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Daniels v. Murphy

July 2, 2007

SUSAN DANIELS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
KEN MURPHY, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS AN EMPLOYEE OF THE SUFFOLK COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES, AND JOHN DOES 1 THROUGH 10 AND JANE DOES 1 THROUGH 10, THE INDIVIDUAL DEFENDANTS BEING SUED IN THEIR RESPECTIVE INDIVIDUAL AND OFFICIAL CAPACITIES, AND CHILD & FAMILY PSYCHOLOGICAL SERVICES, P.C. AND THOMAS HICKEY, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Joseph F. Bianco, District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiff Susan Daniels brings this pro se action alleging that defendants violated her constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and under state law. Plaintiff seeks damages, injunctive and declaratory relief from each defendant. Defendant Ken Murphy, an employee of Suffolk County Child Protective Services, moves to dismiss plaintiff's complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Defendant Thomas Hickey joins in defendant Ken Murphy's motion.*fn1 Defendant Child & Family Psychological Services, P.C., has not appeared in this action, and, according to the docket, has not been served with process.

For the reasons that follow, defendants' motion to dismiss is granted. However, the Court will allow plaintiff an opportunity to file an amended complaint to address the pleading defects discussed infra.

I. BACKGROUND

The following facts are taken from the complaint and are not findings of fact by the Court, but rather are assumed to be true for purposes of deciding this motion and are construed in a light most favorable to plaintiff, the non-moving party.

On October 27, 2006, plaintiff commenced this action alleging that defendants violated her rights as a mother to Thomas Daniels ("Thomas"), a minor child.*fn2 Plaintiff alleges that her son's father, defendant Thomas Hickey ("Hickey"), has "intimidated" their son and engaged in "brainwashing and Parental Alienation Syndrome" with regard to their son, and made "fraudulent representations" to various employees of Suffolk County Child Protective Services (hereinafter "CPS") that somehow relate to a custody proceeding in state court. (Compl. ¶¶ 2, 7, 13.) Plaintiff also alleges that CPS employees, including Ken Murphy ("Murphy") and twenty unnamed employees (collectively, "the CPS defendants"), "negligently rel[ied]" on the findings of prior CPS employees and breached their "professional responsibilities" by accepting or believing certain information imparted to them by Hickey. (Compl. ¶¶ 13, 18, 23, 33.) Plaintiff further alleges that defendant Murphy "failed to ascertain . . . and/or disregarded and condoned" the "violent nature[] and history" of Hickey while performing duties related in some unspecified way to the custody dispute underlying this action, and thereby violated plaintiff's due process rights. (Compl. ¶¶ 16, 33.)

As to defendant Child & Family Psychological Services, P.C. ("FPS"), plaintiff's complaint identifies FPS in the caption, and, in one paragraph, asserts that they "practiced unprofessionally and negligently" in some unspecificied manner in relation to plaintiff and/or her son. (Compl. ¶ 4.) FPS appears nowhere else in the complaint.

Defendant Murphy moved to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) on February 16, 2007. By letter dated February 14, 2007, defendant Hickey indicated his desire to join in defendant Murphy's motion. Oral argument was held on defendants' motion on June 27, 2007.*fn3

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Federal 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," in order to "give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964 (May 21, 2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). Thereafter, in order to withstand a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the complaint must satisfy "a flexible `plausibility standard.'" Iqbal v. Hasty, - F.3d - , 2007 WL 1717803, at *11 (2d Cir. June 14, 2007). That is, the Court does not require "heightened fact pleading of specifics, but only enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atl., 127 S.Ct. at 1974. A claim "may be supported by showing any set of facts consistent with the allegations in the complaint." Id., 127 S.Ct. at 1968.

III. Discussion

A. Section 1983 Claims

For the following reasons, the Court finds that plaintiff's claims pursuant to Section 1983 must ...


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