The Court first examined the DCF’s contention that the doctrine of sovereign immunity barred the recovery of any money damages from the DCF commissioner, whom Mrs. K had sued in her official capacity. The Court agreed with the DCF, but pointed out that Mrs. K could still seek injunctive relief, attorney’s fees, and costs.
Next, the Court considered the DCF’s argument that the Regional DCF Administrator and social worker, whom Mrs. K had sued in their individual capacities, were entitled to qualified immunity. With regard to the IDEA, the Court held that since the Hearing Officer lacked jurisdiction over the DCF, then the DCF violated no clearly established law, thus keeping intact the qualified immunity. Moreover, since there was no relationship between the DCF defendants and Mrs. K’s retaliation claim, they were entitled to qualified immunity on this claim.
The Court then addressed claims concerning M.K.’s admission to the DCF’s voluntary services program. After an extensive review of M.K.’s receipt of various DCF services, the Court concluded that the change from the protective services program to the voluntary services program caused no harm to or violation of M.K.’s statutory or constitutional rights.
Furthermore, as the Hearing Officer lacked jurisdiction over the DCF except in a limited circumstance not at issue in this case, then the Court determined that DCF had been improperly joined as a defendant, and thus, entitled to summary judgment on the IDEA claims.
As to the retaliation claims against the individual DCF defendants, the Court found that two of the three claims were barred by the Connecticut statute of limitations. Additionally, Mrs. K failed to demonstrate any connection between these DCF defendants and the third claim, thus qualifying DCF for summary judgment.
The Court then turned to Mrs. K’s challenges to the adequacy of the DCF services; since this claim did not involve disability discrimination, there was no evidence to support a claim under the ADA or Rehabilitation Act.
Likewise, the Court found that it had no jurisdiction to consider the DCF’s alleged use of restraints and seclusion on M.K. while hospitalized, as those were medical decisions not subject to review under the IDEA, and not part of any valid legal claim.
As to Mrs. K’s remaining §1983 claims, since the DCF defendants had no personal involvement in any of the alleged due process violations, then they were entitled to summary judgment. The Court also found some of Mrs. K’s claims to be moot, and a claim as to a state lien on their assets to be unripe for adjudication.
The end result was summary judgment in favor of the defendants on all claims.
Judge(s): William L. Garfinkel, U.S. Magistrate Judge
|Plaintiff Lawyer(s)||Plaintiff Law Firm(s)|
|Andrew Feinstein||David C Shaw LLC|
|David C. Shaw||David C Shaw LLC|
|Defendant Lawyer(s)||Defendant Law Firm(s)|
|Jody P. Benbow||Michael F. Dowley and Associates|
|Jane Comerford||Office of the Connecticut Attorney General|
|Thomas M. Fiorentino||Office of the Connecticut Attorney General|
|Susan T. Pearlman||Office of the Connecticut Attorney General|
|Ralph E. Urban||Office of the Connecticut Attorney General|
|Paul Gamache||Siegel O'Connor Zangari O'Donnell & Beck|
|Frederick Dorsey||Soegel O'Connor O'Donnell Beck PC|
|Hugh Cuthbertson||Zangari Hershman PC|