Behr has named the following judges, district attorneys, and law enforcement officials as defendants in this action in their individual and official capacities: Judge William T. Nicholas, President Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, Montgomery County; and Judge Allan L. Tereshko, Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia County; Ernest Preate, former Attorney General of Pennsylvania; Marylou Barton, former deputy Attorney General of Pennsylvania; Michael Marino, district attorney of Montgomery County; Karen DeGenaro, former assistant district attorney of Montgomery County; Cindy Martelli, assistant district attorney of Philadelphia County; Edward Lehman, probation officer for Philadelphia County; and Raymond Bechtle, a detective in the Lower Pottsgrove Township police department.
Behr has also named the following officials in the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare and in the Montgomery County Office of Children and Youth and the Philadelphia Department of Human Services as defendants in this action, again in their individual and official capacities: Karen Snider, Secretary of Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare; George Taylor, Director for the Pennsylvania Department of Children and Youth; Anne Shenberger, Director for the Eastern Regional Office of the Pennsylvania Department of Children and Youth; and Joylette Branson, caseworker for the Eastern Regional Office of the Pennsylvania Department of Children and Youth; Walter Junewicz, Director of the Montgomery County OCY; Joanne Ferillo Cianiulli, caseworker for Montgomery County OCY; Claire Sturgeon, caseworker for Montgomery County OCY; Maxine Tucker, Commissioner of the Philadelphia Department of Human Services; and Helena Dow, supervisor for Philadelphia County Department of Human Services.
Behr has also named the following medical personnel who prepared reports on the abuse or otherwise participated in the investigations and court proceedings as defendants in this action: Mark Greenberg and Peter Syre, psychologists; Alan DeJong, a physician; and Jacqueline Zavodnick, a psychiatrist. Behr has also sued Susan P. Gantman, the court-appointed guardian ad litem for the Behr children; Patricia Franklin, the mother of the Behr children; and Courtney Franklin, the children's stepfather. Finally, Behr has listed 15 "John Doe" defendants.
Behr alleges numerous communications between himself, his relatives, and the defendants. He states that numerous defendants have taken various actions ranging from ignoring his letters to making various statements suggesting bias and a refusal to take his allegations seriously. He alleges that numerous defendants are unqualified to assess child abuse, or are motivated by financial reward or other improper reason.
Based on the factual allegations in his complaint, Behr contends that the defendants have deprived the Behr children of due process and equal protection rights guaranteed under the United States Constitution, as well as other rights purportedly created by numerous federal and state statutes related to child abuse. Behr asserts that the Court has jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 over his claims made pursuant 42 U.S.C. § 1983, 42 U.S.C. § 1985, and other federal statutes, and has supplemental jurisdiction over his state law claims.
The forms of relief requested by Behr in his complaint include declaratory judgments that the defendants' actions and inactions violated the rights of Behr and his children, and orders that the children be placed in the custody of the state for thorough examinations. In the alternative, Behr's complaint requests that the children be placed in certain hospitals for complete examinations, as well as additional orders related to changes in visitation rights for Behr and his family, appointment of a guardian for the children, and new investigations of the alleged abuse by individuals other than the defendants. In addition, Behr seeks compensatory damages of $ 2,000,000 and punitive damages in the amount of $ 10,000,000. Behr seeks similar forms of injunctive relief in his motions for a preliminary injunction, writ of habeas corpus, and "emergency restraining order," which recount factual allegations summarized above.
The twenty-five defendants in this action, either as individuals or in small groups based on the identity of their employer, have each filed or joined in motions to dismiss the complaint on a variety of grounds, and Behr has responded to these motions. Several of the defendants raise objections to the jurisdiction of the Court on the ground that the Court is without subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to the Rooker-Feldman doctrine. Several defendants assert Behr has failed to state a federal claim upon which relief can be granted based on variety of grounds, including absolute or qualified immunity, statute of limitations, and Behr's failure to satisfy various elements of a § 1983 or 1985 action. In addition, several defendants contend that there is no violation of constitutional rights in light of DeShaney v. Winnebago County Department of Social Services, 489 U.S. 189, 109 S. Ct. 998, 103 L. Ed. 2d 249 (1989), and that he has no standing to bring suit on behalf of his minor children. Defendants also argue that the Court should not exercise supplemental jurisdiction over Behr's state law claims, and that statutory immunities and exhaustion principles related to these state law claims are applicable. Defendants also oppose any preliminary injunctive relief.
When reviewing a motion to dismiss, the Court must accept as true all factual allegations contained in the complaint as well as all reasonable inferences that may be drawn from those allegations and view them in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. H.J., Inc. v. Northwestern Bell Tel. Co., 492 U.S. 229, 249, 109 S. Ct. 2893, 2906, 106 L. Ed. 2d 195 (1989); Rocks v. City of Philadelphia, 868 F.2d 644, 645 (3d Cir. 1989); Zlotnick v. TIE Communications, 836 F.2d 818, 819 (3d Cir. 1988). The motion should be denied "unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claims which would entitle him to relief." Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46, 78 S. Ct. 99, 102, 2 L. Ed. 2d 80 (1957).
Under the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, "federal district courts lack subject matter jurisdiction to review final adjudications of a state's highest court or to evaluate constitutional claims that are inextricably intertwined with the state court's decision in a judicial proceeding." Guarino v. Larsen, 11 F.3d 1151, 1156 (3d Cir. 1991) (internal quotation omitted); see District of Columbia Court of Appeals v. Feldman, 460 U.S. 462, 103 S. Ct. 1303, 75 L. Ed. 2d 206 (1983); Rooker v. Fidelity Trust Co., 263 U.S. 413, 44 S. Ct. 149, 68 L. Ed. 362 (1923). In Centifanti v. Nix, 865 F.2d 1422 (3d Cir. 1989), the Third Circuit quoted Justice Marshall in Pennzoil v. Texaco, Inc., 481 U.S. 1, 107 S. Ct. 1519, 95 L. Ed. 2d 1 (1987) for guidance in determining when a constitutional claim is "inextricably intertwined" with the particular decision of a state court:
While the question of whether a federal constitutional challenge is inextricably intertwined with the merits of a state court judgment may sometimes be difficult to answer, it is apparent, as a first step, that the federal claim is inextricably intertwined with the state court judgment if the federal claim succeeds only to the extent that the state court wrongly decided the issues before it. Where federal relief can only be predicated upon a conviction that the state court was wrong, it is difficult to conceive the federal proceeding as, in substance, anything other than a prohibited appeal of the state court judgment.