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C.H. v. Grossman

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

July 28, 2015

C.H. and CH.H., by their parents and next friends PHOEBE ROBERSON and CHRISTOPHER HOPKINS, PHOEBE ROBERSON, and T'ERA HOPKINS, Plaintiffs,


JORGE ALONSO, District Judge.

Plaintiffs allege that defendants conspired to violate and violated their Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights, maliciously prosecuted them, and intentionally inflicted emotional distress on them. Defendants Glick, University of Chicago, Debra Robinson, and DCFS[1] have filed Federal Rule of Civil Procedure ("Rule") 12(b)(6) motions to dismiss the complaint. For the reasons set forth below, the Court grants the motions.


Plaintiff Phoebe Roberson is the mother of plaintiffs T'era Hopkins, C.H., and Ch.H. (Compl. ¶ 13.) On September 25, 2013, Roberson took C.H., to the doctor because C.H. had been "crying or fussing' more than usual." ( Id. ¶ 16.) The doctor said C.H. had an allergy. ( Id. ¶ 17.)

Thereafter, however, C.H. became irritable when Roberson tried "to teach C.H. how to hold her own bottle, " so Roberson made another appointment with the doctor for mid-October. ( Id. ¶ 18.) On October 4, 2013, when Roberson lifted C.H.'s arm, C.H. "cried out uncontrollably, " so Roberson took C.H. to St. James Hospital. ( Id. ¶ 19.) The staff at St. James hospital diagnosed C.H. with multiple arm fractures and reported the injuries to defendant DCFS [Illinois Department of Children and Family Services]. ( Id. ¶¶ 20-21.) Defendant Robinson was the DCFS investigator assigned to C.H.'s case. ( Id. ¶ 21.)

Before "any investigation or finding of wrongdoing on the part of Plaintiffs, " DCFS implemented a safety plan, which included removing C.H. and Ch.H. from Roberson's home and putting them in the custody of her sister. ( Id. ¶ 23.)

Defendant Glick, "as a liaison for defendant the University of Chicago Medical Center" and "in her capacity as a doctor with the Multidisciplinary Pediatric Education and Evaluation Consortium (MPEEC') rendered an opinion concerning the status of C.H." ( Id. ¶¶ 25-26.) Plaintiff does not allege what the MPEEC is, how the MPEEC and Glick became involved in C.H.'s case, or what opinion Glick rendered about C.H. However, it is reasonable to infer that Glick concluded C.H.'s fractures were the result of abuse. ( See id. ¶ 31.)

Subsequently, a pediatric orthopedist, Dr. Sullivan, who became involved in the case in an unspecified manner, opined that C.H.'s injuries were likely accidental, not the result of abuse. ( Id. ¶¶ 33-34.)

Defendant Grossman began an investigation and learned that, around the time of C.H.'s injuries: (1) at least six people lived in Roberson's home; (2) C.H. attended a daycare center; (3) pictures had been taken of C.H. smiling, with her arms in the air; and (4) Roberson had taken C.H. to the pediatrician, who did not diagnose the fractures. ( Id. ¶¶ 36, 39-42.) When Grossman visited Roberson's home, he said he believed one of "the kids'" abused C.H. ( Id. ¶ 43.) At that point, Roberson told Grossman to stay away from her children, and he told her "she would regret it." ( Id. ¶ 45.)

On a subsequent occasion, Grossman and his partner returned to plaintiffs' home to talk to Roberson, who "did not want to talk about any accusations of criminality aimed at her and her family." ( Id. ¶ 46.) Grossman and his partner responded, "Since you don't want to talk you are going to jail, " and arrested Roberson and T'era Hopkins for child endangerment. ( Id. ¶¶ 46-47.) Grossman told "DCFS that [Roberson] was being uncooperative to punish her by persuading DCFS to remove her kids." ( Id. ¶ 52.) Thereafter, DCFS removed the children from Roberson's home and placed them in protective custody, which is where they remain today. ( Id. ¶¶ 53, 65.)

DCFS' investigation into this incident resulted in an "indicated" finding against Roberson, meaning that credible evidence of abuse was found. ( Id. ¶ 61.)


On a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the Court accepts as true all well-pleaded factual allegations of the complaint, drawing all reasonable inferences in plaintiff's favor. Hecker v. Deere & Co., 556 F.3d 575, 580 (7th Cir. 2009). "[A] complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations" but must contain "enough facts to state a claim ...

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