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Jamison v. Child Protective Services CPS

United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division

October 10, 2017




         Plaintiff, Seniqua Jamison, proceeding pro se, has sued Defendants, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) (identified as Child Protective Services (CPS)) and three MDHHS employees, Julianne Weick, Stesha Miller-Jones, and Shalyn Lowe (collectively MDHHS Defendants); Lutheran Social Services of Michigan n/k/a Samaritas; and Judith Raskiewicz, alleging a number of claims arising out of the removal of her three oldest children by CPS and termination of her parental rights as to those children, as well as events that occurred after the removal. Jamison's claims include: (1) unlawful CPS petition for removal; (2) unlawful ex parte order; (3) unlawful jurisdiction; (4) unlawful seizure; (5) unlawful placement in foster care; (6) abuse in licensed foster care; (7) unlawful case service plan; (8) violation of reasonable efforts statutes; (9) violation of child best interest status (sic); (10) unlawful coercion waiver of rights amended petition; (11) defense attorney ineffective; (12) unlawful termination of parental rights; (13) CPS conceals false witnesses; and (14) unlawful placement on the central registry.

         The MDHHS Defendants have filed a motion to dismiss Jamison's claims on various grounds. In addition, Samaritas has filed a motion to dismiss. Jamison has filed a response, which is not particularly responsive to Defendants' arguments.

         For the following reasons, the Court will grant Defendants' motions. In addition, although Defendant Raskiewicz-Jamison's attorney in the removal proceedings-has not filed a motion to dismiss, because Jamison is proceeding in forma pauperis, and his complaint fails to state a claim. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2); see also Benson v. O'Brian, 179 F.3d 1014, 1016 (6th Cir. 1999) (holding that “§ 1915(e)(2) applies only to in forma pauperis proceedings”).

         I. Background

         The following facts are based on Jamison's allegations in her pro se complaint. On July 1, 2014, Jamison's parental rights with regard to her three oldest children were terminated pursuant to an order issued by Kent County Family Court Judge Patrick Hillary. (ECF No. 1 at PageID.10, 27.) Jamison alleges that there was insufficient evidence to support the removal order and that the petition submitted by Defendant Weick in support of the removal order falsely alleged that the children were in immediate danger. (Id. at PageID.10-11, 24-25.) Jamison waived her parental rights over the children. (Id. at PageID.38.) Pursuant to Michigan law, Jamison was ordered to participate in a Parent Agency Case Service Plan, administered by Samaritas. (Id. at PageID.32-33.) Samaritas recommended that Jamison's parental rights be terminated because she failed to complete the program. (Id. at PageID.33-34; ECF No. 19-2 (termination report).)

         On or about June 30, 2016, Jamison gave birth to a fourth child, whom she conceived with a man named “Mr. Merriweather.” (Id. at PageID.12-13.) Because of the prior order terminating Jamison's parental rights, the fourth child was immediately removed from Jamison's care. (Id. at PageID.12.) Jamison was referred to a Family Reunification Program (FRP). Jamison participated in the program, and on February 23, 2017, the newborn was returned to Jamison. (Id. at PageID.12.)

         On April 25, 2017, CPS agents Defendants Miller-Jones and Lowe went to Jamison's residence to investigate an anonymous tip that Jamison and Merriweather were “using drugs, alcohol, driving while under the influence with their Child in the car, that there was no food in the house and the Child was being neglected.” (Id. at PageID.13.) Defendants arrived at Jamison's residence while MDHHS reunification specialists were present. Defendants demanded access to the home, and Jamison consented to Lowe's entry because Lowe threatened to get a removal order for the newborn if Jamison did not consent. (Id. at PageID.16.) The case was closed on May 18, 2017, after a hearing in which the court found Jamison and Merriweather fit parents. (Id. at PageID. 19.) Jamison alleges that, in spite of the court's finding, Defendant Lowe continued her investigation by, among other things, interviewing Merriweather's eleven-year-old son at his school. (Id. at PageID.19-20.)

         Jamison alleges that she is pregnant again but does not have an open case with an unidentified safety threat to her unborn child. However, at a checkup, the social worker who works at the clinic informed Jamison that CPS guidelines required her to report Jamison's pregnancy to CPS. The social worker also informed Jamison that there was a possibility that CPS could take Jamison's unborn child because of the prior termination of Jamison's parental rights. (Id. at PageID.21.)

         II. Motion Standard

         A complaint may be dismissed for failure to state a claim if “‘it fails to give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957)). While a complaint need not contain detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's allegations must include more than labels and conclusions. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555; Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (“Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.”). The court must determine whether the complaint contains “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft, 129 S.Ct. at 1949. Although the plausibility standard is not equivalent to a “‘probability requirement, ' . . . it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.” Ashcroft, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). “[W]here the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged - but it has not ‘show[n]' - that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Ashcroft, 129 S.Ct. at 1950 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)).

         III. Discussion

         A. MDHHS Defendants' Motion

         1. The Eleventh Amendment bars Jamison's ...

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