United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
HONORABLE RICHARD A. JONES, JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on the parties' motions for
summary judgment. Dkt. ## 23, 27. Having reviewed the
parties' briefs, supporting documents, and balance of the
record, the Court finds oral argument unnecessary. For the
reasons that follow, the Court GRANTS
Defendants' motion. Dkt. # 27.
is the mother of three children and worked as a licensed
practical nurse. Dkt. # 23 at 8. In April 2015, Child
Protective Services (CPS) investigated Plaintiff for
allegations of physical abuse and negligent treatment of her
three children. Id. CPS removed the children from
Plaintiff's home and made a founded finding against Plaintiff
for negligent treatment of the children. Id. The
finding was entered into a database that was searchable by
Plaintiff's employer. Id. The finding was sent
by certified mail to Plaintiff's home address and
Plaintiff's mother signed for the letter. Id.
Plaintiff denies that she received the letter explaining the
founded finding. Id. at 8-9.
August 2016, Plaintiff began working at a nursing home caring
for vulnerable adults. Id. at 9. Plaintiff claims
that the nursing home received the results of her background
check and, because the finding appeared on the background
check, Plaintiff was automatically disqualified from
November 2016, Plaintiff sought review of the finding.
Id. In December, Plaintiff learned that the finding
was upheld and soon thereafter sought preliminary relief.
See Dkt. # 2. In February, the finding was reversed
due to a procedural flaw and this was immediately updated in
the database used by employers. Dkt. ## 23 at 10, 27 at 7-8.
Defendants assure Plaintiff and this Court that they lack any
“legal authority to revisit or review an unfounded
finding and so this result will remain.” Dkt. # 27 at
8. In March 2017, Plaintiff found employment once more as a
nurse caring for vulnerable adults. Dkt. # 23 at 11.
takes issue with the Department of Social and Health
Services' (DSHS) policy of immediately reporting founded
findings into a database reviewable by employers. Dkt. # 23
at 11. She argues that CPS Policy requires that the findings
remain in place pending review or appeal. Id.
Plaintiff further argues that the appeal process can take
upwards of one year to complete; during which time the
finding remains reported and reviewable by employers.
Id. at 13.
though Plaintiff's finding was reversed, she states that
because she has a history of unfounded CPS findings, she is
at a higher risk than others to be subjected to CPS
investigations in the future. Dkt. # 23 at 15. Plaintiff
filed this lawsuit, seeking declaratory and injunctive
relief, because she alleges that Defendants deprive people of
their due process rights by administratively barring their
employment without proper notice and a hearing. Id.
at 16. Defendants' defense rests, in part, on
Plaintiff's failure to prove she has standing to bring
this case in federal court. See Dkt. # 27.
judgment is appropriate if there is no genuine dispute as to
any material fact and the moving party is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The moving
party bears the initial burden of demonstrating the absence
of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). Where the moving
party will have the burden of proof at trial, it must
affirmatively demonstrate that no reasonable trier of fact
could find other than for the moving party. Soremekun v.
Thrifty Payless, Inc., 509 F.3d 978, 984 (9th Cir.
2007). On an issue where the nonmoving party will bear the
burden of proof at trial, the moving party can prevail merely
by pointing out to the district court that there is an
absence of evidence to support the non-moving party's
case. Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 325. If the moving
party meets the initial burden, the opposing party must set
forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue of
fact for trial in order to defeat the motion. Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986). The court
must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the
nonmoving party and draw all reasonable inferences in that
party's favor. Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing
Prods., 530 U.S. 133, 150-51 (2000). Credibility
determinations and the weighing of the evidence are jury
functions, not those of a judge. Anderson, 477 U.S.
at 255. For purposes of summary judgment, the evidence of the
non-movant is to be believed, and all justifiable inferences
are to be drawn in his favor. Id. (citing
Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144
resolving a motion for summary judgment, the court may only
consider admissible evidence. Orr v. Bank of
America, 285 F.3d 764, 773 (9th Cir. 2002). At the
summary judgment stage, a court focuses on the admissibility
of the evidence's content, not on the admissibility of
the evidence's form. Fraser v. Goodale, 342 F.3d
1032, 1036 (9th Cir. 2003).
challenge Plaintiff's standing to bring this lawsuit.
Dkt. # 27 at 8. To establish Article III standing, a
plaintiff must have suffered an “injury in fact,
” which is an “invasion of a legally protected
interest” that is “concrete and
particularized” and “actual or imminent” as
opposed to conjectural or hypothetical. Lujan v.
Defenders of Wildlife,504 U.S. 555, 560 (1992). A
plaintiff's injury must be causally connected to the
defendant's unlawful conduct. Id. Finally, it
must be “likely, as opposed to merely speculative,
” that a favorable decision from the court will redress
the injury. Id. at 561. The party invoking federal