Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Katz v. McVeigh

United States District Court, D. New Hampshire

March 16, 2013

Elena Katz et al.
v.
Brian McVeigh et al

Decided March 15, 2013.

Page 312

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 313

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 314

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 315

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 316

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 317

Elena Katz, Plaintiff, Pro se, East Hampstead, NH.

Arnold Grodman, Plaintiff, Pro se, E. Hampstead, NH.

Stuart Grodman, Plaintiff, Pro se, East Boston, MA.

For Brian McVeigh, sued in individual capacity, Didier A. Matel, sued in official and individual capacity for injunctive relief only, Karen Weinberg, Supervisor, sued in individual capacity, Defendants: Rebecca L. Woodard, LEAD ATTORNEY, NH Attorney General's Office (Civil), Civil Bureau, Concord, NH; Nancy J. Smith, Office of Attorney General, Civil Bureau, Concord, NH.

For Wade Parsons, Police Chief, Danville, sued in individual and official capacity, Defendant: Brian J.S. Cullen, CullenCollimore PLLC, Nashua, NH.

For Sreenivas Katragadda, M.D., sued in individual capacity also known as Sreenivas Katragadda, also known as FNU Katragadda, Defendant: Adam B. Pignatelli, Rath Young & Pignatelli PA (Concord), Concord, NH; Michael A. Pignatelli, Rath Young & Pignatelli PC (Nashua), Nashua, NH.

For Crotched Mountain Rehabilitation Center, Defendant: Donald L. Smith, Devine Millimet & Branch PA (Manchester), Manchester, NH; Paul B. Kleinman, Bouchard Kleinman & Wright PA (Hampton), Hampton, NH.

For Kathleen Grondine, sued soley in individual capacity, Maggie Bishop, Director, NH DCYF, sued in individual capacity, Robert Doty, sued in individual capacity, Rebecca S. Morris, Marie Noonan, Supervisor, State of New Hampshire, Defendants: Nancy J. Smith, LEAD ATTORNEY, Office of Attorney General, Civil Bureau, Concord, NH.

For Edwina E. Lovett, sued in individual capacity, Timberlane Regional School District, Defendants: Charles P. Bauer, Gallagher Callahan & Gartrell PC, Concord, NH.

For Danville Police Department, Danville, NH, Town of, Defendants: Brian J.S. Cullen, LEAD ATTORNEY, CullenCollimore PLLC, Nashua, NH.

For James E. Nye, Officer, sued in individual and official capacity, Cathy Champion, sued in individual and official capacity, Rockingham County Sheriff's Department, Defendants: Corey M. Belobrow, LEAD ATTORNEY, Maggiotto & Belobrow PLLC, Concord, NH.

For Don Shamaway, CEO and Director, Crotched Mountain Center, sued in individual capacity, Defendant: Donald L. Smith, Devine Millimet & Branch PA (Manchester), Manchester, NH.

For Lin Roy, CASA Guardian Ad Litem, sued in individual capacity, Defendant: W. Daniel Deane, Nixon Peabody LLP, Manchester, NH.

For FNU Hennessy, Police Officer, Boston, FNU Donatelli, Police Officer, Boston, Boston Police Department, Defendants: Biron L. Bedard, LEAD ATTORNEY, Ransmeier & Spellman, Concord, NH; Julie Ciollo, Michelle Hinkley, LEAD ATTORNEYS, PRO HAC VICE, Boston, City of Law Department, Boston, MA; Raquel J. Webster, PRO HAC VICE, Boston, City of Law Department, Boston, MA.

OPINION

Joseph N. Laplante, United States District Judge.

Page 318

MEMORANDUM ORDER

The plaintiffs, Elena Katz and Arnold Grodman, [1] have brought a 32-count

Page 319

amended complaint against 24 separately named defendants, principally alleging violations of the United States Constitution and state law. The plaintiffs' claims arise out of their loss of legal custody of their daughter, Eleonora, to the New Hampshire Department of Children, Youth and Families (" DCYF" ) in November 2009, followed by efforts by various law enforcement officials to secure physical custody of Eleanora and, ultimately, her placement at a privately run residential rehabilitation facility. This court has subject-matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § § 1331 (federal question) and 1367 (supplemental jurisdiction), except to the extent that the plaintiffs' claims seek review of final state-court judgments or other relief this court is not empowered to grant. See infra Part III.A.2-3.

The defendants have all moved either to dismiss the plaintiffs' amended complaint for failure to state a claim, see Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), or for judgment on the pleadings, see Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c). For the reasons explained in detail below, those motions are granted. The amended complaint characterizes all of the efforts to remove Eleonora from the plaintiffs' custody, and place her in state custody, as part of a conspiracy to ensure the state's receipt of federal monies on her behalf--or as retaliation for complaints the plaintiffs made several years earlier about their daughter's experiences in the Timberlane Regional School District. Those claims are not plausibly alleged, particularly against defendants (such as the many law enforcement officers and agencies named by this lawsuit) who had nothing to gain from the state's receipt of those monies or any reason to know or care of the plaintiffs' gripes against Timberlane. Insofar as the amended complaint plausibly states a retaliation claim against Timberlane (or its one employee who is named as a defendant), that claim is based on conduct that occurred outside of the limitations period.

The plaintiffs also claim violations of their rights to family integrity under the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and to be free from arrest and detention without probable cause under the Fourth Amendment. Insofar as the plaintiffs' substantive due process claims do not impermissibly seek review of the state courts' decisions awarding custody, and later guardianship, of Eleonora to DCYF, they are barred by qualified immunity, because no reasonable official in the position of any of the defendants involved in those proceedings would have believed he was violating the plaintiffs' constitutional rights, as opposed to pursuing the state's legitimate interest in protecting the health and welfare of its children. The plaintiffs also fail to state a substantive due process claim arising out of the allegedly excessive medication administered to Eleonora during her stay at the rehabilitation facility, because neither the facility nor her doctor there are state actors subject to constitutional restrictions.

Qualified immunity also bars the plaintiffs' claims arising out of their arrest and detention, because, to the limited extent any of the named defendants even participated in those deprivations, they were amply supported by probable cause that the plaintiffs had knowingly removed Eleonora from the state to interfere with the DCYF's right to custody of her, which is a felony under New Hampshire law. The plaintiffs' other claims against the law enforcement

Page 320

officers (e.g., for allegedly requesting Katz's detention without bail) also do not state a violation of any clearly established constitutional right and are therefore barred by qualified immunity as well.

As to the other claims set forth in the amended complaint: (1) many assert the rights of Eleonora, so the plaintiffs cannot bring those claims here without an attorney, which they have been unable to secure since their counsel was granted leave to withdraw; (2) others, including a claim that Boston Police officers made a warrantless entry into Stuart Grodman's apartment, are barred by the statute of limitations; and (3) still others, including state-law negligence and defamation claims, are pled wholly in conclusory terms (to the limited extent they do not rely on privileged statements and conduct). Accordingly, the amended complaint is dismissed in its entirety.

I. Applicable legal standard

To survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint must make factual allegations sufficient to " state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (quoting Bell A. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007)). In ruling on such a motion, the court must accept as true all well-pleaded facts set forth in the complaint and must draw all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor. See, e.g., Martino v. Forward Air, Inc., 609 F.3d 1, 2 (1st Cir. 2010). This indulgence does not extend, however, to " statements in the complaint that merely offer legal conclusions couched as fact or threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action," which are disregarded. Ocasio-Hernandez v. Fortuño-Burset, 640 F.3d 1, 12 (1st Cir. 2011) (quotation marks, bracketing, and ellipse omitted).

A court ruling on a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) may " consider not only the complaint but also facts extractable from documentation annexed to or incorporated by reference in the complaint and matters susceptible to judicial notice." Rederford v. U.S. Airways, Inc., 589 F.3d 30, 35 (1st Cir. 2009) (quotation marks omitted). This includes matters of public record, such as " documents from prior state court adjudications." Giragosian v. Ryan, 547 F.3d 59, 66 (1st Cir. 2008) (quotation marks omitted). Despite the plaintiffs' objection, then, the court can consider the records of their prior proceedings in ruling on the motions to dismiss. [2] See id. To the extent the plaintiffs' allegations of what happened in those proceedings are at odds with the records, moreover, the court is not required to accept the plaintiffs' version. See Rederford, 589 F.3d at 35 n.4 (noting that, even in ruling on motions to dismiss, " courts need not accept facts which have since been conclusively contradicted" ). [3]

Furthermore, as the defendants point out, at least some of the findings and rulings reached by the courts in those

Page 321

prior proceedings are binding on Katz or Grodman by virtue of the doctrine of collateral estoppel. " Under federal law, a state court judgment receives the same preclusive effect as it would receive under the law of the state in which it was rendered." Dillon v. Select Portfolio Servicing, 630 F.3d 75, 80 (1st Cir. 2011). The New Hampshire doctrine of collateral estoppel " bars a party to a prior action from relitigating any issue or fact actually litigated and determined in the prior action" so long as " (1) the issue subject to estoppel [is] identical in each action; (2) the first action [] resolved the issue finally on the merits; and (3) the party to be estopped [] appeared as a party in the first action." In re Michael E., 162 N.H. 520, 523-24, 34 A.3d 632 (2011).

At a minimum, then, the plaintiffs are collaterally estopped from relitigating the Family Division's decision granting DCYF guardianship over Eleonora until her eighteenth birthday. See infra Part II.A.5.b. As described in more detail below, that guardianship action (1) involved an issue identical to one of the many the plaintiffs have raised here, see infra Part III.C.1.b, i.e., whether awarding guardianship to DCYF was in Eleonora's best interests, see N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 463:8, III(a), (2) resolved that issue on the merits, and finally, see id. § 567-A:4 (" findings of fact of the judge of probate are final" ), [4] and (3) involved both of the plaintiffs here.

The defendants argue that other decisions against the plaintiffs, in both this court and the state courts, are also entitled to collateral estoppel effect here. This court need not, and does not, reach those arguments. As just discussed, however, this court has taken judicial notice of what happened in these other proceedings (e.g., whether a filing sought ex parte relief, or whether a warrant issued), notwithstanding the plaintiffs' contrary versions of some of those events.

II. Background[5]

A. Factual history

1. Plaintiffs' disputes with Timberlane

a. Plaintiffs' protests and Timberlane's alleged retaliation

After home-schooling Eleonora for a period, the plaintiffs enrolled her in the Timberlane Regional School District, a New Hampshire public school system, in November 2002. At that time, Eleonora was 12 years old and had been diagnosed with both juvenile diabetes and a non-verbal learning disability. By January 2003, Timberlane had put in place--with the plaintiffs' approval--an individualized education plan (" IEP" ) identifying her as a child with a disability, and providing for " numerous modifications to the regular educational curriculum," under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C. § 1400 et seq. Mr. G v. Timberlane Sch. Dist., 2007 DNH 002, 3-4, (rejecting plaintiffs' claims that, inter alia, this IEP violated the IDEA) (Barbadoro, J.),

Page 322

aff'd without opinion, No. 07-1279 (1st Cir. June 12, 2008).

The plaintiffs allege that, in April 2004, they " became frustrated with the unwillingness and/or inability of [Timberlane] to support [the] IEP, and organized a public demonstration protesting [Timberlane's] policies." The plaintiffs also " placed a small cardboard sign" on Elenora's backpack stating " slogans" expressing disapproval with her education. Katz filed complaints over Eleonora's treatment by Timberlane personnel with " various state agencies that oversee the conduct of [] Timberlane and its employees."

The plaintiffs allege that, in retaliation for these and other efforts on their part " to legally advocate for appropriate special education" for Eleonora, Timberlane officials, including defendant Edwina Lovett, " conspired to develop and implement a plan for keeping [the plaintiffs] on the defensive." The plaintiffs charge that this conspiracy--which also included defendant Brian McVeigh, a DCYF employee, and " other [Timberlane] officials whose identities are not yet known" --" decided to make reports of abuse and or neglect against [the plaintiffs] until [Eleonora] was in state custody." The plaintiffs further charge that Lovett " has been instrumental in making a steady stream of provably false allegations against [them] to ensure that [Eleonora] is kept in state custody so that [Timberlane] can continue receiving financial benefits." The plaintiffs allege that, prior to April 2006, Lovett made three complaints to DCYF that they were neglecting Eleonora, only to have DCYF determine that each was unfounded.

b. Order for placement at Brattleboro Retreat

In the meantime, the plaintiffs' disputes with Timberlane over Eleonora's education continued in this court, as well as at due process hearings before the New Hampshire Department of Education. Eventually, in March 2006, a hearing officer there found that, while attending a private educational program, Eleonora had " attempted to harm herself by pulling a charm off her charm bracelet and putting it in her mouth saying that she 'needed to choke on this tonight and die.'" In re Eleonora G., IDPH-FY-06-10-121 (N.H. Dep't Educ. Mar. 24, 2006), slip op. at 4. The hearing officer also found that Eleonora had been " experiencing psychotic symptoms," including " auditory and visual hallucinations, scattered thoughts, pressured speech, and difficulty staying on one topic," id. at 5, during the private educational placement, id. at 8.

Nevertheless, the hearing officer found, the plaintiffs had " never advised [Timberlane] that Eleonora had an active psychiatric disorder," id. at 11, and had " not granted their written consent to reevaluate her" for that or other potential handicaps so that Timberlane could revise her IEP, id. at 6. The plaintiffs also demonstrated an " apparent inability to manage Eleonora's diabetes" during the private educational placement, " consistently provid[ing] [her] with sweet foods" despite her doctor's contrary orders. Id. at 8. Her blood sugar levels over that period " were consistently in excess" of the " target range," often by a multiple of two or more. Id. at 7.

Accordingly, the hearing officer ruled, " [t]he unique circumstances posited in this case warrant Eleonora's placement in an interim educational alternative placement, such as the Brattleboro Retreat, for the purposes of conducting a comprehensive assessment." Id. at 14-15. In fact, the hearing officer directed the plaintiffs to " apply for their daughter's admission to the Brattleboro Retreat" within five business days, " and immediately admit her for assessment and treatment if and when approved."

Page 323

Id. at 17. The plaintiffs did not properly appeal this order. [6] Nevertheless, they complain here that having Eleonora " committed to an acute care psychiatric facility" went " against the advice of her treating physician" and was " illegal."

2. State court neglect and dispositional proceedings

a. Neglect proceedings

i. Family Division

In April 2006, DCYF filed a neglect petition against each of the plaintiffs in the then-Brentwood Family Division of the New Hampshire state courts. In re Grodman, Nos. 2006-118, 2006-110 (N.H. Family Div. Apr. 11, 2006). The petitions alleged, among other things, that, while Eleonora had not attended school since her suicide attempt in February 2006, the plaintiffs had not contacted Brattleboro Retreat as ordered by the hearing officer, nor had they enrolled Eleanora at " any similarly equipped facility or combination of facilities." The petitions further alleged that, absent judicial intervention, Eleonora's health would " remain at risk to suffer serious impairment due to her parents' ongoing refusal to follow medical/educational professionals' recommendations and orders."

Following a hearing, which the plaintiffs attended, the Family Division made a preliminary finding that both of the plaintiffs had neglected Eleonora, reasoning that her " health is very likely to suffer serious impairment due to [the plaintiffs'] lack of proper parental care or control." In re Grodman, Nos. 2006-118, 2006-110 (N.H. Family Div. Apr. 18, 2006). While the Family Court awarded legal supervision of Eleonora to DCYF, she was permitted to remain in the plaintiffs' physical custody, though they were ordered to " comply with all orders of the New Hampshire Department of Education," id., including, presumably, the order to apply for Eleonora's admission to the Brattleboro Retreat. The Family Court also joined Timberlane as a party for the purpose of " [p]roviding and paying for any educational needs." Id.

Around this time, the plaintiffs allege, defendant Lin Roy was appointed as Eleonora's guardian ad litem. The plaintiffs further allege that Eleonora " was forcibly removed from her home and placed in" the Brattleboro Retreat (though they do not say when or by whom), where she remained for 29 days. The plaintiffs allege that Eleonora was then placed at the Philbrook Center, a state residential facility, where she remained for 56 days.

Page 324

Eleonora was returned to the physical custody of her parents in October 2006, when, they allege, they began home-schooling her, having " waived all public school services." The plaintiffs allege that, after they did so, unspecified " defendants continued to smear [the plaintiffs], calling them mentally ill, obstructionist and hostile, among other things." The plaintiffs further allege that, even though " they clearly expressed to DCYF . . . that [they] did not want to have any personal contact with defendant Brian McVeigh" as early as January 2006, he " continued to contact [them] at the Grodman home, including monthly visits," through November 2007.

ii. Superior Court

In the meantime, Katz appealed the Family Court's finding of neglect against her to the Rockingham County Superior Court, which conducted a de novo hearing beginning on a day in May 2007 and concluding over three days in August 2007. See In re Grodman, No. 06-J-011 (N.H. S.Ct. Sept. 13, 2007). Katz attended and called at least one witness. After the hearing, the Superior Court concluded that " from January, 2006 through April 2006, the [plaintiffs] neglected Eleonora both educationally and with respect to proper diabetes management." Id. at 1.

The Superior Court found, among other things, that the plaintiffs " consistently mismanaged their daughter's diabetes such that many blood glucose levels were dangerously high . . . . Instead of working with the providers to manage Eleonora's diabetes, the [plaintiffs] regularly requested documentation and letters from the providers for use in litigation." Id. at 4. The Superior Court found that the plaintiffs " appear more interested in litigation and avoiding personal accountability for their child's care than they are about appropriately acting in their child's best interests." Id. at 5. The Superior Court also found that, " [r]egardless of whether, in hindsight, it was ultimately appropriate to enroll Eleonora in Brattleboro Retreat, . . . the [plaintiffs], during the time period in question, refused to work collaboratively with [Timberlane] in addressing Eleonora's serious psychiatric needs." Id. at 3-4.

b. Dispositional proceedings

After entering the neglect finding, the Superior Court held a dispositional hearing on November 30, 2007. [7] In re Grodman, No. 06-J-011 (N.H. S.Ct. November 30, 2007). Both the plaintiffs, as well as a guardian ad litem representing Eleonora, Gary Paradis, attended the hearing.

At the conclusion of the hearing, the Superior Court awarded DCYF legal custody of Eleonora, who was " to be placed in an out-of-home placement" at Crotched Mountain, a privately run residential school and rehabilitation facility, " for education [and] evaluations for current medical and pyschiatric/ psychological needs." The Superior Court found that keeping Eleonora in the plaintiffs' home was contrary to her welfare because " [a]t this time, DCYF is not privy to Eleonora's medical and psychiatric treatment and her

Page 325

progress, and holds no information about [her] homeschooling," since the plaintiffs had " refused to discuss Eleonora's progress or needs" with DCYF.

While the Superior Court granted the plaintiffs visitation rights, it required that " [a]ll visits between the [plaintiffs] and Eleonora while [she] is attending Crotched Mountain School shall take place off campus and shall be supervised by a parent aide." The order further prohibited the plaintiffs from providing Eleonora with food or drink during their visits, or recording them. The plaintiffs allege that these restrictions came about through the concerted efforts of Timberlane personnel and Crotched Mountain's chief executive, defendant Don Shumway. They also allege that " [t]hese restrictions later prevented any contact between [Eleonora] and [Katz] for a period of two and a half years," but the Superior Court's dispositional order nowhere contains such a restriction: again, it granted visitation rights to both Katz and Grodman.

The Superior Court further ordered that " DCYF shall have direct access to all of Eleonora's medical, educational, psychological and behavioral providers, including access to all [their] records," specifying that the plaintiffs " shall sign all necessary releases. Their failure to do so may result in a finding of contempt of Court."

In explaining its decision, the Superior Court relied on Katz's " obvious inappropriate behavior in dealing with all authorities and treatment providers" and her " refusal to provide information about Eleonora's treatment and educational status," which had " rendered any award of legal oversight to [DCYF], short of full legal custody, completely ineffectual." The Superior Court also reasoned that, " [i]n light of the severity of Eleonora's diabetes, her need for psychiatric and educational services, and in light of [Katz's] refusal to address her own mental health needs," there was " little choice but to" grant DCYF's request for legal custody of Eleonora and her placement at Crotched Mountain.

c. Supreme Court

The plaintiffs appealed the Superior Court's dispositional order, as well as the underlying finding of neglect, to the New Hampshire Supreme Court, which " affirm[ed] the orders as they apply to Katz, and vacate[d] and remand[ed] as they apply to Grodman." In re Eleonora G., No. 2007-0924 (N.H. July 8, 2009) (unpublished disposition). The Supreme Court upheld the Superior Court's finding that " Katz's actions and/or inactions caused [Eleonora's] diabetes to be poorly managed and that serious consequences to her health were likely to occur." Id. at 2. But the Supreme Court agreed with Grodman that the Superior Court had erred in " failing to treat him as party" because it had mistakenly never docketed his appeal of the Family Division's neglect finding. Id. at 3. So the Supreme Court vacated the finding of neglect against Grodman and remanded to the Superior Court for further proceedings, id., which, so far as the record before this court indicates, never took place.

3. State-court contempt and enforcement proceedings

In early January 2008, DCYF filed a motion with the Superior Court stating that the plaintiffs' behavior since the issuance of the dispositional order had made " clear that [they] are aware of [it], but are electing to refuse to comply," and, as a result, asked the Superior Court to hold them in contempt. The Superior Court refused to grant that relief ex parte, but ordered the plaintiffs to appear at a hearing on the motion.

Page 326

When that hearing took place, however, the plaintiffs' " attorney appeared, but [they] failed to appear" personally. In re Grodman, No. 06-J-011 (N.H. S.Ct. Mar. 26, 2008). Immediately prior to the hearing, the plaintiffs, through their counsel, filed a motion with the Superior Court seeking to vacate its dispositional order and to " dismiss" the motion for contempt. The motion stated, among other things, that the plaintiffs had " removed [Eleonora] from the State of New Hampshire because they fear that [she] is in mortal danger if she is again in the custody of the State."

At the hearing, the Superior Court found the plaintiffs in contempt of the dispositional order. Id. More than 30 days later, DCYF filed a motion with the Superior Court requesting the issuance of bench warrants for the plaintiffs, stating that, " neither [plaintiff], directly or through their attorney of record, has surrendered their child to custody of [DCYF], nor given any indication even of where they or their child is." The Superior Court granted the motion on April 30, 2008.

4. Plaintiffs' apprehension and subsequent criminal proceedings

a. Search and traffic stop

The plaintiffs allege that in the meantime, on January 16, 2008, McVeigh (a DCYF employee) " organized and then participated in [a] warrantless entry and search" of Stuart Grodman's apartment in Boston, Massachusetts, with three Boston police officers named as defendants here. After McVeigh and the officers unsuccessfully attempted to contact the manager of the building, a " maintenance man assisted the officers inside of the apartment," which " only had limited furniture inside of it and was nearly empty."

The plaintiffs also allege that, a week or so after the Superior Court's issuance of the bench warrants, defendant Wade Parsons, chief of the Danville Police Department, " issued a BOLO ('Be On the Lookout for')" to police in Haverhill, Massachusetts, requesting the plaintiffs' arrest, and Eleonora's detention. In response, the Haverhill Police Department stopped the plaintiffs while they were driving in their car. But they were not taken into custody, because, they say, " Parsons determined that he could not arrest [them] in Massachusetts" on bench warrants issued by a New Hampshire court.

b. Plaintiffs' arrests and detention

The plaintiffs further allege that, on May 30, 2008, Parsons and defendant James Nye, an officer with the Rockingham County Sheriff's Department, " prepared, but failed to file criminal complaints in the Plaistow District Court" charging the plaintiffs with interference with custody. See N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 633:4. Instead, according to that court's records, Parsons filed an application for arrest warrants for the plaintiffs based on that offense, and the warrants issued, on May 30, 2008. Among other things, Parsons's warrant application quoted the statement by the plaintiffs' attorney in their filing during the Superior Court proceedings that the plaintiffs had " removed [Eleonora] from the State of New Hampshire because they fear that [she] is in mortal danger if she is again in the custody of the State."

Following the issuance of the warrants, Katz was arrested in Boston, Massachusetts, on June 5, 2008. The plaintiffs allege that Nye attended Katz's arraignment and " inappropriately spoke to" her defense attorney, saying that " all of [Katz's] addresses come back to U.P.S. stores so [Nye] knew that everything [Katz] was telling [counsel] was lies." Katz was denied bail.

Page 327

The plaintiffs further allege that, after the hearing, Nye contacted both the Social Security Administration, " ensur[ing] that the [plaintiffs'] Social Security retirement payments were stopped," and the Bureau of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, " causing [it] to place an immigration hold on [Katz] without bail." The plaintiffs say that Nye and defendant Cathy Champion, another employee of the Rockingham County Sheriff's Department, " represented to third parties that there were federal proceedings pending against Katz in federal immigration court" (as the plaintiffs themselves allege, there was an " immigration hold" on Katz at that point).

Katz refused to waive extradition to New Hampshire, so, the plaintiffs allege, Nye and Parsons prepared a " governor's warrant" to secure her return to this state. The plaintiffs allege that this warrant attached copies of the bench warrants issued by the Superior Court on April 30, 2008, referring to them as " criminal warrants" when in fact " there were no criminal charges brought against the [plaintiffs] until after [Katz's] extradition." Again, however, the Plaistow District Court had issued warrants for the plaintiffs' arrest for interference with custody on May 30, 2008.

Katz was eventually extradited to New Hampshire. But the plaintiffs allege that, until then, Katz spent approximately 90 days in jail " without bail on the request of" Nye, Champion, and other as-yet unidentified parties. The plaintiffs further allege that, following Katz's extradition, she was jailed in New Hampshire for approximately 40 days, including 5 days in " solitary confinement." The plaintiffs say that Nye and other as-yet unidentified defendants " requested a no contact order" prohibiting Katz from contacting Grodman " so [she] could not obtain copies of the necessary documents to prove her citizenship." In fact, the plaintiffs allege, Nye and other unnamed parties " refused to believe, despite documentary evidence to the contrary, that [Katz] was a naturalized [United States] citizen," subjecting her to a " false immigration detainer" which kept her in custody " even after [she] was granted bail." Based on her entry of a guilty plea, Katz was convicted on a charge of interference with custody in Rockingham County Superior Court on May 24, 2010.

Grodman, for his part, was arrested on July 9, 2008, and spent three days in jail. He was convicted on a charge of criminal contempt in Rockingham County Superior Court on June 27, 2012, though his appeal of that ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.