Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Bent v. Lashway

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

May 23, 2017

MICHAEL S. BENT, Plaintiff,
v.
PATRICIA LASHWAY, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS TO DISMISS

          BENJAMIN H. SETTLE United States District Judge

         This matter comes before the Court on the motion to dismiss of Defendant Amanda Barlow, in her capacity as the Acting Assistant Acting Assistant Secretary of the Administration for Children and Families of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (“Secretary”) (Dkt. 45)[1] and the motion to dismiss of Defendant Patricia Lashway (“Lashway”) (Dkt. 46). The Court has considered the pleadings filed in support of and in opposition to the motions and the remainder of the file and hereby denies the motions for the reasons stated herein.

         I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On October 31, 2016, Plaintiff Michael Bent (“Bent”) filed a complaint against Lashway, individually, and in her official capacity as Acting Secretary of the Washington Department of Social and Health Services (“DSHS”); the Secretary; Mark McCauley, in his official capacity as Manager and CEO of Clark County; and Greg Kimsey, in his official capacity as Clark County Auditor. Dkt. 1. Bent asserted numerous claims based on the theory that “Lashway inappropriately steers Federal Incentive grant awards to the County with intention to bias custodial arrangement in fragmented families.” Id., ¶ 25.

         On January 3, 2017, Lashway filed a motion for a more definite statement (Dkt. 24) and the Secretary filed a motion to dismiss (Dkt. 25). On February 22, 2017, the Court granted the Secretary's motion and dismissed Bent's claims against the Secretary with prejudice and granted Lashway's motion giving Bent leave to amend his claims against Lashway only. Dkt. 35. On February 27, 2017, Bent appealed. Dkt. 38.

         On March 3, 2017, Bent filed an amended complaint asserting claims against four defendants, including the Secretary and Lashway. Dkt. 40.

         On March 14, 2017, the Ninth Circuit dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction because the Court's order did not dispose of all claims against all parties. Dkt. 44.

         On March 17, 2017, both the Secretary and Lashway moved to dismiss the amended complaint. Dkts. 45, 46. On April 13, 2017, Bent responded to both motions. Dkts. 49, 50. On March 14, 2017, the Secretary and Lashway replied. Dkts. 51, 52.[2]

         II. DISCUSSION

         Regarding the Secretary's motion, she argues that Bent improperly reasserted his claims against her even though the Court had dismissed the claims with prejudice. Bent counters that the Ninth Circuit “decided leave to amend was implicitly granted by the District Court.” Dkt. 49 at 2. Contrary to Bent's position, the Ninth Circuit dismissed his appeal because the Court's order did not dispose of all claims against all parties. Once the Court disposes of all claims against all parties, Bent may appeal the dismissal of the Secretary. Until then, the Court has dismissed the Secretary with prejudice, and Bent may not add claims against the Secretary without requesting leave to amend. Therefore, the Court strikes Bent's claims against the Secretary and denies the Secretary's motion as moot.

         Regarding Lashway's motion, she argues that the Court should abstain under either the Rooker-Feldman doctrine or under principles of equitable abstention. Lashway contends that Bent's claims are inextricably intertwined with the state court rulings against Bent in his child custody proceedings. While the Court agrees with Lashway that such claims would be inappropriate in this Court, Bent does not appear to challenge such rulings in this Court. Instead, Bent seems to challenge the entire government system regulating child custody matters and support payments. Based on a liberal reading of the complaint, Bent asserts one claim against Lashway and seeks four specific types of relief as follows:

A declaration invalidating 42 U.S.C. § 654(7) and enjoining all agreements made pursuant, as all are violation of Article III of the Federal Constitution for permitting and requiring provisions for DSHS “entering into cooperative arrangements with appropriate courts” and “entering into of financial arrangements with such courts” whereby Federal Incentive grants are used to bias the judgment of the recipient courts.
A declaration clarifying the Federal criteria to be classified as a “Noncustodial Parent” (ie, FNCP) within the meaning and purpose of Subchapter IV, Grants to States for Aid and Services to Needy Families With Children and ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.