the instant case, the report was not anonymous and the injuries were serious, specified and multiple.
The plaintiffs also contend that this Court should consider their allegations that caseworkers Epps and Brunache "repeatedly stated to Mrs. Chayo and to other persons present in the Chayo home that they did not see any evidence of abuse, and that they did not believe the children were in any danger, much less imminent danger." Plaintiffs' Memorandum in Opposition to Defendants' Motions, at 42 ("Opposition Memorandum"). However, the mere fact that no evidence of abuse was discovered at the home was not a basis for concluding there was no imminent danger. Child abuse could not be ruled out given the content of the 2221 Report. Accordingly, examination by a physician was still appropriate. In addition, the caseworkers' alleged statements that they did not believe the children were in danger are also of limited importance. To remove children, caseworkers need not "believe" that child abuse is ongoing and that danger is imminent; caseworkers need only have been "presented with evidence" of abuse and have "reason to fear" that danger is imminent. Robison, 821 F.2d at 922. The caseworkers' statements are not inconsistent with this standard. Moreover, the Court need not turn a blind eye to the likelihood that caseworkers may seek to defuse the confrontation inherent in their difficult task by characterizing their efforts to parents more as an attempt to investigate a report than to confirm a personal belief in the parents' guilt. Accordingly, little weight can be given to these alleged statements in comparison with the 2221 Report that was the basis for the caseworkers' actions and their superiors' instructions. In any event, these statements have little importance because it is this Court's task to focus on the "objective legal reasonableness" of the defendants' actions, Harlow, 457 U.S. at 819, rather than the defendants' subjective state of mind. There is no issue of material fact concerning the existence or content of the 2221 Report. This Court concludes that the examination of the Chayo children was objectively reasonable in light of the Report.
The plaintiffs, citing Van Emrik, 911 F.2d 863, also contend that even if a medical examination of the children was merited, an x-ray examination was not. In Van Emrik, the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that "in the absence of parental consent, x-rays of [a] child may not be undertaken for investigative purposes at the behest of state officials unless a judicial officer has determined, upon notice to the parents and an opportunity to be heard, that grounds for such an examination exist and that the administration of the procedure is reasonable under all the circumstances." Van Emrik, 911 F.2d at 867. The instant case is distinguishable, however, because the x-ray examinations were ordered not by the caseworkers but by Dr. Ibrahm Ahmed, a pediatric resident at St. Vincent's Hospital, and for medical rather than investigative purposes. Dr. Ahmed's declaration squarely supports this account. He states that "the caseworkers did not request that the x-rays of the children be taken" but rather that he ordered the x-rays "to facilitate [his] diagnoses of the children and to determine what treatment, if any, was necessary." See Declaration of Ibrahm Ahmed, dated January 25, 1993, at P 6-7. The Second Circuit's decision in Van Emrik plainly envisions that medically necessary x-rays may be taken without judicial approval or parental consent for it acknowledges the validity of N.Y. Soc. Serv. Law § 416 (McKinney 1983) which provides that children examined for abuse may be given an x-ray examination "if medically indicated." Van Emrik at 867. The plaintiffs contend that, notwithstanding Dr. Ahmed's declaration, the x-ray examinations were unnecessary because they duplicated x-ray examinations that had already been given. However, the plaintiffs thereby take issue with Dr. Ahmed's medical judgment rather than with the actions of the government officials who are the defendants in this action.
The plaintiffs also contest the claim that the caseworkers did not request the x-rays in question. However, the caseworkers have met the summary judgment standard on this issue. The defendants have provided an affidavit squarely supporting their contention that the x-rays were not requested by the caseworkers. This Court is given no reason to doubt the truthfulness of the statement of this non-party physician taking full responsibility for the decision to order x-rays and denying that any request was made by the caseworkers. Accordingly, the defendants met their burden of coming forward with proof why summary judgment should be granted on this issue and the burden of proof shifted to the plaintiffs to provide evidence in rebuttal. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 250. The plaintiffs have not offered any such evidence.
The plaintiffs nonetheless urge a broad reading of Van Emrik that would bring the instant case within its scope. The plaintiffs note that in Van Emrik, like the instant case, the physician, rather than the caseworker, actually ordered the x-rays in question and that this did not preclude the Second Circuit from finding that the x-rays were "initiated" by and taken "at the behest of" the caseworker. Van Emrik at 867. However, in Van Emrik the physician actually opposed an x-ray examination because of concern about subjecting the child to unnecessary radiation. Id. at 865. Only when the caseworker explained her investigative rationale for the x-rays did the doctor state that he "'could agree'" to order the x-rays taken. Id. In this case, there is no evidence that the caseworkers even mentioned x-rays, much less requested they be taken. The terms "initiated" and "at the behest of" certainly suggest a more active role than this and could only comprise the state officials' actions if the Court gave these terms an unusually broad construction. Such a construction is supported neither by the language nor the facts of Van Emrik.3
Accordingly, this Court finds that, drawing all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiffs, the x-rays could not be shown to have been taken at the behest of the defendant government officials in this case. Accordingly, no violation of the plaintiffs' constitutional rights was effected by these x-ray exams. The Court has already concluded that no juror could find that the decision to examine the children was not objectively reasonable. Accordingly, this Court finds that the Caseworkers are protected from suit by qualified immunity. In addition, Sergeant James McCabe and Police Officers Sharon Paul, David Fiol, James Carfora are protected from suit by qualified immunity based on their reasonable reliance on the Caseworkers' assessments.
IV. CLAIMS AGAINST BARBARA SABOL AND LEE BROWN
Defendants Sabol and Brown seek dismissal of plaintiffs' suit for money damages against New York City under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, constituting counts one through sixteen of the First Amended Complaint. To prevail against municipal defendants, "a section 1983 plaintiff must 'prove the existence of a municipal policy or custom' that caused his injuries and, second, 'plaintiff must establish a causal connection . . . between the policy and the deprivation of his constitutional rights.'" Sarus v. Rotundo, 831 F.2d 397, 400 (2d Cir. 1987) (quoting Vippolis v. Village of Haverstraw, 768 F.2d 40, 44 (2d Cir. 1985)). The threshold question is whether there has been a deprivation of a constitutional right. Duchesne v. Sugarman, 566 F.2d 817, 824 (2d Cir. 1977). Such deprivation has occurred where the appellants have been deprived of an interest encompassed by the Fourteenth Amendment's protection of liberty and property, and such deprivation has occurred without due process of law. Id. (citing Board of Regents v. Roth, 408 U.S. 564, 569, 33 L. Ed. 2d 548, 92 S. Ct. 2701 (1972) and Morrissey v. Brewer, 408 U.S. 471, 484, 33 L. Ed. 2d 484, 92 S. Ct. 2593 (1972)).
It is undisputed that the plaintiffs' interest in not being separated as a family and in not being subject to medical examination without consent is a liberty interest protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. See Van Emrik, 911 F.2d at 865; Duchsne, 566 F.2d at 824-25. However, the removal and examination were not effected without due process of law. Even in the absence of parental consent or a judicial order, children may be temporarily removed from their parents' custody without a violation of due process when the removal is taken as an emergency measure to protect the children's interest. See Duchesne, 566 F.2d at 826. Cf. Parratt v. Taylor, 451 U.S. 527, 540, 68 L. Ed. 2d 420, 101 S. Ct. 1908 (1981) ("The fundamental requirement of due process is the opportunity to be heard and it is an 'opportunity which must be granted at a meaningful time and in a meaningful manner. . .' However . . . we have rejected the proposition that 'at a meaningful time and in a meaningful manner' always requires the State to provide a hearing prior to the initial deprivation of property.") (quoting Armstrong v. Manzo, 380 U.S. 545, 552, 14 L. Ed. 2d 62, 85 S. Ct. 1187 (1965)). As detailed above, the Caseworkers had sufficient reason to believe that the Chayo children might be in imminent danger as a result of ongoing child abuse. The steps they took in light of the information available to them and the risk of danger to the Chayo children were reasonable. Consequently, the plaintiffs were not deprived of due process by this temporary removal.
The plaintiffs make various criticisms of the supervision given to social workers and the regulations regarding investigation. The plaintiffs contend, inter alia, that "imminent danger" is not sufficiently well defined in these regulations; that the risk assessment factors are not prioritized; and that the appropriate hours for investigating child abuse are not specified. However, the plaintiffs have identified no case law which suggests that these defects rise to the level of constitutional violations and the Court does not regard them as such.
The plaintiffs also question whether it was necessary to conceal from Mr. and Mrs. Chayo the identity of the hospital to which the children were being taken. Reasonable persons might certainly disagree with this decision. However, the fact that Mr. and Mrs. Chayo were unaware of the location of their children for only a few hours does not transform an otherwise justified examination into a constitutional violation.
Thus, this Court finds that there was no violation of the plaintiffs' constitutional rights. Accordingly, the section 1983 claims of the plaintiffs against defendants Sabol and Brown are hereby dismissed.
V. CLAIMS AGAINST KALADJIAN
Kaladjian moves to dismiss the claims against him pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) and 12(c). When considering a motion to dismiss pursuant to 12(b)(6) a court must take all factual allegations in the complaint as true and construe all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. LaBounty v. Adler, 933 F.2d 121, 123 (2d Cir. 1991). The Court applies this same standard when considering a motion for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(c). Ad-Hoc Committee v. Bernard M. Baruch College, 835 F.2d 980, 982 (2d Cir. 1987).
A. Claims for Money Damages to Be Paid From the State Treasury
The Eleventh Amendment to the United States Constitution bars a suit by private parties seeking to impose a liability which must be paid from public funds in a state treasury. Edelman v. Jordan, 415 U.S. 651, 663, 39 L. Ed. 2d 662, 94 S. Ct. 1347 (1974). Accordingly, plaintiffs are barred from seeking money damages from defendant Kaladjian in his official capacity.
B. Claims Against Kaladjian in His Individual Capacity
A defendant's personal involvement in an alleged constitutional violation is a prerequisite to the imposition of damages under section 1983. Williams v. Smith, 781 F.2d 319, 323 (2d Cir. 1986). There are four ways in which a supervisory official may be personally involved in a 1983 violation: he may (1) have directly participated in the infraction or be directly involved through ordering that the action be taken; (2) have failed to remedy a wrong after learning of the violation; (3) have created or allowed a policy to continue under which the violation occurred; (4) have been grossly negligent in managing the subordinates who caused the violation. Id. at 323-24.
The plaintiffs appear to allege that Kaladjian created a policy under which the violation occurred. However, claims brought under section 1983 require specific allegations at the pleading stage and thus represent a departure from the liberal pleading requirements set forth in Rule 8(a). Sanders v. City of New York, 692 F. Supp. 308, 311 (S.D.N.Y. 1988). See also Barr v. Abrams, 810 F.2d 358, 363 (2d Cir. 1987). Accordingly, this Court has repeatedly held that the allegation of one incident is insufficient to maintain a claim against a municipality. Sanders, 692 F. Supp. at 312; Camarano v. City of New York, 624 F. Supp. 1144, 1146 (S.D.N.Y. 1986) ("Allegation of a single instance of mistreatment by a police officer . . . is insufficient to establish an unconstitutional municipal policy attributed to a municipal policymaker"); Clayton v. City of New York, 596 F. Supp. 355, 359 (S.D.N.Y. 1984) ("It is generally necessary to assert more facts than those related to the one incident involved to establish a claim of 'pattern and practice'."). While in the cited cases the claims alleging an unconstitutional policy were asserted against municipalities, the Court concludes that the same pleading requirements apply to claims against individual defendants. As then District Judge Newman explained in Smith v. Ambrogio, 456 F. Supp. 1130 (D. Conn. 1978):
[A] claim of municipal liability based on an alleged policy reflected by a pattern of prior episodes will inevitably risk placing an entire police department on trial. Sweeping discovery will be sought to unearth episodes in which allegedly similar unconstitutional actions have been taken, and the trial will then require litigation of every episode occurring in the community that counsel believes can be shown to involve a similar constitutional violation. Even if a trial of that scope is warranted by a complaint that does allege overt acts with requisite particularity, neither a federal court nor a municipality should be burdened with such an action unless a detailed pleading is presented.