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Roe v. State

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma

January 7, 2015

BRANDON K. ROE, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
STATE OF WASHINGTON, et al., Defendants.

ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR LEAVE TO ACCEPT LATE FILING, DENYING COUNTY DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO STRIKE, GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT, AND REMANDING STATE LAW CLAIMS

BENJAMIN H. SETTLE, District Judge.

This matter comes before the Court on several motions from the parties (Dkts. 57, 85, 91, 94). The Court has considered the pleadings filed in support of and in opposition to the motions and the remainder of the file and hereby rules as follows:

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On July 12, 2013, Plaintiffs Brandon Roe ("Mr. Roe") and Teri Roe ("Mrs. Roe") (collectively "the Roes") filed a civil rights and personal injury suit against various defendants in Thurston County Superior Court. Dkt. 1 at 10. On October 18, 2013, the case was removed to this Court. Id. at 1-2.

On June 26, 2014, the Roes filed an amended complaint. Dkt. 46. The Roes named Cowlitz County, Cowlitz County Sheriff's Department ("Sheriff's Department"), Marc Gilchrist ("Detective Gilchrist"), and Patricia Schallert ("Detective Schallert") (collectively "County Defendants") as defendants. Id. The Roes also named the State of Washington, the Department of Social and Health Services ("DSHS"), Stephanie Frost ("Frost"), Anita Teeter, Debbie Marker, and Vicky Payton (collectively "State Defendants") as defendants. Id.

The Roes allege federal law claims against County and State Defendants under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1985. Id. ¶¶ 8-9, 12. The Roes also allege the following state law claims against County and State Defendants: (1) negligent investigation; (2) negligent training and supervision; (3) outrage; (4) trespass; and (5) malicious prosecution. Id. ¶¶ 4-7, 10-11, 13-15.

On October 30, 2014, County Defendants moved for summary judgment. Dkt. 57. On November 17, 2014, the Roes responded. Dkt. 89. On November 18, 2014, the Roes moved for leave to accept the late filing of Gary Preble's ("Preble") declaration in support of the Roes' response.[1] Dkt. 91. On November 21, 2014, County Defendants replied and moved to strike various exhibits submitted with Preble's declaration.[2] Dkt. 94.

On November 13, 2014, State Defendants moved for summary judgment. Dkt. 85. On December 1, 2014, the Roes responded. Dkt. 98. On December 5, 2014, State Defendants replied. Dkt. 102.

II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

On May 11, 2010, a family friend, Heather Bonnell ("Bonnell"), noticed that the Roes' three-year-old daughter, NR, had bruising on her face. Dkt. 58, Declaration of Patricia Schallert ("Schallert Dec."), Ex. A at 1. When Bonnell asked NR what happened, NR said that "mommy did it." Dkt. 87, Declaration of Stephanie Frost ("Frost Dec."), Ex. 1 at 3. NR later said that "the dog did it." Id.

Bonnell brought NR to Child Protective Services ("CPS"). Id. CPS social worker Frost discovered more bruising on NR's lower back. Frost Dec. ¶ 5. Frost subsequently notified local law enforcement about the alleged child abuse. Frost Dec., Ex. 1 at 3.

The Sheriff's Department dispatched Deputy Stumph to investigate. Schallert Dec., Ex. A at 1. After arriving at CPS, Deputy Stumph interviewed Bonnell and observed NR's bruising. Id. Another CPS social worker informed Deputy Stumph that the Roes had a combination of six previous CPS referrals, all of which were related to child abuse and neglect. Id. at 2. Based on the allegations and the severity of NR's bruising, Deputy Stumph placed NR in protective custody. Id.

Later that day, Deputy Stumph, Sergeant Cruser, and Frost went to the Roes' house to discuss NR's bruising with the Roes. Id. The Roes exited their house to talk with the officers and social worker. Id.

The Roes denied causing NR's injuries. Id. According to the Roes, NR injured her face by tripping over their new dog. Id. Although the Roes had given NR a bath the day before, the Roes did not notice bruising on NR's lower back. Id. The Roes did not know how NR obtained the bruising on her lower back. Id. The Roes also ...


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