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Stephanie N. Hankins and Gary D. Reed v. Stanislaus County Child Protective

January 15, 2013

STEPHANIE N. HANKINS AND GARY D. REED, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
STANISLAUS COUNTY CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sheila K. Oberto United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER DISMISSING PLAINTIFFS' COMPLAINT AND GRANTING 30 DAYS LEAVE TO AMEND (Docket No. 1)

I. INTRODUCTION

On October 25, 2012, Plaintiffs Stephanie N. Hankins and Gary D. Reed ("Plaintiffs"), proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this action against Defendant Stanislaus County Child Protective Services ("Defendant"). For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiffs' complaint (Doc. 1) is DISMISSED without prejudice and Plaintiffs are granted leave to amend.

II. BACKGROUND

Plaintiffs' complaint alleges that on October 23, 2012, social workers from Defendant Stanislaus County Child Protective Services ("Defendant") "removed Kameron Michael Reed Hankins from the custody of his parents with the assistance of the Oakdale Police Department." (Doc. 1, p. 1.) Plaintiffs assert that the social workers removed the child "without a warrant, and without exigent circumstances." (Doc. 1, p. 1.) Plaintiffs state that the social workers "did not inform the parents where they were taking the baby" and "did not al[l]ow the parents to have the baby taken to a family member." (Doc. 1, p. 1.) Plaintiffs "pray for the safe return of the minor child," "[c]ompensation for pain and suffering" in the amount of $100,000, and any additional compensation the Court deems "appropriate." (Doc. 1, p. 1.)

On December 3, 2012, the Court granted Plaintiffs' applications to proceed in forma pauperis. (Doc. 6.)

III. DISCUSSION

A. Screening Requirement

In cases where the plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis, the Court is required to screen each case and shall dismiss the case at any time if the Court determines that the allegation of poverty is untrue or the action or appeal is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). If the Court determines that the complaint fails to state a claim, leave to amend may be granted to the extent that the deficiencies of the complaint can be cured by amendment. Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1130 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc).

B. Legal Standard for Screening

In determining whether a complaint fails to state a claim, the Court uses the same pleading standard used under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a). Under Rule 8(a), a complaint must contain a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). "[T]he pleading standard Rule 8 announces does not require 'detailed factual allegations,' but it demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). "[A] complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557). "[A] complaint [that] pleads facts that are 'merely consistent with' a defendant's liability . . . 'stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief.'" Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557). Further, although a court must accept as true all factual allegations contained in a complaint, a court need not accept a plaintiff's legal conclusions as true. Id. "Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).

C. Plaintiffs Fail to Plead a Claim

Plaintiffs' one-page complaint sets forth that on October 23, 2012, Kameron Michael Reed Hankins, a "baby," was taken from his parents*fn1 by Stanislaus County Child Protective Services without a warrant and without exigent circumstances, and with the assistance of the Oakdale Police Department. (Doc. 1, p. 1.) No other facts are pled.

Plaintiffs' brief, cursory complaint fails to identify any federal Constitutional right or federal law under which Plaintiffs are seeking relief. To the extent that Plaintiffs are seeking to address purported violations of their civil rights under 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983, such claims must be premised on a violation of the Constitution or other federal rights. Nurre v. Whitehead, 580 F.3d 1087, 1092 (9th Cir. 2009). A properly pled complaint must provide, in part, a "short and plain statement" of Plaintiffs' ...


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