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Katz v. McVeigh

United States District Court, D. New Hampshire

November 12, 2015

Elena Katz, individually and as parent, next friend, and co-guardian of Eleonora Grodman
v.
Brian McVeigh; et al. Opinion No. 2015 DNH 210

Elena Katz, pro se Corey S. Belobrow, Esq. Brian J.S. Cullen, Esq. Samantha Dowd Elliott, Esq. Paul B. Kleinman, Esq. Sabin R. Maxwell, Esq. Adams B. Pignatelli, Esq. Michael A. Pignatelli, Esq. Kenneth A. Sansone, Esq. Donald L. Smith, Esq. Nancy J. Smith, Esq.

ORDER

Landya McCafferty United States District Judge

In a case that has been removed from the Hillsborough County Superior Court (“HCSC”), pro se plaintiff Elena Katz is suing 29 named defendants in 32 counts, generally asserting claims arising

out of [her] loss of legal custody of [her] daughter, Eleonora [Grodman], to the New Hampshire [Division for] 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.

Katz v. McVeigh, 931 F.Supp.2d 311, 319 (D.N.H. 2013).

Before the court are six motions to dismiss, filed by 19 of the 29 named defendants. Katz objects. For the reasons that follow, defendants’ motions to dismiss are granted, and Katz’s claims against the 10 remaining defendants are dismissed sua sponte.

I. The Legal Standard

Under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the court must accept the factual allegations in Katz’s complaint as true, construe reasonable inferences in her favor, and “determine whether the factual allegations in the plaintiff’s complaint set forth a plausible claim upon which relief may be granted.” Foley v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., 772 F.3d 63, 71 (1st Cir. 2014) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted).

II. Background

This case was initiated in the HCSC by a pleading bearing the caption “Plaintiffs’ Verified Amended Complaint.” Notice of Removal, Ex. A (doc. no. 1-1), at 5 of 86. The complaint begins with this sentence: “This is the re-filing of the complaint original[ly] filed in [the] United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire, Docket No. 1:10-cv-00410-JL, in this State court.” Id. Katz makes the same point in her memorandum of law in opposition to the motions to dismiss:

This action commenced . . . with the filing of the initial Civil Rights complaint in this District Court.
The filing of this lawsuit in State Court on March 2015 was a continuation of the same action in a state venue, arising from the same nexus of facts and unexhausted claims.

Pl.’s Mem. of Law (doc. no. 25) 22 (emphasis added).

True to Katz’s characterization of it, the complaint in this case is all but identical to the operative complaint in 10-cv-410-JL. The only real differences between the two complaints involve the named parties. The previous case was brought by Katz, Arnold Grodman, and Stuart Grodman, while this case has been brought by Katz alone, in both her individual capacity and her capacity as parent, next friend, and co-guardian of her daughter Eleonora. In addition, this case includes five named defendants who were not defendants in the previous case: Rockingham County, the Warden of the Rockingham County Department ...


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