United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Robert Roe, as parent and natural guardian on behalf of Rebecca Roe, a minor, Plaintiff,
North Homes, Inc., individually and d/b/a North Homes Children and Family Service d/b/a I.T.A.S.K.I.N. Juvenile Center d/b/a North Homes Cottage, Marie Marna Booth, Connie Ross, Jane Does 1-4, and Jane Does 5-8, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
A. Magnuson United States District Court Judge
matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motion to
Dismiss. For the following reasons, the Motion is denied.
Robert Roe's 14-year-old daughter Rebecca committed
unspecified juvenile crimes in Itasca County. (Compl. (Docket
No. 1) ¶ 31-32.) The state court committed her to the
custody of the I.T.A.S.K.I.N. Juvenile Center. Defendant
North Homes, Inc., operates the Center, which is a
residential treatment facility that contracts with both
Minnesota's Department of Human Services
(“DHS”) and Department of Corrections
(“DOC”) for housing troubled juveniles. Juveniles
such as Rebecca who are there at the direction of the DOC are
not allowed to leave the facility. North Homes also operates
an adjacent facility, North Cottage, that is a less
restrictive facility than the Center.
Connie Ross was and still is the director of North Homes.
Center, Rebecca was diagnosed with several serious
mental-health issues. (Id. ¶ 37.) According to
Plaintiff, Defendant Marie Booth, a social worker at the
Center, developed an unhealthy relationship with Rebecca.
Residents reported seeing Booth hugging and kissing Rebecca
(id. ¶ 51), and several staff members told
their supervisors that Booth was not observing appropriate
boundaries with Rebecca. (Id. ¶¶ 45-47.)
These unknown staff members are Defendants Jane Does 1-4;
their unknown supervisors are Defendants Jane Does 5-8.
Neither staff nor supervisors ever intervened to stop
Booth's contacts with Rebecca. (Id. ¶ 48.)
Rebecca was transferred to the Cottage. (Id. ¶
57.) Booth visited her there, in contravention of North
Homes's policies. (Id. ¶ 61.) On August 1,
2016, Rebecca ran away from the Cottage. (Id. ¶
67.) Plaintiff alleges that Booth helped Rebecca escape, and
drove her to Booth's home. (Id. ¶¶
68-69.) Booth hid Rebecca for nearly three months, until
Rebecca was discovered at the end of October. Booth admitted
to a sexual relationship with Rebecca, and she ultimately
pled guilty to first-degree criminal sexual conduct and
depriving another of custodial or parental rights. The record
does not indicate whether she is currently incarcerated as a
result of her conviction.
investigated the incident, and many of Plaintiff's
allegations are taken from the report DHS issued. (Storms
Aff. Ex. C (Docket No. 24-1) (DJS Am. Investigation Mem.).)
DHS found that multiple staff members told Ross that Booth
may have helped Rebecca run away and that Rebecca and Booth
were having an inappropriate relationship. DHS thus initially
determined Ross failed to report maltreatment as required and
recommended that she be disqualified. DHS and Ross reached a
settlement, however, and DHS rescinded its disqualification
determination. (Id.) DHS ultimately imposed a $1,
400 fine on North Homes, which after an internal review
determined that its existing policies and procedures were
adequate and that no additional staff training was necessary.
(Compl. ¶¶ 101-02.)
Complaint raises three § 1983 claims-an individual claim
against Booth, Ross, and the Jane Doe Defendants, a
Monell claim against North Homes and Ross in her
official capacity, and a City of Canton claim
against North Homes. Plaintiff also brings one negligence and
professional-malpractice claim against all Defendants. He
seeks a judgment of more than $30 million.
survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint
need only “contain sufficient factual matter, accepted
as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible
on its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)); see also Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6). A claim bears facial plausibility when it allows
the Court “to draw the reasonable inference that the
defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. When evaluating a motion to
dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the Court must accept plausible
factual allegations as true. Gomez v. Wells Fargo Bank,
N.A., 676 F.3d 655, 660 (8th Cir. 2012). But
“[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action, supported by mere conclusory statements, ” are
insufficient to support a claim. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at
Homes, Ross, and the Jane Doe Defendants contend that
dismissal is appropriate because they were not acting under
color of state law for the purposes of §
1983. But whether a defendant qualifies as a
state actor is a fact-intensive inquiry. Lugar v.
Edmondson Oil Co., 457 U.S. 922, 939 (1982) (noting the
“necessarily fact-bound inquiry” in determining
whether a private entity has engaged in state action under
§ 1983); Burton v. Wilmington Parking Auth.,
365 U.S. 715, 722 (1961) (“Only by sifting facts and
weighing circumstances can the nonobvious involvement of the
State in private conduct be attributed its true
significance.”). As such, whether Defendants were state
actors is inappropriate for resolution on a motion to