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Johnson v. Department of Human Services

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

April 27, 2018



          GERALD A. MCHUGH, J.

         Plaintiff Matriya-Shalai Johnson brings this pro se civil action against the following Defendants: (1) Department of Human Services; (2) Darin Wiggs-Hughes; (3) Christopher Li; (4) Ja'net Roberson; (5) Ms. Latiff; (6) Racquel Braham; (7) Net CUA 7; (8) Steven Grilli; (9) Christopher Waiters; (10) Nashanta C. Robinson; (11) David Coleman; (12) Dana Walker; (13) Antonique Edwards; (14) Shakia Harris; (15) Janelle Wright-Brown; (16) Quadriyy Major; (17) Rose Morgan; (18) the City of Philadelphia Law Department; (19) Jeri Hope Behrman; (20) Atya Burns; (21) Kathleen Kim; (22) Jeffrey C. Bruch; (23) Louisa Ashmead Robinson; (24) Patricia McGhettigan; (25) Lindsay Margaret Palmer; (26) Carla Beggins; (27) Jonathan Houlon; (28) Judge Joseph L. Fernandes; (29) Sheriff Moore; (30) Sheriff Dunbar; (31) Sheriff Bradley; (32) Sheriff Taylor; (33) the Philadelphia Police Department 22nd District; (34) Sergeant Bascom; (35) Officer Foley; (36) Henry House/Northeast Treatment Centers; and (37) Regan Kelly. She has also filed a Motion for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis. (ECF No. 1.) For the following reasons, the Court will grant Ms. Johnson leave to proceed in forma pauperis, and dismiss Ms. Johnson's claims except for certain of her claims against Darin Wiggs-Hughes, Christopher Li, Ms. Latiff, Sheriff Moore, Sheriff Dunbar, Sheriff Taylor, Sergeant Bascom, and Officer Foley.

         I. FACTS

         On June 3, 2016, Ms. Johnson was at home when "Christopher Li and Philadelphia Police Department kidnapped [her minor] daughter C.S.J. . . . without a warrant." (Compl. at 25.)[1] Ms. Johnson claims she was never served with any legal documents before her daughter was taken away. (Id.) Her daughter was placed in foster care "where she was later abused and neglected." (Id.) Ms. Johnson filed an appeal, but she was "never heard." (Id.) She "was given supervised visits with [her] daughter that were later terminated .. . but were eventually restored." (Id.)

         On February 7, 2017, Ms. Johnson, who was eight (8) months pregnant at the time, was at home when Darin Wiggs-Hughes, Ms. Latiff, Sergeant Bascom, and Officer Foley "kicked in the first and third floor apartment doors." (Id. at 26.) Ms. Johnson claims that they "assaulted, battered and falsely arrested [her] partner Brian Nathaniel Shaw Jr. and took his keys out of his pocket which they used to open the front door." (Id.) Those Defendants then searched through Ms. Johnson's belongings and subsequently "illegally seized [her minor] son B.N.S. . .. and [her minor] daughter H.S.S.. .. without a warrant." (Id. at 26-27.) Her children were placed in foster care "where they were force vaccinated, abused and neglected." (Id. at 27.) Ms. Johnson eventually received "supervised visits at Family Court of Philadelphia with [her] son and daughter 2 times a month to this day." (Id.) The children were placed with their aunt and grandmother in March of 2018. (Id.)

         On February 10, 2017, [2] Ms. Johnson was at the Family Court of Philadelphia when the "Family Court Clerk and Supervisor denied [her] the right to file a notice into cases ... under the strict orders of Judge Joseph L. Fernandes." (Id. at 28.) Sheriff Moore told Ms. Johnson that she would need to leave. (Id.) Ms. Johnson asked why she had to leave and took her phone out to record the scene. (Id.) Sheriff Moore called for backup, told Ms. Johnson that she was not permitted to record inside the courthouse, and "snatch[ed the] phone out of [her] hand." (Id.) Her partner, Brian Nathaniel Shawn stepped between them, then Sheriff Moore "in collusion with other Family Court Sheriffs used excessive force on [her] partner and [her] to obstruct justice." (Id. at 29.) According to Ms. Johnson, Sheriff Moore assaulted, battered, and choked Mr. Shaw while Sheriff Dunbar did the same to her. (Id.) Ms. Johnson and Mr. Shaw were then arrested and detained in "family court cells by Sheriff Taylor." (Id.) They were searched and threatened with citations for disorderly conduct. (Id.) However, they were released after a hearing where Judge Fernandes ordered that B.N.S. and H.S.S. remain in the custody of the Department of Human Services. (Id.)

         On April 5, 2017, Judge Fernandes held Ms. Johnson in contempt until her newborn, I.S.S., was brought to court "without [her] consent." (Id. at 30.) Ms. Johnson was taken to the Riverside Correctional Facility where she "was falsely imprisoned for approximately 60 hours." (Id.) She was subsequently taken back to Family Court, where Judge Fernandes issued a "stay away" order against her. (Id.) Ms. Johnson was separated from Mr. Shaw, was not allowed to remain at her home, and was not allowed to visit her sons and daughters. (Id. at 30-31.)

         Ms. Johnson alleges that her rights were again violated on June 6, 2017 when Judge Fernandes held Mr. Shaw in contempt of court. (Id. at 31.) Subsequently, Nashanta Robinson "in collusion with Police Officers of the Philadelphia Police Department 22nd District went to Gloria Cottman's private property and seized I.S.S. . . . without a warrant." (Id. at 32.) I.S.S. was then "placed in foster care where he was abused, neglected and force vaccinated." (Id.)

         On February 6, 2018, Ms. Johnson's daughter C.S.J. gave birth to a son at the Temple University Hospital. (Id. at 33.) On February 9, 2018, Ms. Johnson claims that "police and security, and employees including nurses, doctors and social workers in collusion with DHS and Net CUA 7 employees came into C.S.J. private room and used excessive force and physically battered C.S.J. . . . and physically grabbed newborn J.J.A. to try to take him out of C.S.J. arms." (Id.) Ms. Johnson claims that "nurses and social workers illegally seized J.J.A. without a warrant." (Id. at 34.) C.S.J. was then handcuffed and "falsely arrested" and was taken to Henry House/Northeast Treatment Center. (Id.) According to Ms. Johnson, C.S.J. "has not to this day been enrolled in Henry House because she does not consent to anything that is being done." (Id.) C.S.J. has also "been threatened numerous times by Net CUA 7 and DHS employees [including Shakia Harris] to do what they tell her or else." (Id.)

         Overall, Ms. Johnson contends that she's been "severely harmed, violated and sustained severe physical, emotional and psychological trauma, including theft and damage of [her] religious property and alienation during their tender years." (Id. at 35.) She also alleges that she "sustained personal injuries by aggravated assault and battery, false arrest, false imprisonment, violation of [her] rights by illegal searches and seizures, due process violations by persons acting as law enforcement officials and public officials." (Id. at 35-36.) She cites various federal civil and criminal statutes as well as international treaties as the bases for her claims. As relief, she requests "the immediate return and restoration of [her] religious and biological property who are [her] sons, daughters, and grandson." (Id. at 36.) She also requests $150, 000, 00.00 in damages and for medical coverage "for the remainder of [their] natural lives" for herself, her children, her grandson, and her partner, Mr. Shaw. (Id. at 36-37.)


         Because the Court is granting Ms. Johnson leave to proceed in forma pauperis, her Complaint is subject to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii), which requires the Court to dismiss the Complaint if it fails to state a claim. Whether a complaint fails to state a claim under § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) is governed by the same standard applicable to motions to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), see Tourscher v. McCullough, 184 F.3d 236, 240 (3d Cir. 1999), which requires the Court to determine whether the complaint contains "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quotations omitted). "[M]ere conclusory statements do not suffice." Id. As Ms. Johnson is proceeding pro se, the Court construes her allegations liberally. Higgs v. Att'y Gen., 655 F.3d 333, 339 (3d Cir. 2011).


         A. Claims Brought on ...

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