United States District Court, N.D. California
ANDREA C. WOOD, Plaintiff,
COUNTY OF CONTRA COSTA, et al., Defendants.
ORDER DIRECTING PLAINTIFF TO SHOW CAUSE WHY COMPLAINT
SHOULD NOT BE DISMISSED
M. CHESNEY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
October 29, 2019, plaintiff Andrea C. Wood ("Wood")
filed the above-titled action, in which she alleges that two
state court judges, seven other individuals, and a county
entered into a conspiracy to cause the state court to remove
Wood's minor children from her custody.
Court, having read and considered the complaint, finds it
appropriate to direct Wood to show cause why the complaint
should not be dismissed without leave to amend. See Wong
v. Bell, 642 F.2d 359, 361-62 (9th Cir. 1981) (holding
district court may "act on its own initiative to note
the inadequacy of a complaint and dismiss it," after
first affording plaintiff an opportunity to respond thereto).
alleges the County of Contra Costa's ("County")
Department of Family & Child Services ("DFCS")
"removed" from Wood's custody two of her
children, referred to by Wood as "HP" and
"KP," and instituted "dependency
hearings" in state court. (See Complaint
¶¶ 16, 20.) According to Wood, the removal of her
children and the subsequent court proceedings were the result
of an alleged "racketeering [e]nterprise."
(See Compl. ¶¶ 32, 34, 53.) The alleged
members of such "enterprise" are (1) Superior Court
Judge Lois Haight ("Judge Haight"), (2) Superior
Court Judge Thomas Maddock ("Judge Maddock"), (3)
the County, (4) Kellie Case ("Case"), a DFCS social
worker, (5) Edyth Williams ("Williams"), a DFCS
social worker, (6) Cecelia Gutierrez ("Gutierrez"),
a DFCS social worker, (7) Judith Lawrence
("Lawrence"), an attorney appointed to represent
HP, (8) Mary P. Carey ("Carey"), an attorney who
represented Wood, (9) Ravinder Bains, M.D. ("Dr.
Bains"), a neighbor of Wood, and (10) Erica Bains, a
neighbor of Wood (collectively with Dr. Bains, "the
alleges the enterprise's assertedly unlawful acts began
in August 2017, when Erica Bains provided a "false
report" about Wood to the DFCS (see Compl,
¶¶ 5, 9, 17), after which the DFCS "removed
[her] children" (see Compl. ¶ 20). Wood
alleges that, thereafter, Gutierrez filed in state court a
"Detention Report based on fabricated allegations, with
no evidence," which filing was provided to Judge Haight,
the state court judge to whom the matter had been assigned.
(See Compl. ¶ 21.) Next, Wood alleges, Judge
Haight appointed Carey, a private attorney, to act as counsel
for Wood (see Compl. ¶¶ 22-23), and that
Carey "immediately proceeded contrary to the wishes of
[Wood]" (see Compl. ¶ 23).
also alleges Judge Haight conducted the subsequent
proceedings in a manner that caused Wood to be deprived of
custody of her children; specifically, Wood alleges,
"the court" issued a "notice" in which
"the court" stated it "wishe[d] to adopt out
HP and KP" (see Compl. ¶ 28). According to
Wood, said determination was the result of a series of
unlawful acts. In particular, Wood alleges that
"all" defendants "obstruct[ed] justice by
coaching TP [another of Wood's children], HP, and
KP" (see Compl. ¶ 50),  that Williams
"committed perjury" on "numerous
occasions" to "cast an unwarranted negative light
upon [Wood]" (see Compl. ¶ 56), that Judge
Haight made a "disapproving look" during Case's
testimony, in order to convince Case to change her testimony
in a manner unfavorable to Wood (see Compl.
¶¶ 26, 40), that Judge Haight "denied
[Wood's] right to call a witness" (see
Compl. ¶ 29), that Carey "block[ed]"
Wood's "evidence" from being admitted and made
"deal[s]" that were "strongly against
[Wood's] interests" (see Compl.
¶¶ 24, 25), that Judge Maddock stated he would have
Wood "arrested" if she made "one mention of
these matters to the mass media" (see Comp.
¶ 30), and that Judge Maddock denied Wood access to
"transcripts" that would have
"implicated" him in violations of federal law
(see Compl. ¶ 57).
on the above allegations, Wood asserts a single cause of
action, specifically, Count One, in which Wood asserts all
defendants have violated 18 U.S.C. § 1961, the Racketeer
Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act ("RICO").
RICO claim alleged in the instant complaint is, in all
material respects, identical to the RICO claim Wood asserted
in a prior action she filed in the Northern District of
California, Wood v. County of Contra Costa, Case No.
19-4266 (hereinafter, "Wood 1"). The only
differences between the RICO claim as asserted in Wood 1 and
in the instant action are that, in the instant action, Wood
has removed Patricia Lowe as a defendant and has added Dr.
Bains along with an allegation that the Bains are being paid
"a great deal of monies" to "foster[ ]"
HP. (See Compl. ¶ 38).
order filed October 8, 2019, the Court dismissed, under the
"Rooker-Feldman doctrine," the RICO claim asserted
in Wood 1, as well as all other claims asserted in said
action, for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
(See Order, filed October 8, 2019, Wood I, at
4:7-10, 5:24-7:21 (citing Rooker v. Fidelity Trust
Co., 263 U.S. 413 (1923); District of Columbia Court
of Appeals v. Feldman, 460 U.S. 462 (1983)). In
addition, the Court found it proper to abstain, under the
"Younger doctrine," from considering the RICO claim
asserted in Wood 1, as well as all other claims asserted
therein. (See id. at 4:10-11, 8:1- 9:28 (citing
Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971)).)
noted, the RICO claim as asserted in Wood 1 and in the
instant action is, in essence, the same claim. Accordingly,
for the reasons stated in the order dismissing Wood 1, the
Court finds the instant action is barred by the
Rooker-Feldman and Younger doctrines.
reasons stated above, Wood is hereby ORDERED TO SHOW CAUSE,
in writing and no later than November 27, 2019, why the
above-titled action should not be ...