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Case Name Carson P. ex rel. Foreman v. Heineman CW-NE-0001
Docket / Court 4:05-cv-03241 ( D. Neb. )
State/Territory Nebraska
Case Type(s) Child Welfare
Attorney Organization Appleseed
Children's Rights, Inc.
Case Summary
On September 19, 2005, seven foster children filed a putative class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Governor of Nebraska and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. The Plaintiffs, represented by ... read more >
On September 19, 2005, seven foster children filed a putative class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Governor of Nebraska and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. The Plaintiffs, represented by Children's Rights, Inc., the Nebraska Appleseed Center, and private counsel, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, claiming that Defendants were violating Plaintiffs' substantive and procedural due process rights under the United States Constitution; Plaintiffs' rights under the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980 (AACWA) and the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT) program of the Medicaid Act. Plaintiffs also contended that Defendants were in breach of their own obligations under the state's State Plan contracts with the federal government under Titles IV-B and IV-E of the Social Security Act by denying Plaintiffs' rights to services and benefits as direct third-party beneficiaries of these State Plan contracts.

On January 19, 2007, the District Court (Judge Richard G. Kopf) entered a memorandum and order adopting Magistrate Judge David L. Piestar's Report and Recommendation denying Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification and granting Defendants' Motion to Dismiss on Younger abstention grounds. Specifically, the Court found Plaintiffs' proposed class definition to be "both ambiguous and inconsistent with [Plaintiffs'] stated intent," and held that, even if less vague, the intended class lacked commonality and typicality. The Court further concluded that, under the doctrine announced in Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971), the federal court should abstain from exercising jurisdiction in cases where equitable relief would interfere with pending state proceedings (here, the children's state juvenile court proceedings) in a way that offends principles of comity and federalism. The Court subsequently entered judgment for Defendants. Carson P. ex rel. Foreman v. Heineman, 240 F.R.D. 456 (D. Neb. 2007).

Dan Whitman - 04/04/2015


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Benefit Source
Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act
Medicaid
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Adoption
Assault/abuse by residents/inmates/students
Classification / placement
Education
Emergency shelter
Failure to supervise
Failure to train
Family reunification
Foster care (benefits, training)
Funding
Individualized planning
Juveniles
Neglect by staff
Parents (visitation, involvement)
Pattern or Practice
Placement in shelters
Record-keeping
Sexual abuse by residents/inmates
Siblings (visitation, placement)
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Visiting
Medical/Mental Health
Dental care
Medical care, general
Mental health care, general
Plaintiff Type
State Plaintiff
Causes of Action Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980 (AACWA), 42 U.S.C. § 620 et seq.
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services
Plaintiff Description All foster children who are or will be in the legal custody of [the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services], including those alleged or adjudicated to be abused, neglected or abandoned by their parent, guardian or custodian, and those alleged or adjudicated to be wayward, uncontrollable or habitually truant.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Appleseed
Children's Rights, Inc.
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2007
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Legal Accountability in the Service-Based Welfare State: Lessons from Child Welfare Reform
By: Kathleen G. Noonan, Charles F. Sabel, William H. Simon (Center for High Impact Philanthropy , Columbia Law School and Stanford Law School)
Citation: 34 Law & Soc. Inquiry 523 (Summer 2009)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Making Child Welfare Work: How the R.C. Lawsuit Forged New Partnerships to Protect Children and Sustain Families
By: Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law (Bazelon Center)
Citation: (1998)
[ Detail ]

Docket(s)
4:05-cv-03241-RGK-DLP (D. Neb.) 01/26/2007
CW-NE-0001-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 09/19/2005
CW-NE-0001-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Class Action Complaint 02/13/2006
CW-NE-0001-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum & Order Adopting Report & Recommendation Denying Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification and Granting Defendants' Motion to Dismiss 01/19/2007 (240 F.R.D. 456) (D. Neb.)
CW-NE-0001-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Kopf, Richard George (D. Neb.) [Magistrate]
CW-NE-0001-9000
Piester, David L. (D. Neb.) [Magistrate]
CW-NE-0001-0003
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Adelman, Stanley J. (Illinois)
CW-NE-0001-0001 | CW-NE-0001-0002 | CW-NE-0001-9000
Auten, Anne C. (Illinois)
CW-NE-0001-0001 | CW-NE-0001-0002 | CW-NE-0001-9000
Carter, Jennifer A. (Nebraska)
CW-NE-0001-0001 | CW-NE-0001-0002 | CW-NE-0001-9000
Colleran, Kevin (Nebraska)
CW-NE-0001-0001 | CW-NE-0001-0002 | CW-NE-0001-9000
Crean, Tara S. (New York)
CW-NE-0001-0001 | CW-NE-0001-0002 | CW-NE-0001-9000
Gray, Douglas C. (New York)
CW-NE-0001-0001 | CW-NE-0001-0002 | CW-NE-0001-9000
Grennan, Thomas A. (Nebraska)
CW-NE-0001-0001 | CW-NE-0001-0002 | CW-NE-0001-9000
Jensen, Marnie A. (Nebraska)
CW-NE-0001-0001 | CW-NE-0001-0002 | CW-NE-0001-9000
Lowry, Marcia Robinson (New York)
CW-NE-0001-0001 | CW-NE-0001-0002 | CW-NE-0001-9000
Lustbader, Ira P. (New York)
CW-NE-0001-0001 | CW-NE-0001-0002 | CW-NE-0001-9000
Mumgaard, D. Milo (Nebraska)
CW-NE-0001-0001 | CW-NE-0001-0002 | CW-NE-0001-9000
Sinha, Priy (New York)
CW-NE-0001-9000
Summerlin, V. Gene (Nebraska)
CW-NE-0001-0001 | CW-NE-0001-0002 | CW-NE-0001-9000
Tricker, Edward H. (Nebraska)
CW-NE-0001-0001 | CW-NE-0001-0002 | CW-NE-0001-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Barton, Gregory D. (Nebraska)
CW-NE-0001-9000
Engler, Timothy R. (Nebraska)
CW-NE-0001-9000
Heinrich, Christopher R. (Nebraska)
CW-NE-0001-9000
Rumbaugh, Michael J. (Nebraska)
CW-NE-0001-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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