United States District Court, D. Nebraska
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
M. Gerrard United States District Judge.
matter is before the Court on the motion to dismiss
(filing 247) filed by the Millard Public Schools and
Matthew Heys, Gregory Tiemann, and Susan Hancock
(collectively, the Millard Defendants). The Court will grant
their motion in its entirety.
plaintiff, Catherine Yang Wang Anderson (Wang Anderson) is
the mother of two girls, X.C.W. and Y.C.W. Filing 154 at
2. X.C.W. was a minor when this case was filed, and Wang
Anderson sued both in her own capacity and as "next
friend" of X.C.W. Filing 154 at 2. Millard
Public Schools (MPS) is the public school district where
X.C.W. was attending school-specifically, Millard West High
School-when the events giving rise to this litigation began.
Filing 154 at 11-12, 23. Heys taught U.S. History at
Millard West. Filing 154 at 11, 24. Hancock was a
counselor at Millard West, and Tiemann was the school
principal. Filing 154 at 11.
generally, Wang Anderson alleges that X.C.W. was unlawfully
made a ward of the State of Nebraska and held by the State
against her will. Filing 154 at 2. But it was Y.C.W.
who first drew the attention of authorities.
to Wang Anderson, Y.C.W. had an "inappropriate"
personal relationship with Heys, her history teacher, because
Y.C.W. was permitted and encouraged to confide in him about
personal problems. Filing 154 at 24-28. Y.C.W. told
Heys she had sexual identity issues. Filing 154 at
35. Heys never attempted to communicate with Wang
Anderson about Y.C.W.'s problems. Filing 154 at
35. Heys later explained that he did not believe Wang
Anderson would understand, and that she "would be very
angry and would hurt [Y.C.W.] if she found out."
Filing 154 at 36.
Anderson alleges that Y.C.W. communicated confidentially with
Heys beginning in August or September 2013, by email and text
message, despite the fact that Y.C.W. was no longer in his
history class. Filing 154 at 26. Heys did not report
this communication to anyone until October, when he told a
school counselor after Wang Anderson found out about it.
Filing 154 at 27. And according to Wang Anderson,
Tiemann and Hancock knew about Y.C.W.'s communication
with Heys and failed to stop it, despite being asked to do so
by Wang Anderson. Filing 154 at 27. Wang Anderson
also alleges that MPS has "policies, practices, customs
or usages . . . which essentially allowed teachers to act as
counselors or confidants for students, in violation of the
rights of parents . . . to direct the education and moral
development of their children." Filing 154 at
28. Wang Anderson blames Y.C.W.'s friendship with
Heys for a "breakdown" in her own relationship with
Y.C.W. Filing 154 at 28.
Wang Anderson drove Y.C.W. to school on October 8, 2013, she
went directly to Heys, who took her to Hancock to report that
Wang Anderson had threatened her. Filing 154 at 28.
The Sarpy County deputy sheriff assigned to Millard West as
the school resource officer spoke to her shortly thereafter.
Filing 154 at 28. Officers went to Wang
Anderson's home, where they told her about Y.C.W.'s
allegations. Filing 154 at 30. Wang Anderson denied
them, and law enforcement asked her to go to Millard West to
meet to a counselor about them, which she did. Filing 154
meeting at Millard West included Wang Anderson, Hancock, and
the resource officer, who said that Y.C.W. had made a number
of reports, including that Wang Anderson had threatened to
shoot her. Filing 154 at 30. Wang Anderson denied
those reports. Filing 154 at 30. Wang Anderson
explained her own concerns about the friendship between
Y.C.W. and Heys, but according to Wang Anderson, Hancock
disregarded them. Filing 154 at 30. Based on
Y.C.W.'s report that she didn't feel safe going home,
sheriff's officers removed Y.C.W. from Wang
Anderson's residence and took her to Project Harmony for
a temporary foster placement. Filing 154 at 33.
the sheriff's deputies who made initial contact with Wang
Anderson observed that when she answered the door, she was
wearing a rubber glove, and he suspected that she might be
mentally ill. Filing 154 at 29-31. Investigators
from the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services
(DHHS) went to Wang Anderson's residence that evening,
and reported hazardous conditions. Filing 154 at 35.
So, after X.C.W. went to school the next day, she was also
placed in the temporary custody of DHHS. Filing 154 at
36. X.C.W. and Y.C.W. were placed with the same foster
parent, and both girls were evaluated at Project Harmony.
Filing 154 at 34, 37, 43.
juvenile proceeding was initiated in the Separate Juvenile
Court of Douglas County, Nebraska. Filing 154 at 44.
The petition alleged-Wang Anderson says wrongly-that X.C.W.
and Y.C.W. had been subjected to inappropriate discipline,
not provided with safe housing, deprived of proper parental
care and support, and that Wang Anderson had been seen acting
in a manner consistent with untreated mental health needs.
Filing 154 at 44-45. An ex parte juvenile court
order placed the girls in the temporary custody of DHHS, then
after a hearing, the juvenile court continued DHHS's
temporary custody. Filing 154 at 45-46.
girls were eventually adjudicated as being juveniles within
the meaning of Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43-247(3).
Filing 154 at 81. Both spent several months in
foster care and mental health treatment. See
filing 154 at 60-116. In May 2016, the juvenile
court changed the permanency objective for X.C.W. to
independent living. Filing 154 at 121. She moved to
another foster home, then to an "independent living
arrangement," then to a dormitory at the University of
Nebraska-Lincoln. Filing 154 at 121. But in December
2016, she was returned to foster placement, where she
remained when this complaint was filed. Filing 154 at
Anderson asserts several federal and state-law claims against
sixty-nine different defendants, on behalf of herself and
X.C.W. Filing 154 at 1-2. She claims a number of
federal constitutional violations, including violation of
their rights to due process and familial association,
unlawful seizure, a deliberately indifferent failure to
protect, retaliation for constitutionally protected activity,
violation of Wang Anderson's First Amendment rights, and
discrimination against Wang Anderson and her husband because
of their Chinese origin. Filing 154 at 124-30,
137-47. She also claims X.C.W. wasn't provided with
accommodations required by § 504 of the Rehabilitation
Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 794. Filing 154 at
147-48. And, she says, she and X.C.W. were denied
statutory rights arising under 42 U.S.C. §§ 621
et seq. & 670 et seq. Filing 154 at 150-57.
Finally, she asserts state-law claims including negligence,
negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress,
and a civil rights claim pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat.
§ 20-148. Filing 154 at 131-37, 148-50.
as to these defendants, Wang Anderson asserts:
§ 1983 claim premised on unlawful seizure of X.C.W. in
violation of the Fourth Amendment, against Heys, Hancock,
Tiemann (filing 154 at 124);
Policy-or-custom claims (Monell claims) against MPS
(filing 154 at 126);
State-law negligence claims against all defendants
(filing 154 at 130:
§ 1983 claim based on violation of the "substantive
due process rights to family integrity and the parent-child
relationship" against all "Individual
Defendants" (filing 154 at 137);
§ 1983 claim based on deliberate indifference to
X.C.W.'s serious health and safety needs against all