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Royal v. Scan, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Fort Wayne Division

May 10, 2019

ALICIA NAILIA ROYAL, Plaintiff,
v.
SCAN, INC., PAIGE WALKER and CHRIS SPURLING, Defendants.

          ORDER AND OPINION

          HOLLY A. BRADY UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE.

         This matter comes before the Court on Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 13). Defendants ask this Court to dismiss Plaintiff's pro se Civil Complaint (ECF No. 1) under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1), arguing that this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction to hear the case. For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' Motion will be denied.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         A. PLEADINGS

         Plaintiff's pro se complaint was filed on May 7, 2018. While not a model of clarity, the complaint alleges generally that Paige Walker (“Walker”) and Chris Spurling (“Spurling”), employees of SCAN, Inc., wrongfully denied Plaintiff's supervised visitation with her minor daughter. Plaintiff requests damages in the amount of $700, 000, plus court costs.

         Defendants filed their Motion to Dismiss and supporting Memorandum of Law on October 8, 2018. In support of their argument for dismissal under F.R.C.P. 12(b)(1), Defendants asserted that Plaintiff's Complaint fails to invoke this Court's jurisdiction under either a federal question or diversity basis, that Plaintiff's Complaint fails to allege a case or controversy, and that this matter falls within the “domestic relations” exception to federal diversity jurisdiction. Although Plaintiff submitted two filings titled “Response, ” no substantive legal response to Defendants' arguments were made. Defendants filed no reply to either “Response.”

         B. SCAN

         Neither the Plaintiff nor the Defendants provide the Court with any information about SCAN, Inc., the sole entity defendant in this action. From what the Court can glean from Plaintiff's complaint, SCAN is responsible for coordinating and monitoring Plaintiff's court-ordered, supervised visits with her minor daughter. SCAN also appears to be responsible for coordinating and/or facilitating court-ordered therapy for both Plaintiff and her daughter.

         Plaintiff's allegations are consistent with the information that SCAN publishes on its public website.[1] SCAN holds itself out as a 501(c)(3) organization that is “non-sectarian and partially funded by the Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS).” The primary purpose of SCAN is found in the meaning behind its acronymous name: SCAN stands for “Stop Child Abuse and Neglect.” Among the “Programs and Services” publicized on the website is “Visitation Facilitation.” In describing this service, SCAN states:

What: Supervised visitation between a child(ren) who have been removed from their home because of abuse and/or neglect and their parents. This services goal is to keep the children safe and to teach the parents skills in coping with their children. It occurs at SCAN's offices, at client's homes or in public.
Who: Families referred by The Indiana Department of Child Services.[2]

         Another service publicized by SCAN is “Home-Based Therapy, ” which is described as:

What: Structured, goal-oriented, time-limited therapy in a family's natural environment. Provides assistance while recovering from physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse and neglect. Licensed clinicians provide this service.

         Who: Families referred by The Indiana Department of ...


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