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Rene Castillo v. County of Los Angeles and Does 1--10

February 26, 2013


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Otis D. Wright, II United States District Judge


Plaintiff Rene Castillo moves for leave to file a First Amended Complaint. (ECF No. 36.) Castillo contends a packet of documents sent from the state dependency court suddenly revealed the identities of the individuals he now wishes to name as defendants. But the evidence adduced establishes that Castillo was already aware of these people prior to the Court's amendment cut-off date. The Court therefore DENIES his Motion.


On September 14, 2011, Jose Covarrubias, the father of minor "M," allegedly caused M to falsely accuse Castillo of sexually abusing M. (Compl. ¶ 9.) M's mother, Fabiola Margarita Gutierrez, is Castillo's girlfriend. (Id.) The Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services ("DCFS") apparently investigated the report and determined that the allegation was "inconclusive." (Id. at ¶ 13.) DCFS subsequently closed the case. (Id.)

On November 15, 2011, DCFS informed Castillo that his name would be included in the Child Abuse Central Index ("CACI"), a database maintained by the United States Department of Justice. (Id.) But on January 8, 2012, due to a change in the law, DCFS sent Castillo's attorney another letter indicating that Castillo's name would no longer be included in CACI. (Id. at ¶ 16.)

Castillo nonetheless alleges that he has been unable to have his named removed from California's statewide database, the Child Welfare System/Case Management System. (Id. at ¶¶ 16--18.)

Castillo filed this Complaint on March 29, 2012, against the County of Los Angeles alleging a cause of action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and a claim for injunctive relief. The County answered on April 19, 2012. (ECF No. 11.) Castillo filed a petition for a writ of mandate around the same time in Los Angeles County Superior Court. (See Weissburg Decl. ¶ 2.)

After filing a request with the Los Angeles County Dependency Court on May 23, 2012, Castillo received a court order on August 7, 2012, allowing him to use records from the child-abuse investigation in his civil actions. (Id. at ¶ 6.) Castillo received a 50-page packet of allegedly "heavily redacted" documents from the court on August 10, 2012. (Id. at ¶ 7.)

On July 31, 2012, this Court issued a Scheduling and Case Management Order in this matter. (ECF No. 18.) Among other things, the Order set the last day to amend the pleadings for October 29, 2012. (Id. at 4--5.)

On September 15, 2012, Castillo's counsel, Diane Weissburg, noticed the depositions of Mathews, Macias, and Rodriguez-Vasquez. (Ellyatt Decl. Ex. E--G.) The County moved in state court for a protective order precluding these depositions, apparently arguing that the employees' testimony was irrelevant, would elicit information protected by California Welfare and Institutions Code section 827,*fn1 and would invade M's privacy. (See Weissburg Feb. 6, 2013 Decl. ¶ 13.)

In mid-October 2012, Weissburg submitted a declaration along with her opposition to the County's motion for a protective order filed in the Superior Court writ-of-mandate action. (Ellyatt Decl. ¶ 2.) Attached to that Opposition were several exhibits containing documents supposedly produced by the dependency court in August 2012 and in response to subpoenas issued to the Burbank Police Department and Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital. (Id.)

The dependency court sent Weissburg another 61-page packet of documents on December 27, 2012. (Weissburg Decl. ¶ 8.) Weissburg contends that she did not receive "most" of those documents in the August 10 delivery, and any duplicates that were received were not redacted this time. (Id. at ¶ 9.)

After reviewing the second set of documents, Weissburg sent the County's attorney a request for a joint stipulation allowing Castillo to file a First Amended Complaint in light of the "newly discovered" evidence. (Id. at ¶ 11.) Weissburg claims the new documents allowed her to identify "key employees" involved with DCFS's investigation of Castillo-Macias, Rodriguez-Vasquez, and Mathews- identities of which she claims she was ignorant prior to December 27, 2012. (Id. at ¶ 3.) The County declined the stipulation. (Id. at ¶ 11.)

Armed with this second packet, Castillo filed this Motion to File a First Amended Complaint Based on Newly Discovered Evidence on January 11, 2013. (ECF No. 36.) He seeks to name DCFS social workers Latonya Mathews, Gesenia Macias, and Gloria Rodriguez-Vasquez as Does 1, 2, and 3. (Weissburg Decl. ΒΆ 3.) The Proposed First Amended Complaint also reflects DCFS as a new party, though Castillo does not specifically ...

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