Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Linden v. Dixon

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

April 4, 2019

HOWARD T. LINDEN, as personal representative of the estate of Omarion Humphrey, Plaintiff,
v.
BRADLEY DIXON, et al., Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS [36]

          STEPHEN J. MURPHY, III UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         On December 26, 2017, Plaintiff Howard T. Linden filed his complaint alleging that one set of defendants[1] demonstrated unconstitutional deliberate indifference towards Omarion Humphry-the decedent whose estate Plaintiff represents. ECF 1. On July 3, 2018, Plaintiff filed suit against the "State Defendants."[2] ECF 22. On July 10, 2018, the undersigned accepted reassignment of the later-filed case. ECF 24. On August 7, 2018, the Court consolidated the cases. ECF 20.

         On November 16, 2018, State Defendants filed a motion to dismiss. ECF 36. The Court has reviewed the briefs and finds that a hearing is unnecessary. E.D. Mich. LR 7.1(f). For the reasons below, the Court will deny the motion.

         BACKGROUND

         Decedent Omarion Humphrey was a nine-year old boy suffering from nonverbal autism requiring special services and supervision. ECF 22, PgID 291. State Defendants worked in various capacities for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Id. at 289-91. State Defendants worked to have Humphrey removed from his home and coordinated with Alternatives for Children and Families to place Humphrey with a foster parent, Lasenette "Lulu" Richardson. Id. at 291-93. Richardson struggled to care for Humphrey, lacked the appropriate license to care for Humphrey's autism needs, and wished to surrender her license. Id. at 293-95.

         On July 4, 2015, while attending a Fourth of July Party with Richardson and others at Lake Callis Recreation Complex in Davison, Michigan, Humphrey wandered away from the group. Id. at 295. About one hour later, park staff found Humphrey and returned him to Richardson. Id. Humphrey, again, wandered off. Id. This time, he was not found until six days later-he had drowned in Lake Callis. Id.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         When analyzing a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the Court views the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, presumes the truth of all well-pleaded factual allegations, and draws every reasonable inference in favor of the non-moving party. Bassett v. Nat'l Collegiate Athletic Ass'n, 528 F.3d 426, 430 (6th Cir. 2008). To survive a motion to dismiss, "the complaint must contain either direct or inferential allegations respecting all the material elements to sustain a recovery under some viable legal theory." Nat'l Hockey League Players Ass'n v. Plymouth Whalers Hockey Club, 419 F.3d 462, 468 (6th Cir. 2005) (citation omitted). Plaintiff must allege facts "sufficient 'to raise a right to relief above the speculative level,' and to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Hensley Mfg. v. ProPride, Inc., 579 F.3d 603, 609 (6th Cir. 2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 570 (2007)). If "a cause of action fails as a matter of law, regardless of whether the plaintiff's factual allegations are true," then the Court must dismiss it. Winnett v. Caterpillar, Inc., 553 F.3d 1000, 1005 (6th Cir. 2009).

         DISCUSSION

         State Defendants contend that Plaintiff's causation theory has an "evidentiary gap between [the] asserted cause and the injury" that renders the cause conjectural and bars recovery. ECF 36, PgID 362. Particularly, State Defendants argue that "the intractable problem with Plaintiff's theory is his affirmative acknowledgment of a six-day evidentiary gap between Richardson's failure to provide appropriate care and supervision and the discovery of Humphrey's body." Id. at 379-80.

         Defendant points to the following paragraphs from Plaintiff's complaint to show the evidentiary gap:

48. An hour or so later [on July 4, 2015], while Richardson was enjoying her family Fourth of July party at the park, [Humphrey] again wandered off and went missing.
49. [Humphrey] was not found until six days later, when his lifeless body was retrieved from the bottom of Lake Callis. [Humphrey's] cause of death was drowning.

         ECF 22, PgID 295; see also ECF 36, PgID 372 (citing the complaint). Defendants conclude that Plaintiff therefore "plead[ed] that there was a six-day evidentiary gap between Richardson's failure to provide care and supervision and the ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.