United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
MONTY BAUCH, individually and as natural parent and next friend of O.B. his minor child, et al., Plaintiffs,
RICHLAND COUNTY CHILDREN SERVICES, et al., Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
CHRISTOPHER A. BOYKO United States District Judge
matter comes before the Court upon the Motion (ECF DKT #202)
of Defendants, Richland County Children Services
(“RCCS”), Randy Parker, Patricia Harrelson, Edith
Gilliland, Jason Kline, Tara Lautzenhiser and Holly Hartman,
for Summary Judgment and the Motion (ECF DKT #204) of
Plaintiffs, Monty Bauch and O.B., for Summary Judgment on
Counts One, Two, Four and Eight Against Individual Defendants
and RCCS. For the following reasons, Defendants' Motion
is granted in part and denied in part and Plaintiffs'
Motion is denied.
lawsuit arises out of the alleged wrongful removal of a
four-year old child, O.B., from her father's (Monty
Bauch's) home, on January 20, 2011, by RCCS based upon
allegations of sexual abuse and neglect. The allegations of
sexual abuse were never substantiated; yet, O.B. remained
separated from her father for three years. Plaintiffs claim
that RCCS violated its internal policies, state law and the
United States Constitution when investigating O.B.'s
case, securing the removal of O.B. from her home, and keeping
O.B. from her father for an inordinately long time. RCCS
insists that the individual Defendants enjoy absolute or
qualified immunity from liability and that Plaintiffs cannot
establish the substantive elements of their claims under
state law and 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Richland County Children Services Board is a public entity
that is bound by the laws of the State of Ohio. RCCS's
responsibilities include matters that relate to the custody
of children in Richland County, Ohio.
Jason Kline was a full-time employee of RCCS who served in
the capacity of a case worker.
Randy Parker was a full-time employee of RCCS serving in the
capacity of Director.
Patricia Harrelson currently serves as Director of RCCS.
Tara Lautzenhiser was a full-time employee of RCCS serving in
the capacity of a case worker.
Holly Hartman was a full-time employee of RCCS serving in the
capacity of a case worker supervisor.
Edith Gilliland was a full-time employee of RCCS who served
as in-house counsel. As of May 2016, Gilliland is no longer a
Defendant in this action.
the Stipulated Dismissal (ECF DKT #216) of a number of claims
in Plaintiffs' Second Amended Complaint (ECF DKT #123),
the remaining claims against the RCCS Defendants are Count
One - Assault and Battery; Count Two - Unlawful Search; Count
Four - Violation of Civil Rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983;
Count Five - Monell Related Claims; Count Six -
Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress; Count Eight -
Negligent Training, Supervision and Retention; Count Twelve -
Loss of Companionship; and Count Thirteen -Right to Equal
Protection 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
LAW AND ANALYSIS
56 Standard of Review
judgment shall be granted only if “the movant shows
that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and
the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
See Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The burden is on the moving
party to conclusively show no genuine issue of material fact
exists. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323
(1986); Lansing Dairy. Inc. v. Espy, 39 F.3d 1339,
1347 (6th Cir.1994). The moving party must either point to
“particular parts of materials in the record, including
depositions, documents, electronically stored information,
affidavits or declarations, stipulations, admissions,
interrogatory answers, or other materials” or show
“that the materials cited do not establish the absence
or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse party
cannot produce admissible evidence to support the
fact.” See Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A), (B). A
court considering a motion for summary judgment must view the
facts and all inferences in the light most favorable to the
nonmoving party. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith
Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). Once the movant
presents evidence to meet its burden, the nonmoving party may
not rest on its pleadings, but must come forward with some
significant probative evidence to support its claim.
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324; Lansing Dairy, 39
F.3d at 1347.
Court does not have the responsibility to search the record
sua sponte for genuine issues of material fact.
Betkerur v. Aultman Hospital Ass 'n., 78 F.3d
1079, 1087 (6th Cir. 1996); Guarino v. Brookfield
Township Trustees, 980 F.2d 399, 404-06 (6th Cir.1992).
The burden falls upon the nonmoving party to “designate
specific facts or evidence in dispute, ” Anderson
v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249-50 (1986); and
if the nonmoving party fails to make the necessary showing on
an element upon which it has the burden of proof, the moving
party is entitled to summary judgment. Celotex, 477
U.S. at 323. Whether summary judgment is appropriate depends
upon “whether the evidence presents a sufficient
disagreement to require submission to a jury or whether it is
so one-sided that one party must prevail as a matter of
law.” Amway Distributors Benefits Ass 'n v.
Northfield Ins. Co., 323 F.3d 386, 390 (6th Cir.2003)
(quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 251-52).
Sixth Circuit's “jurisprudence on abandonment of
claims is clear: a plaintiff is deemed to have abandoned a
claim when a plaintiff fails to address it in response to a
motion for summary judgment.” Brown v. VHS of
Michigan, Inc., 545 F.App'x 368, 372 (6th Cir.2013).
that in mind, the facts show that Defendant Patricia
Harrelson was not employed by RCCS as Executive Director
until after Plaintiff O.B. was returned to her father. Since
Plaintiffs make no allegations against this individual and do
not offer any argument in the Rule 56 briefing, summary
judgment is granted on behalf of Defendant Patricia
Count Thirteen of Plaintiffs' Second Amended Complaint
recites in ¶¶ 188-89 as follows:
The RCCS Defendants failed to provide Plaintiffs with equal
protection under the law based on their misguided and
unsupported stereotypes regarding the appropriateness of an
older single father's ability to raise a young girl
The RCCS regularly treated couples, single females, and
younger individuals more favorably then [sic] they treated
Mr. Bauch. Mr. Bauch's gender, age and his status as an
“unconventional” single parent were substantial
contributing factors in the Defendant's [sic] disparate
and wrongful treatment of Mr. Bauch.
never identify any policy or custom of RCCS that deprives
them of equal protection under the law. Moreover, Plaintiffs
submit no evidence that Plaintiff Bauch's gender, age or
“unconventional” parental status played any role
in the actions taken by the RCCS Defendants. Thus,
Plaintiffs' Equal Protection Claim in Count Thirteen is
considered abandoned; and the RCCS Defendants' Motion for
Summary Judgment is granted in this regard.
Director Randy Parker
allege that the RCCS Defendants, with the knowledge and
approval of Defendant Randy Parker, “falsely
represented to Mr. Bauch and his attorney that all claims of
sexual abuse would be dropped if Mr. Bauch agreed to have
O.B. adjudicated as a dependent child;” and that if
Bauch agreed, O.B. would be returned to his custody within
thirty days. (Second Amended Complaint, ECF DKT #123 at
¶82). However, the evidence demonstrates that Bauch
admitted in open court that O.B. was a dependent child as
defined in R.C. § 2151.04(C). (May 12, 2011
Magistrate's Decision Adjudicatory and Dispositional
Hearing, ECF DKT #202-2). The Magistrate further found that
the admissions were “voluntarily made with an