United States District Court, D. Nebraska
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
M. Gerrard, United States District Judge.
matter is before the Court on Project Harmony's motion to
dismiss (filing 359), challenging the Court's
subject-matter jurisdiction pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(1). See filing 360 at 3. The Court will grant that
motion in part and deny it in part.
plaintiff, Catherine Yang Wang Anderson (Wang Anderson) is
the mother of two girls, X.C.W. and Y.C.W. Filing 154 at 2.
Wang Anderson's husband, Bo Wang (Wang) is their father.
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. Project
Harmony is a nonprofit corporation allegedly involved in
investigating accusations that X.C.W. and Y.C.W. had been
neglected or abused by their parents. Filing 154 at 7, 43.
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. According to
Wang Anderson, Y.C.W. had an "inappropriate"
personal relationship with a teacher at her high school
because Y.C.W. was permitted and encouraged to confide in him
about personal problems. Filing 154 at 24-28. According to
the teacher, Y.C.W. told him she had sexual identity issues.
Filing 154 at 35. Wang Anderson blames Y.C.W.'s
friendship with her teacher for a "breakdown" in
her own relationship with Y.C.W., who reported to school
officials on October 8, 2013 that Wang Anderson had
threatened her. Filing 154 at 28.
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. One
of the sheriff's deputies observed that when Wang
Anderson answered the door, she was wearing a rubber glove,
and suspected that Wang Anderson might be mentally ill.
Filing 154 at 29-31. Investigators from the Nebraska
Department of Health and Human Services (NDHHS) 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
NDHHS. 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.
Anderson alleges that Suzanne Haney, M.D. "was employed
by Douglas County and/or Project Harmony as a
physician," Lisa Johnson "was employed by NDHHS,
Douglas County, and/or Project Harmony as a nurse
practitioner," and Jennifer White "was employed by
NDHHS and/or Project Harmony, as a social worker."
Filing 154 at 8. According to Wang Anderson, Haney and
Johnson failed to properly examine the girls, and didn't
properly address the girls' health needs. Filing 154 at
43. And as far as the Court can tell, Project Harmony's
connection to the girls ended there.
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 123-24.
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 and Wang Anderson 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
as to Project Harmony, Wang Anderson asserts:
• Policy-or-custom § 1983 claims (filing
154 at 126);
• State-law negligence claims (filing 154 at 130, 135);
• A § 1983 claim based on violation of the
"substantive due process rights to family integrity and
the parent-child relationship" ...