United States District Court, D. Idaho
SHALYNN F. PADDOCK, M.B. and A.P., Plaintiffs,
ANDREW BALLOU, BRIANA DIXON, COUNTY OF CANYON, a public entity; IDAHO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND WELFARE CPA, RAYCHELLE MINDEN, in her individual capacity; MIRANDA SQUIBB, in her individual capacity; JASMINE OLMEDO, in her individual capacity; ARACELI LUNA, in her individual capacity; CALDWELL POLICE DEPARTMENT, OFFICER T EDWARDS, in his individual capacity; OFFICER DEFUR, in his individual capacity; KIDS SERVICES, INC. of Caldwell, Canyon County, Idaho and JOHN AND JANE DOES 1-50, Defendants.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION RE: DOCKET NOS. 10, 40,
Honorable Candy W. Dale United States Magistrate Judge.
before the Court are three motions to dismiss filed by
Defendants KIDS Services, Inc., Andrew Ballou,  and Briana Dixon.
(Dkt. 10, 40, 41.) The motions to dismiss are ripe for the
Court's consideration. Having reviewed the record herein,
the Court finds the facts and legal arguments are adequately
presented in the briefs and record. Accordingly, in the
interest of avoiding delay, and because the Court
conclusively finds that the decisional process would not be
significantly aided by oral argument, the motions will be
decided on the record without oral argument. Dist. Idaho L.
pertinent claims asserted against the moving
parties begin with count one, brought under
Section 1983, which claims that Plaintiff's Fourteenth
Amendment right to familial association was violated by
Defendants KIDS Services and Briana Dixon, Defendant
Ballou's girlfriend (or spouse). (Dkt. 1, p. 13.) Next,
Plaintiff alleges violations of the Sixth Amendment against
Ballou in count two, and the Thirteenth Amendment against
Defendant KIDS Services and “CPS Workers” in
count three. Id.
to Plaintiff's state law claims, count five alleges a
violation of her state civil rights by all Defendants, but
does not state which specific rights were violated. (Dkt. 1,
¶ 74-87.) And second, Plaintiff alleges in count nine
that all Defendants committed the tort of invasion of
privacy. (Dkt. 1, ¶ 88-94.) After careful consideration
of the briefing, the standard of review, and relevant
authorities, the Court will recommend that all three motions
to dismiss be granted.
Shalynn Paddock (Plaintiff), who appears pro se in this
matter, brings both constitutional claims under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 (Section 1983) and state law claims. (Dkt. 1,
¶ 1.) Defendants in this case are: Canyon County, Canyon
County Sheriff's Department, Caldwell Police Department,
Raychelle Minden, Miranda Squibb, Jasmine Olmedo, Araceli
Luna, Officer T. Edwards, Officer Defur, Kids In Divorce
Support Services, Inc. (KIDS Services),  Briana Dixon, and
Andrew Ballou. (Dkt. 1, ¶ 4-15.) Defendants Minden,
Squibb, Olmedo, and Luna are identified as employees of Child
Protective Services (CPS) in Canyon County. (Dkt. 1, ¶
7-10, 16.) Defendant Officers Edwards and Defur are both
employees of the Caldwell Police Department. (Dkt. 1, ¶
11- 12.) KIDS Services is a private company located in Canyon
County. (Dkt. 1, ¶13; (Dkt. 13.) It appears Andrew
Ballou is the father of one of Plaintiff's children,
M.B., and Briana Dixon is either Ballou's girlfriend or
spouse. When reading the caption and complaint together, it
is unclear if the government employees named as defendants
are being sued in their individual capacities, their official
capacities, or both, as the information in the caption does
not fully align with the allegations in the complaint.
asserts that all named Defendants deprived her of various
constitutional and state rights during investigations
regarding allegations of child abuse, which later resulted in
the removal of her minor children from the home. (Dkt. 1.)
Plaintiff states the investigation stemmed from allegations
that Plaintiff's son, M.B., was not being fed, had
bruises on his body from being hit by Plaintiff, had bedbugs
present in his bed, and was often locked in his bedroom for
long periods of time. (Dkt. 1, ¶ 20; see also
Report, Dkt. 1-2 at 4.) Additional allegations in the
underlying investigation included that drugs and drug
paraphernalia were present in the home, and that Plaintiff
was consuming alcohol while breastfeeding. (Dkt. 1, ¶
was subjected to numerous welfare checks performed by both
CPS employees and law enforcement officials, where the
purpose was to ensure that Plaintiff's children were
living in a safe environment. (Dkt. 1, ¶ 20, 22.) On
November 17, 2017, Plaintiff alleges that Officer Defur was
in possession of a protection order that instructed him to
remove M.B. from Plaintiff's home, which he did, based on
the continuing allegations of child abuse. (Dkt. 1, ¶
23.) KIDS Services later facilitated supervised visitations
between M.B. and Plaintiff. (Dkt. 1, ¶ 23, 26.)
Services charged Plaintiff a sixty-dollar intake fee, as well
as fifty dollars per hour to participate in supervised visits
with M.B. (Dkt. 1, ¶ 26.) Plaintiff asserts that KIDS
Services told her when and how long her visits with M.B.
would be - she was not given a choice in the matter. (Dkt. 1,
¶ 26.) After the first visit with M.B., Plaintiff
contacted KIDS Services to find out when her next visitation
was scheduled, but Plaintiff did not receive a response from
KIDS Services. (Dkt. 1, ¶ 35.) Last, Plaintiff alleges
that KIDS Services scheduled a visitation appointment, failed
to inform Plaintiff about the appointment, and then charged
Plaintiff forty dollars for missing the appointment. (Dkt. 1,
¶ 35, 37.)
incident occurred on December 9, 2017. (Dkt. 1, ¶ 30.)
According to Plaintiff's complaint, Defendants Olmedo and
Officer Edwards arrived at Plaintiff's home with the
intent of performing a welfare check. Specifically, they
requested to check on Plaintiff's infant daughter, A.P.,
as they believed the baby had rashes on her body, and had
been given soda by way of bottle-feeding. Id. Upon
arrival, Defendants allegedly pushed their way into
Plaintiff's home. Id. Plaintiff asserts she did
not provide Defendants with consent to enter the home and
told them to leave. Id. Defendants Olmedo and
Officer Edwards allegedly forced Plaintiff to remove her
daughter's clothing so she could be inspected for rashes
by these Defendants. Id. Plaintiff's home was
also searched by these officials, which included a search for
bedbugs in the mattresses and a search of Plaintiff's
roommate's bedroom. Id. It is unclear from
Plaintiff's complaint whether Defendants Olmedo and
Officer Edwards had obtained judicial authorization prior to
entering and searching the home, and examining A.P.
February 6, 2018, KIDS Services filed a motion to dismiss.
(Dkt. 10.) Plaintiff was provided an opportunity to respond
to the motion, and she received notice regarding how to do
so. (Dkt. 11.) Plaintiff filed a document on February 27,
2018, titled “Questions for KIDS Services' Council
[sic] Concerning Motion to Dismiss.” (Dkt. 26.) KIDS
Services responded to Plaintiff's filing by indicating
that Plaintiff did not address the legal issues raised by
KIDS Services in its motion to dismiss. (Dkt. 32.) KIDS
Services asserts that Plaintiff failed to allege facts to
support a cognizable cause of action against it, and requests
the Court grant its motion to dismiss. Id.
later filed an opposition to KIDS Services' motion to
dismiss on April 5, 2018. (Dkt. 44.) Plaintiff opposes the
motion on the grounds that a conflict of interest exists,
because legal counsel for KIDS Services is also a director of
the organization. Plaintiff alleges also that KIDS Services
“has a close monetary relationship with the courts thus
causing a biased relationship in favor of the wishes of the
courts, police, prosecutors, and judges.” KIDS Services
responded, asserting that the objections Plaintiff raised are
insufficient as a matter of law to defeat its motion to
dismiss, and Plaintiff failed to identify any substantive
issues of law which would affect the motion. (Dkt. 49.)
April 3, 2018, Defendants Ballou and Dixon separately filed
motions to dismiss with accompanying memoranda, which are
nearly identical to each other, and substantially similar to
KIDS Services memorandum. (Dkt. 40, 41.) Ballou raises three
arguments. First, that this is a custody dispute and the
complaint raises frivolous allegations against Ballou that
should be resolved in state court. (Dkt. 40,
Second, Ballou contends that, to the extent Plaintiff alleges
civil rights violations against him, Plaintiff failed to file
a complaint with the Idaho Human Rights Commission prior to
filing suit. And third, Ballou asserts that Plaintiff's
claim for invasion of privacy is not viable. Dixon raises the
same arguments in her motion to dismiss. (Dkt. 41-1.)
Additionally, in their answers, both Ballou and Dixon
asserted that the complaint failed to state claims against
them upon which relief could be granted. (Dkt. 30, 31.)
response, Plaintiff argues neither Ballou nor Dixon addressed
all of the allegations made against them in her Complaint;
discovery has not yet been conducted so she cannot support
her claims; the custody matter is a separate matter, and has
no relationship to the civil rights claims she brings here;
and last, that she is not required to file a complaint with
any state agency if she believes “there will be no fair
resolution at the state level.” (Dkt. 51,
Motion to Dismiss
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only “a short
and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief” to “give the defendant fair
notice of what the ... claim is and the grounds upon which it
rests.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 555 (2007). While a complaint attacked by a Rule
12(b)(6) motion to dismiss “does not need detailed
factual allegations, ” it must set forth “more
than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of
the elements of a cause of action will not do.”
Id. at 555. The principle “that a court must
accept a complaint's allegations as true is inapplicable
to threadbare recitals of a cause of action's elements,
supported by mere conclusory statements.” Ashcroft
v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009) (citing Twombly
survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain
sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to “state
a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Twombly at 570. A claim has facial plausibility when
the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged. Id. at 556. The
plausibility standard is not akin to a “probability
requirement, ” but it asks for more than a sheer
possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.
Id. Where a complaint pleads facts that are
“merely consistent with” a defendant's
liability, it “stops short of the line between
possibility and plausibility of ‘entitlement to
relief.'” Id. at 557.
United States Supreme Court identified two “working
principles” that underlie Twombly in
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). First,
the Court need not accept as true legal conclusions that are
couched as factual allegations. Id. Rule 8 does not
“unlock the doors of discovery for a plaintiff armed
with nothing more than conclusions.” Id. at
678-79. Second, to survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint
must state a plausible claim for relief. Id. at 679.
“Determining whether a complaint states a plausible
claim for relief will ... be a context-specific task that
requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial
experience and common sense.” Id.
a pro se complaint must be construed liberally.
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). “A
pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must
be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings
drafted by lawyers.” Id. (quoting Estelle
v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976) (internal quotation
marks omitted). Because Plaintiff proceeds pro se,
the Court must construe her pleadings liberally and afford
her the benefit of any doubt. See Bretz v. Kelman,
773 F.2d 1026, 1027 n.1 (9th Cir. 1985) (en banc).
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. They possess only
that power authorized by the Constitution and statutes.
Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S.
375, 377 (1994). A federal court must have subject-matter
jurisdiction over claims brought before it. Federal courts
have original jurisdiction over cases “arising under
the Constitution, laws or treaties of the United States,
” 28 U.S.C. § 1331, or in which the citizenship of
the parties is completely diverse and the amount in
controversy exceeds $75, 000. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a).
Because subject-matter jurisdiction “involves a
court's power to hear a case…, it [cannot] be
forfeited or waived.” Arbaugh v. Y&H
Corp., 546 U.S. 500, 514 (2006) (quoting United
States v. Cotton, 535 U.S. 625, 630 (2002)).
certain contexts, federal law provides special rules for
federal courts to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over
related state law claims. That is, jurisdiction over claims
that arise out of the same transaction or occurrence as the
claims set forth in the original complaint. 28 U.S.C. §
1367. A federal court may exercise supplemental jurisdiction
over such claims when they derive from a common nucleus of
operative fact. See generally United Mine Workers of Am.
v. Gibbs, 383 U.S. 715 (1966). The following three
criteria are considered to determine whether facts form a
common nucleus of operative fact: (1) when the facts are
related in time, space, origin or motivation; (2) when the
facts form a convenient trial unit; and (3) when treating the
facts as a unit would conform to the parties'
expectations. Apparel Art Int'l, Inc. v. Amertex
Enters. Ltd., 48 F.3d 576, 584 (1st Cir. 1995).
even when proper, the exercise of supplemental jurisdiction
is discretionary. 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c). A court may
decline to exercise jurisdiction under any one of four
scenarios: (1) when exercising jurisdiction would require a
ruling on a novel or complex state law claim; (2) when the
claim substantially predominates over the claim or claims
over which the district court has original jurisdiction; (3)
if the district court has dismissed all claims over which it
has original jurisdiction; or (4) if there are other
compelling reasons for the court to decline to extend
supplemental jurisdiction. Id.
KIDS Services' Motion to Dismiss
alleges the following four claims against KIDS Services: a
violation of familial association pursuant to the Fourteenth
Amendment; a violation of Plaintiff's right to be free
from involuntary servitude pursuant to the Thirteenth
Amendment; a violation of state civil rights; and, the tort
of invasion of privacy. KIDS Services moves to dismiss the
constitutional claims on the grounds that it is not a state
actor; Plaintiff has not alleged specific facts constituting
unconstitutional conduct; and, even if there is state action,
KIDS Services is entitled to absolute quasi-judicial
immunity. With regard to the state law claims, KIDS Services
argues Plaintiff has not alleged she filed a complaint with
the Idaho Commission on Human Rights, or alleged facts to
support a state law claim for invasion of privacy.
explained below, the Court agrees that Plaintiff has failed
to plead sufficient facts to state a claim against KIDS
Services. Therefore, the Court will recommend KIDS
Services' motion to dismiss be granted and all claims
against KIDS Services be dismissed, with the opportunity to
Constitutional Claims - Thirteenth Amendment
(Count Three) and Fourteenth Amendment
1983 provides a remedy for individuals who have been deprived
of one or more of their federal constitutional rights by a
person acting under color of state law. 42 U.S.C. §
1983; see, e.g., Burke v. Cty. of Alameda,
586 F.3d 725, 731 (9th Cir. 2009). “The purpose of
§ 1983 is to deter state actors from using the badge of
their authority to deprive individuals of their federally
guaranteed rights.” Anderson v. Warner, 451
F.3d 1063, 1067 (9th Cir. 2006) (citation omitted). To
prevail on her Section 1983 claims, Plaintiff must show that:
(1) acts by the Defendants, (2) under color of state law, (3)
deprived her of federal rights, privileges or immunities, and
(4) caused her damage. Thornton v. City of St.
Helens, 425 F.3d 1158, 1163-64 (9th Cir. 2005) (quoting
Shoshone-Bannock Tribes v. Idaho Fish & Game
Comm'n, 42 F.3d 1278, 1284 (9th Cir. 1994)).
state a claim for relief under Section 1983, it must be shown
that KIDS Services and its employees were acting under color
of state law when they allegedly denied Plaintiff of her
rights under the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments.
However, Plaintiff asserts that KIDS Services is a private
corporation that facilitates supervised visitation between
children and their parents. Private corporations act under
color of state law only when the alleged infringement of
federal rights is “fairly attributable to the
state.” Flowers v. City of Parma, No.
1:14-CV-00453-EJL, 2015 WL 4757330, at *6 (D. Idaho Aug. 12,
2015) (quoting Lugar v. Edmondson Oil Co., 457 U.S.
922, 937 (1982)).
action may be found if, though only if, there is such a close
nexus between the State and the challenged action that
seemingly private behavior may be fairly treated as that of
the State itself.” Villegas v. Gilroy Garlic
Festival Ass'n, 541 F.3d 950, 955 (9th Cir. 2008)
(en banc) (citing Brentwood Acad. v. Tenn. Secondary Sch.
Athletic Ass'n, 531 U.S. 288, 295 (2001)).
“Action taken by a private individual may be
‘under color of state law' where there is
‘significant' state involvement in the
action.” Howerton v. Gabica, 708 F.2d 380, 382
(9th Cir.1983). The United States Court of Appeals for the
Ninth Circuit has identified four general approaches to
determine whether private conduct is attributable to the
state: 1) public function, 2) joint action/participation, 3)
governmental compulsion or coercion, and 4) governmental
nexus. Henneberry v. City of Newark, Case No.
13-cv-05238-MEJ, 2014 WL 4978576, at *10 (N.D. Cal. Oct. 6,
2014) (citation omitted); see also Kirtley v.
Rainey, 326 F.3d 1088, 1092 (9th Cir. 2003).
the public function test, ‘when private individuals or
groups are endowed by the State with powers or functions
governmental in nature, they become agencies or
instrumentalities of the state and subject to its
constitutional limitations.'” Lee v. Katz,
276 F.3d 550, 554-55 (9th Cir. 2002) (quoting Evans v.
Newton, 382 U.S. 296, 299 (1966)). Under the joint
action or participation test, “a private party acts
under color of state law if ‘he [or she] is a willful
participant in joint action with the State or its
agents.'” Lopez v. Dept. of Health Servs.,
939 F.2d 881, 883 (9th Cir. 1991) (quoting Dennis v.
Sparks, 449 U.S. 24, 27 (1980)). The coercion test is
most often applied in situations involving forced
participation in alleged religion-based programs in prison,
which is not the case here. Anderson v. Craven, No.
CV-07-246-BLW, 2009 WL 804691, at *4 (D. Idaho Mar. 26,
2009). And finally, “[u]nder the governmental nexus
test, a private party acts under color of state law if
‘there is a sufficiently close nexus between the State
and the challenged action of the regulated entity so that the
action of the latter may be fairly treated as that of the
State itself.'” Lopez, 939 F.2d at 883
(quoting Jackson, 419 U.S. at 351) (Constitutional
deprivation caused by private party involves state action if
claimed deprivation resulted from exercise of a right or
privilege having its source in state authority.)).
Services contends it is not a state actor, and is merely a
corporation formed under the laws of the State of Idaho. KIDS
Services does not specifically mention the four general
approaches recognized in the Ninth Circuit to determine
whether private conduct is attributable to the State. Rather,
KIDS Services argues generally that its actions (and those of
its employees) are not attributable to the State, because its
role in family court proceedings is limited to providing
reports to the court regarding supervised visitation.
than alleging in her motion that KIDS Services receives money
from the State, Plaintiff has not alleged facts raising a
plausible inference of state action. Plaintiff alleges KIDS
Services is a corporation doing business in Canyon County.
The only factual allegations related to KIDS Services include
the amount of money Plaintiff was charged for supervised
visitation with her son, that she was not given a choice of
when and how long the meetings would last, and that KIDS
Services failed to properly communicate the time and date of
a scheduled visitation. None of these factual allegations
plausibly alleges state action under either the public
function, joint action, or governmental nexus tests. Further,
under the Idaho Rules of Family Law Procedure, Rule 717(D)
clarifies that providers of court ordered supervision are not
parties to the court proceeding.
there are no factual allegations in the Complaint
establishing that KIDS Services was a state actor, the Court
will recommend that ...