United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fayetteville Division
CAROL J. ADAMS PLAINTIFF
MIRANDA COLLINS, case Worker, Department of Human Services DHS; LEON DAZ, case Worker, DHS; RASHEDA MORRIS, case Worker, DHS; and MELINDA MclLROY, Attorney for DHS DEFENDANTS
OPINION AND ORDER
TIMOTHY L. BROOKS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
a civil rights case filed by the Plaintiff Carol J. Adams
under the provisions of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Adams proceeds
pro se and in forma pauperis (IFP). She is
currently incarcerated in the Grimes Unit of the Arkansas
Department of Correction.
Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) modified the IFP statute,
28 U.S.C. §1915, to require the Court to screen
complaints for dismissal under § 1915(e)(2)(B). The
Court must dismiss a complaint, or any portion of it, if it
contains claims that: (a) are frivolous or malicious; (b)
fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or
(c) seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from
such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
to the allegations of the Complaint (Doc. 1), on December 20,
2013, Plaintiff willingly placed her minor daughter into the
custody of the Department of Human Services (OHS). Plaintiff
asserts that she "was never once asked to provide
authorities with able-bodied caregivers that were/are able to
provide for minor child." Id. at p. 4.
Plaintiff contends this failure to allow her to provide a
list of able-bodied caregivers was in "direct violation
of the court ordered Ex Parte order and also the
Petition for Emergency Custody/Dependency Neglect."
alleges there was also a clause in the orders that stated
that "mental health care may be ordered for adult and/or
juvenile." Id. She asserts that no mental
health care was ever requested.
hearing was held on December 26, 2013, at which Plaintiff was
present, as was the paternal grandmother. Despite this, the
Ex Parte order was still put in effect. Plaintiff
alleges she has "tried repeatedly to offer family info
and asked for any services available." Id.
Plaintiff also alleges the "paternal brothers have tried
to reach any one in OHS office. All defendants are guilty of
intentional contempt of court." Id.
relief, Plaintiff asks this Court to order the OHS and the
Defendants to follow the terms of the Ex Parte Order
for Emergency Custody. In particular, she asks that she be
allowed to provide them with information on all maternal and
paternal relatives available to care for her minor daughter.
the PLRA, the Court is obligated to screen a case prior to
service of process being issued. A claim is frivolous when it
"lacks an arguable basis either in law or fact."
Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). A
claim fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted
if it does not allege "enough facts to state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face." BellAtl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). However, the
Court bears in mind that when "evaluating whether a
pro se plaintiff has asserted sufficient facts to
state a claim, we hold 'a prose complaint,
however inartfully pleaded, ... to less stringent standards
than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers."'
Jackson v. Nixon, 747 F.3d 537, 541 (8th Cir.
2014)(quoting Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94
official-capacity claims against OHS officials-Miranda
Collins, Leon Daz, Rasheda Morris, and Melinda Mcilroy-are
barred either by sovereign immunity or because in their
official capacities the individuals are not considered to be
persons for purposes of the civil rights statutes. See
Will v. Mich. Dept of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71
(1989)("neither a State nor its officials acting in
their official capacities are 'persons' under §
1983"); Zairael v. Harmon, 677 F.3d 353, 355
(8th Cir. 2012)(per curiam)(plaintiff's claim for damages
against state officials in their official capacities barred
by sovereign immunity, as "[s]ection 1983 provides no
cause of action against agents of the State acting in their
official capacities"); McLean v. Gordon, 548
F.3d 613, 618 (8th Cir. 2008)(district court erred in failing
to grant summary judgment for Missouri Department of Social
Services on § 1983 claim, as Department was an arm of
the State, and "a State is not a 'person'
against whom a § 1983 claim for money damages might be
asserted" (citation omitted)).
the individual capacity claims are also subject to dismissal.
Adams may not seek redress in federal court for issues
related to custody of her daughter. Federal courts do not
have jurisdiction over any "action for which the subject
is . . . child custody." Kahn v. Kahn, 21 F.3d
859, 861 (8th Cir. 1994) (citation omitted)(federal courts
may also abstain from exercising jurisdiction over cause of
action related to an action for child custody).
Complaint fails to state a cognizable claim under § 1983
and is frivolous. Therefore, it is DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(ii) (IFP
action may be dismissed at ...