United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
Introduction and Procedural History
above-captioned action was filed by Plaintiff, Kareliz Nin,
asserting a single Section 1983 claim against Defendants
Luzerne County and Luzerne County Children and Youth Services
("LCCYS") for their alleged involvement in the
administration of Plaintiffs deceased child's estate.
Pending before the Court is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss
Plaintiffs Second Amended Complaint. (Doc. 57).
filed a Writ of Summons in the Court of Common Pleas of
Luzerne County on October 21, 2016, naming Luzerne County and
LCCYS as Defendants. (Doc. 1-1). On April 20, 2017, Nin filed
her Complaint in state court, alleging a single count of 42
U.S.C. § 1983 violation and naming only LCCYS as a
defendant. (Id.) LCCYS removed the action to this
Court (Doc. 1) and moved to dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6) (Doc. 3). On August 25, 2017, Nin filed a motion for
leave to amend the Complaint to add Luzerne County as a
defendant, without adding any new claims or substantive
allegations. (Doc. 19). This Court granted Nin's Motion
to Amend (Doc. 28) and Defendants filed a second motion to
dismiss after the Amended Complaint was filed (Doc. 32). On
August 3, 2018, this Court granted Defendants' Motion to
Dismiss the Amended Complaint and granted Nin leave to amend
her complaint. (Doc. 52). On August 24, 2018, Nin filed a
Second Amended Complaint (Doc. 53), and on September 26,
2018, Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs Second
Amended Complaint (Doc. 57). For reasons that follow,
Defendants' motion will be granted, without prejudice and
with leave to Plaintiff to file a Third Amended Complaint.
Second Amended Complaint (Doc. 53) alleges the following
facts which, for the purposes of resolving Defendants'
Motion to Dismiss, the Court takes as true:
Nin gave birth to her daughter, Cecilia Nin, on May 21, 2012.
(Id. at ¶ 2). On December 28, 2012, after
becoming unresponsive, Cecilia was taken by ambulance to the
Wilkes-Barre General Hospital. (Id. at ¶ 10).
After conducting various diagnostic tests, the Hospital
discharged Cecilia back to the care of her mother.
(Id. at ¶ 11). About a week later, Cecilia was
again unresponsive and taken to Geisinger Wyoming Valley
Medical Center. (Id. at ¶ 12.) Based on the
results of the diagnostic tests performed during that second
visit, LCCYS petitioned the state court for dependency of
Cecilia and Plaintiffs other two children, Reina and Faviyan,
alleging suspected abuse. (Id. at ¶ 13). The
state court granted LCCYS's petition and directed that
Plaintiffs children be removed from Plaintiffs care and
placed into foster care. (Doc. 53, at ¶ 14). On January
7, 2013, while still an inpatient at Geisinger hospital,
Cecilia died. (Id. at ¶ 15). The court then
issued an order finding Cecilia as not dependent because she
was deceased. (Id. at ¶ 16). According to
Cecilia's Autopsy Report, Cecilia died due to blunt force
trauma to the head, and separately suffered multiple healing
bilateral rib fractures and forearm fractures. (Id.
at ¶ 18). The death of Cecilia triggered a criminal
investigation by the Luzerne County District Attorney's
office, the status of which is still unknown at this time.
(Id. at ¶¶ 24, 27).
two years later, on October 29, 2014, Plaintiff received a
"Representative Notice of Estate Administration Pursuant
to Pa. O.C. Rule 5.6" regarding the Estate of Cecilia
Nin (the "Representative Notice"), which was
prepared and issued by two lawyers ("Estate
Counsel") and named a third lawyer as administrator of
the estate. (Id. at ¶¶ 29-31). Plaintiff
alleges that she had no participation in and was never made
aware of the administration of her daughter's Estate, and
that she cannot access Cecilia's estate files because the
files are sealed. (Doc. 53, at ¶¶ 33-37). Plaintiff
further alleges that prior to the opening of her
daughter's estate, Estate Counsel were not legally privy
to the confidential information contained within her and her
daughter's CYS files. (Id. at ¶ 39). Thus,
any dissemination of that information was "illegal and
unauthorized" and "the only way" the Estate
Counsel could have ascertained the information necessary to
open the Estate was through CYS's illegal and
unauthorized dissemination of information. (Id. at
August 10, 2015, Cecilia's estate representative filed a
medical malpractice suit against various defendants,
including Kareliz Nin. (Id. at ¶¶ 42, 43).
Plaintiff alleges that "the sole reason for the Estate
Counsel to open the Estate of Cecilia was to file the
Complaint" and that "the only way Estate counsel
could have come across the information necessary to prepare
and file the [medical malpractice suit's] Complaint and
continue to litigate the lawsuit would have been through
illegal and unauthorized information disseminated through
representatives of [LCCYS]." (Id. at
¶¶ 44, 46). Plaintiff further alleges that
"CYS has thrown road blocks at every chance they had
through various delays" (Id. at ¶ 49), and
that she has still not regained custody of her other two
daughters who remain in foster care (Doc. 53, at ¶ 54).
medical malpractice Complaint includes "very specific
and detailed information," with regard to Cecilia's
medical information, her treatment during her Emergency Room
visits, and the autopsy report. (Id. at ¶¶
65-67). The information disclosed is "highly
confidential and protected by various County, State and
Federal Rules and Regulations." (Id. at ¶
68). Additionally, Nin never gave any of the information to
the Estate Counsel or Representative, the information was not
publicly accessible, and the only way the information could
be accessed would be via Court Order or with Plaintiff's
authorization. (Id. at ¶¶ 69-72). As a
result, Plaintiff alleges that LCCYS failed to implement any
policies or procedures to ensure compliance with Federal and
State law, and consequently, by illegally releasing said
information, infringed upon Plaintiff's Constitutional
right to privacy. (Id. at ¶¶ 78-87, 94).
alleges that Defendants, "while acting under color of
state law, unlawfully, intentionally, unreasonably,
maliciously, with deliberate indifference and/or with
reckless indifference to [Plaintiffs] civil rights, violated
42 U.S.C.A. § 1983 and deprived the [Plaintiff] of her
rights and privileges guaranteed under the Constitution of
the United States and laws...by acting as follows:"
a. Violating various Child Protective Services laws;
b. Attempting to cover up, minimize and ignore the illegal
activities of their employees, agents, and servants;
c. Releasing confidential information regarding Kareliz and
Cecilia's CYS file to individuals with absolutely no
legal standing to have access to said ...