United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS (DOC. NO.
a civil rights dispute that arises from the removal of
Plaintiff Margarita Mancilla's children from her home by
agents of the Kern County Department of Human Services.
Plaintiffs brings three causes of action under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 for violations of the Fourth and Fourteenth
Amendments, as well as Monell liability. Defendants
removed this case from the Kern County Superior Court on
September 19, 2019. Currently before the Court is
Defendant's Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. Pursuant to
the Local Rules, Plaintiffs have filed a notice of
non-opposition. For the reasons that follow, Defendants'
motion will be granted.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a claim may be
dismissed because of the plaintiff's “failure to
state a claim upon which relief can be granted.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). A dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) may be
based on the lack of a cognizable legal theory or on the
absence of sufficient facts alleged under a cognizable legal
theory. See Mollett v. Netflix, Inc., 795 F.3d 1062,
1065 (9th Cir. 2015). In reviewing a complaint under Rule
12(b)(6), all well-pleaded allegations of material fact are
taken as true and construed in the light most favorable to
the non-moving party. Kwan v. SanMedica, Int'l,
854 F.3d 1088, 1096 (9th Cir. 2017). However, complaints that
offer no more than “labels and conclusions” or
“a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
action will not do.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009); Johnson v. Federal Home Loan Mortg.
Corp., 793 F.3d 1005, 1008 (9th Cir. 2015). To avoid a
Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal, “a complaint must contain
sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim
to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; Mollett, 795 F.3d
argue that the first cause of action for violation of the
Fourth Amendment identifies all Plaintiffs as pursuing the
claim. However, while children who are removed from their
homes by social workers may pursue individual Fourth
Amendment claims, parents may not.
also argue that Plaintiffs have sued Defendants Robin Ackling
and Allyson Seals in both their official and individual
capacities. Because Kern County is a named Defendant, suing
these two individuals in their official capacities is
Defendants argue that the first and second causes of action
are alleged against Kern County. However, the County can only
be held liable through Monell principles, not
have filed a notice of non-opposition. See Doc. No.
Plaintiff Margarita Mancilla
have a “well-elaborated constitutional right to live
together without governmental interference.” Wallis
v. Spencer, 202 F.3d 1126, 1136 (9th Cir. 2000). The
Fourteenth Amendment protects parents' right to live with
their children. Kirkpatrick v. County of Washoe, 843
F.3d 784, 789 (9th Cir. 2016). The claims of children who are
taken into state custody are evaluated under the Fourth
Amendment's right to be free from unreasonable seizures,
rather than the Fourteenth Amendment's right to familial
association. Keates v. Koile, 883 F.3d 1228, 1236
(9th Cir. 2018). Fourth Amendment rights are personal and
cannot be asserted vicariously. Plumhoff v. Rickard,
572 U.S. 765, 778 (2014); Longoria v. Pinal Cnty.,
873 F.3d 699, 711 (9th Cir. 2017). Whether under the Fourth
Amendment, the Fourteenth Amendment, or the First Amendment,
the Constitution guarantees “that parents will not be
separated from their children without due process of law
except in emergencies.” Keates, 883 F.3d at
1236 (quoting Mabe v. San Bernardino Cnty., 237 F.3d
1101, 1107-08 (9th Cir. 2001)).
non-opposition is a concession that parent Margarita Mancilla
may not pursue a Fourth Amendment claim that is based on
Defendants removing her children from her home. Therefore,
the Court will dismiss the first cause of action brought by
Margarita Mancilla without leave to amend. See
Keates, 883 F.3d at 1236; see also Kirkpatrick,
843 F.3d at 789.
2.Official Capacity Claims Against Allyson Seals and ...