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Brewer v. Sproat

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Springfield Division

June 16, 2017

CORALIE BREWER, Plaintiff,
v.
JOSHUA SPROAT, BONNIE LANDWEHR, KIM ALLEN, and SCOTT LONGANECKER, Defendants.

          ORDER

          SUE E. MYERSCOUGH, U.S. District Judge.

         This cause is before the Court on the Motion for Summary Judgment (d/e 84) filed by Defendants Bonnie Landwehr and Kim Allen. Because Plaintiff's claims are barred by the statute of limitations, the Motion is GRANTED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On December 1, 2015, Plaintiff Coralie Brewer filed a pro se Complaint. On December 16, 2015, Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint seeking compensatory damages of $10 million, punitive damages, and such injunctive, declaratory, or other relief as may be appropriate.

         As is relevant to the Motion for Summary Judgment, Plaintiff alleged that Defendant Landwehr, an investigator with the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), removed Plaintiff's children from Plaintiff's care without a warrant or consent and lied under oath. Plaintiff alleged that Defendant Allen, a DCFS investigator, made false accusations that one of Plaintiff's children was sexually abused and that Plaintiff abused her children. Plaintiff also alleges that Allen badgered Plaintiff's children by making them lie.

         After a merit review, this Court found that Plaintiff stated a familial relations substantive due process claim against Defendant Landwehr and Defendant Allen and a procedural due process claim against Defendant Landwehr all pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In July 2016, United States Magistrate Judge Tom Schanzle-Haskins appointed counsel to represent Plaintiff.

         In April 2017, Defendants Landwehr and Allen filed their Motion for Summary Judgment. Defendants assert that they are entitled to summary judgment because Plaintiff's claims are barred by the statute of limitations and the Rooker-Feldman doctrine. See Rooker v. Fidelity Trust Co., 263 U.S. 413 (1923) and District of Columbia Court of Appeals v. Feldman, 460 U.S. 462 (1983) (holding that the United States Supreme Court is the only federal court that may review judgments entered by state courts in civil litigation). In the alternative, Defendants assert they are entitled to qualified immunity.

         II. FACTS

         The following facts are taken from Defendants' Statement of Undisputed Facts.

         Plaintiff is a resident of Litchfield, Illinois in Montgomery County. Plaintiff gave birth to four children-E.F., S.F., J.F., and H.F. In 2013, the Montgomery County State's Attorney initiated juvenile abuse and neglect cases for each of Plaintiff's four children.

         On October 30, 2013, DCFS received a report of abuse or neglect involving Plaintiff and her children, E.F., S.F., J.F., and H.F. It was reported that Plaintiff had allowed her paramour, Scott Stewart, to have contact with her children in violation of a no-contact order by the Montgomery County Circuit Court.

         Defendants assert, but Plaintiff denies, that the children, Plaintiff, and Plaintiff's mother all confirmed that Stewart had been in the home. Plaintiff also denies that E.F. indicated that Stewart hit the children and called them names and that J.F. alleged that Stewart “hit him all over.”

         The Montgomery County State's Attorney and DCFS personnel determined that DCFS should take protective custody of the children and the State's Attorney would begin shelter-care proceedings. On October 31, 2013, DCFS took protective custody of each of the children. Defendant Landwehr picked up S.F. and E.F. from school and J.F. and H.F. from daycare. Defendant Landwehr and the children went to McDonalds to eat and then to the Litchfield Family Practice for Healthworks. Thereafter, H.F. was dropped off with a relative in Greenville, J.F. was taken to a licensed foster home in Brighton, and S.F. and E.F. were delivered to a maternal uncle's home in Brighton. Defendant Allen was not present and did not participate in taking protective custody of the children.[1]

         On November 1, 2013, the Montgomery County State's Attorney filed an application for shelter care for each of Plaintiff's four children. That same day, the judge presiding over the juvenile cases entered Orders of Temporary Custody for each of the four minor children and granted custody to DCFS with authority to place. In its Orders, the Court found probable cause existed ...


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