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Komoscar v. Pence

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division

September 6, 2016

TIMOTHY J. KOMOSCAR and KELLY A. KOMOSCAR, Individually and on behalf of N.A.K., R.E.K., N.R.K. and A.J.K, Minor Children, Plaintiffs,
v.
MICHAEL R. PENCE, Governor of the State of Indiana, MARY BETH BONAVENTURA, Director of the Indiana Department of Child Services, TERRANCE K. CIBOCH, LOUELLA F. RICHEY, TAMARA G. LOOMIS, BRITTNEY D. SCHMIDT, and the INDIANA DEPARTMENT OF CHILD SERVICES, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          JOSEPH S. VAN BOKKELEN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiffs Timothy and Kelly A. Komoscar sued Defendants Michael R. Pence, the Governor of the state of Indiana; the Department of Child Services (DCS); Mary Beth Bonaventura, director of DCS; and Terrance K. Ciboch, the regional manager of DCS; as well as DCS employees Louella F. Richey, Tamara G. Loomis, and Brittney D. Schmidt. Plaintiffs claim defendants violated various federal and state laws by establishing and carrying out policies and procedures that resulted in DCS wrongfully taking their children into custody and withholding adequate psychological care. Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c), Pence and Bonaventura moved for judgment on the pleadings; while remaining defendants moved for partial judgment on the pleadings.

         A. Background

         The Amended Complaint alleges the following: on April 24, 2014, DCS removed Plaintiffs' children from their home and initiated a Child in Need of Services action pursuant to Indiana Code § 31-34-1-1 et seq. The children remained in DCS custody for almost three months, at which time an administrative law judge ordered that the children be returned home.

         Plaintiffs break down their claims as follows:

. Pence, Bonaventura, and Ciboch established and maintained policies and procedures that violated the Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution as well as the Indiana Constitution; Richey, Loomis, and Schmidt carried out these policies and procedures, further compounding the violations of Plaintiff s rights;
. DCS was negligent in hiring and retaining its employees and negligent in its operations; and it intentionally and negligently inflicted emotional distress upon Plaintiffs;
. Richey, Loomis, and Schmidt acted willfully and wantonly against Plaintiffs and intentionally inflicted emotional distress upon them.

         Pursuant to Rule 12(c), Pence and Bonaventura moved for judgment on the pleadings and remaining defendants moved for partial judgment on the pleadings.

         B. Standard of Review

         A motion for judgment on the pleadings under Rule 12(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is evaluated by the same standards as a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6). Pisciotta v. Old Nat'l Bancorp, 499 F.3d 629, 633 (7th Cir. 2007). “The facts alleged in the complaint are taken as true, drawing all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff.” Id.

         To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint “must 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)). A claim has facial plausibility when it allows the court to draw reasonable inferences that the defendant is liable for the alleged misconduct. Id.

         The complaint must contain only a “short plain statement of the claim showing plaintiff is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). But, while there is no need for detailed factual allegations, the plaintiff must “give the defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Olson v. Champaign County, 784 F.3d 1093, 1099 (7th Cir. 2015). The “factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (2007).

         C. ...


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