United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, New Albany Division
LOUISA M. RASHEED, Plaintiff,
FLOYD COUNTY CPS, Defendant.
ENTRY ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS
RICHARD L. YOUNG, UNITED STATE DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
Louisa M. Rasheed (“Rasheed”), proceeding pro
se, alleges Floyd County Child Protective Services
(“CPS”) violated her Constitutional rights by
infringing on her fundamental right to parent her child.
Because CPS is not a “person” under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 and CPS is entitled to sovereign immunity under
the Eleventh Amendment, CPS's Motion to Dismiss is
Complaint, construed liberally, alleges that CPS deprived
Rasheed of custody of her son due to false claims over her
fitness as a mother. (Filing No. 1, Compl. at 2). Her case
has been ongoing with CPS for over three years.
(Id.). Rasheed alleges the Department of Child
Services (“DCS”), Rasheed's case manager, and
the social workers made her feel vulnerable and useless to
society “and did their very best to convince the Judge
and everyone involved in the case that [she] was
unfit.” (Filing No. 1-1 Attachment to Complaint at ecf
p. 3). Furthermore, Rasheed alleges that DCS and her social
worker attempted to force her to sign a document regarding
supervised visitation, but she refused. (Id. at ecf
August 24, 2018, Rasheed filed her Complaint, alleging CPS
violated her Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendment
rights by depriving her of her child. (Id. at ecf p.
5). She also alleges that CPS has committed “parental
alienation, misrepresentation, [and] negligence.”
(Compl. at 2).
Rule 12(b)(6), a party may move to dismiss a claim when the
plaintiff “fails to state a claim upon which relief can
be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). “To survive a
motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient
factual matter, accepted as true, ‘to state a claim of
relief that is plausible on its face.'”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting
Bell v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A claim
is facially plausible when the complaint alleges factual
content that allows the court to make the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the alleged
misconduct. Bell, 550 U.S. at 556.
moves to dismiss Rasheed's Complaint because CPS is not a
‘person' under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and CPS is
entitled to sovereign immunity under the Eleventh Amendment.
Validity of Claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege,
“(1) that defendant[s] deprived him of a constitutional
right; and (2) that the defendant[s] acted under color of
state law.” Savory v. Lyons, 469 F.3d 667, 670
(7th Cir. 2006). The defendant must also be a
“person”, as “[p]ersonhood is an essential
element of a § 1983 claim[.]” Lett v.
Magnant, 965 F.2d 251, 255 (7th Cir. 1992). States,
state officials acting within their official capacities, and
arms of the states, such as state agencies, are not
“persons” within the meaning of § 1983.
Will v. Michigan Dept. of State Police, 491 U.S. 58,
64 (1989); Lett, 965 F.2d at 255.
Floyd County CPS is not a “person” under §
1983. CPS is a local branch of the Department of Child
Services in Floyd County. Townsley v. Marion County Dept.
of Child Services, 848 N.E.2d 684, 686 (Ind.Ct.App.
2006); see also Heinzeman v. State, 895 N.E.2d 716,
725 n. 5 (Ind.Ct.App. 2008) (noting that CPS became part of
DCS when DCS was statutorily created). DCS was created by
Indiana Code § 31-25-1-1 and is a state agency. East
v. Lake County Sheriff, No. 2:14-cv-058 PPS JEM, 2015 WL
528 6920, at *5 (N.D. Ind. Sept. 9, 2015) (“[T]here is
not question that DCS is a branch of the State of
Indiana.”). Because CPS is an “arm of the state,
” it is not a “person” subject to suit
under § 1983. Therefore, Rasheed's § 1983 claim
fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
Sovereign Immunity Under the Eleventh Amendment
Eleventh Amendment bars private litigants' suits against
nonconsenting states in federal courts, with the exception of
causes of action where Congress has abrogated the states'
traditional immunity through its powers under the Fourteenth
Amendment.” Joseph v. Board of Regents of
University of Wisconsin System, 432 F.3d 746, 748 (7th
Cir. 2005). Congress did not abrogate States' Eleventh
Amendment immunity when it enacted § 1983. Moore v.
State of Ind., 999 F.2d 1125, 1128-1129 (7th Cir. 1993).
Moreover, “state agencies, as ‘arms of ...