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Novac v. County of Sacramento

United States District Court, E.D. California

July 8, 2019

Filip Novac; Iudita Novac; A.N., a minor by and through his guardian ad litem; et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
County of Sacramento, a public entity; et al., Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS

          DHNA MENDEZ, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         On August 15, 2018 Plaintiffs filed a twelve-count complaint against the County of Sacramento and four social workers for the Sacramento Department of Health & Human Services (“DHHS”)-Chandra Stewart, Catherine Bryant, Sonya Howell, and Tong Vang (collectively “Social Worker Defendants”). Compl., ECF No. 1. Plaintiffs amended their complaint after Defendants filed a motion to dismiss in March 2019. See Mot. to Dismiss, ECF No. 19; First Am. Compl. (“FAC”), ECF No. 20. Other than joining an additional Plaintiff in the suit, Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint is substantively identical to their original complaint. See generally FAC. Accordingly, Defendants filed another motion to dismiss which Plaintiffs perfunctorily oppose. Mot. to Dismiss (“Mot.”), ECF No. 22, and Opposition to Motion to Dismiss (Opp'n), ECF No. 23.[1]

         For the reasons discussed below, the Court GRANTS Defendants' motion. The Court DISMISSES the following claims WITH PREJUDICE:

1. All Section 1983 claims that accrued before August 15, 2016;
2. All Article I, section 13 claims;
3. All common law tort claims against the County; and
4. Section 1983 claims against the Social Worker Defendants that challenge quasi-prosecutorial conduct.

         The Court DISMISSES the following claims WITHOUT PREJUDICE:

1. Section 1983 claim against the County;
2. All Unruh Civil Rights Act claims;
3. All Bane Act claims;
4. Section 1983 claims against the Social Worker Defendants that do not challenge quasi-prosecutorial conduct; and
5. All common law tort claims against the Social Worker Defendants.

         The Court DENIES Defendants' motion for a more definite statement as MOOT.

         I. FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS

         Plaintiffs allege Defendants violated federal and state laws when Sacramento DHHS investigated a complaint against Plaintiff Filip Novac, initiated dependency proceedings, and took custody of the Novac children. See generally FAC. At the heart of Plaintiffs' complaint lie allegations that from “January 2016 through present, ” Defendants:

• Conducted “warrantless searches, seizures, detentions and interrogations” (FAC ¶ 17);
• “Demand[ed] that Plaintiffs sign a ‘Safety Plan' to finagle and deceptively break apart the Novac family” (FAC ¶ 17);
• Threatened the Novac children (FAC ¶ 26);
• Deprived Plaintiffs of a fair detention hearing (FAC ¶ 44);
• “Restrained the Novac children by means of physical force and confined them in the foster care system” (FAC ¶ 68); and
• Used “threats, intimidation, deception, fraud, and coercion” to interfere with Plaintiffs' rights under federal and state law (FAC. ¶ 43).

         Plaintiffs also allege that the County of Sacramento's “policies, procedures, customs, and/or practices” were “the moving force” behind this conduct. FAC ¶ 38. Plaintiffs fail to identify ...


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