was living with Obrentz. On February 3, 2016, law enforcement responded to the home due to a neighbor complaint that Obrentz was arguing with her boyfriend. The police officers made no arrest and determined that there was no basis to place A.L.W. into protective custody but they did make a referral to CSA. (FAC ¶ 33.) In violation of California Welfare and Institution Code section 16501(a)(8)(f), the first contact with A.L.W. occurred on February 16, 2016. (FAC ¶ 34.) On February 16, 2016, without a court order or parental consent, Defendant Trantham went to A.L.W.'s school. (FAC ¶ 35.) Defendant Trantham removed A.L.W. from her class and interviewed her in violation of Obrentz' statement that she did not give her permission for A.L.W. to be interviewed at school. (FAC ¶¶ 35, 36.) Defendant Trantham did not ask A.L.W. about the name and identity of her father. (FAC ¶ 37.) A.L.W. was not informed that she could refuse to speak to the social worker or that she could have an attorney or parent present during the interview. (FAC ¶ 38.). When Obrentz found out that A.L.W. had been interviewed at school, she called and complained to Defendant Trantham. (FAC ¶ 39.)

On February 23, 2016, a meeting was held at CSA to discuss A.L.W. Defendants Rocha, Trantham, and Perez attended the meeting and made the decision that A.L.W. would be removed from her mother's care. (FAC ¶ 40.) On this same date, despite no evidence that A.L.W. was in imminent risk of serious bodily injury, Defendants Trantham and Perez removed A.L.W. from her mother's home and placed her in foster care. (FAC ¶ 41.)

Around February 26, 2016, Defendant Rocha drafted a detention report in concert with Defendants Trantham and Perez. (FAC ¶ 42.) Defendant Rocha informed the juvenile court that

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Obrentz had indicated that she did not know the identity of A.L.W.'s father despite the fact that Obrentz did know Anthony's name and whereabouts. Defendant Rocha did not indicate that she had taken any action to locate A.L.W.'s father. (FAC ¶ 43.)

Defendants Rocha, Trantham, and Perez did not ask A.L.W. who her father was nor did they cross check for evidence of who the father was in prior child abuse referrals that were cited in the detention report. Defendants Rocha, Trantham, and Perez did not complete a due diligent search under California Welfare and Institution Code section 294 for the identity of A.L.W.'s father. (FAC ¶ 44.)

A.L.W. was placed in foster care on February 23, 2016. Despite being required by California law to visit her three times in the first thirty days and once each calendar month, there is no documented contact with A.L.W. or her foster parents until May 2, 2016. This contact was actually made by a Foster Family Agency social worker and not a CSA social worker. (FAC ¶ 46.)

About March 14, 2016, CSA social workers received a referral that A.L.W. had woken up in the morning with blood in her private parts, but they choose not to investigate. (FAC ¶ 47.)

On May 11, 2016, Defendant Rocha contacted relatives for a possible placement for A.L.W. but did not question the relatives as to the identity of A.L.W.'s father. (FAC ¶ 48.) On May 24, 2016, social worker Johnson met with A.L.W. who informed her how to find her father. (FAC ¶ 49.)

A.L.W. was declared a dependent of the court on June 6, 2016, and by court order was placed in the legal custody of CSA and the County. (FAC ¶ 50.) On June 27, 2016, A.L.W. informed social worker Johnson that her father's name was Anthony and he lived on the west side of Modesto. (FAC ¶ 51.) On July 11, 2016, A.L.W. asked a Foster Family Agency social worker if CSA had found her father as she wanted to visit him. A.L.W. told the social worker that her mother and step-father know Anthony and where he is even though they claim they do not. (FAC ¶ 52.) On July 21, 2016, Anthony learned from a relative that A.L.W. was in foster care and he immediately contacted Defendant Renzi. (FAC ¶ 53.)

A.L.W. was placed in four different foster homes prior to being reunited with her father.

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(FAC ¶ 54.) The first home had a foster mother, foster father, and their three biological children. Defendants failed to monitor A.L.W.'s care in this foster placement. (FAC ¶ 55.) During A.L.W.'s placement in this foster home, one of the biological daughters engaged in inappropriate sexual activity with A.L.W. on at least two occasions. (FAC ¶ 56.) When the foster mother learned of the inappropriate sexual behavior, she immediately contacted CSA and A.L.W. was removed from the home that same day. (FAC ¶ 57.) An unknown social worker who removed A.L.W. from the home never asked A.L.W. what had occurred in the foster home. The County did not report the sexual misconduct to A.L.W.'s parents, the juvenile court, or Community Care Licensing. The County did not provide A.L.W. with treatment to address the sexual misconduct. (FAC ¶ 58.)

A.L.W. was placed in a second foster home in which she was the only child for a short period of time. (FAC ¶ 62.) Defendant Renzi was A.L.W.'s social worker at the time that A.L.W. was placed in the third foster home. (FAC ¶ 63.) Defendant Renzi asked A.L.W. what had occurred in the first foster home. (FAC ¶ 64.) A.L.W. disclosed to Defendant Renzi that she had witnessed sexual misconduct including seeing the foster mother's daughter insert a barbie doll into her private parts. Defendant Renzi told A.L.W. not to tell anyone else what had happened to her at the first foster home. A.L.W. was so frightened by Defendant Renzi's response that she did not ask why she could not talk about what had happened. Defendant Renzi did not document this contact with A.L.W. in the system. (FAC ¶ 65.) Defendants County, Renzi, and Kelly never completed an appraisal needs and services plan including the sexual misconduct and outlining A.L.W.'s therapeutic needs. (FAC ¶ 66.) A.L.W.'s third foster parents ran a day care out of their home. Defendants County and Renzi did not provide A.L.W.'s foster...

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