Capp v. County of San Diego, No. 18-55119 (9th Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
The Ninth Circuit withdrew its previous opinion and filed this superseding opinion affirming in part and reversing in part the district court's dismissal of plaintiffs' claims as insufficiently pled. Plaintiff and his two minor children filed suit alleging that a child welfare investigation brought by county social workers violated their First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights.
In this case, plaintiff alleged that social workers retaliated against him in violation of the First Amendment after he questioned abuse allegations against him and criticized the county. Plaintiff was placed on the Child Abuse Central Index and a social worker coerced his ex-wife to file an ex parte custody application.
The panel held that plaintiff's first amended complaint (FAC) failed to plausibly allege Fourth Amendment, Fourteenth Amendment, and Monell claims. However, the court held that plaintiff pleaded a viable First Amendment retaliation claim, and that the social worker was not entitled to qualified immunity on this claim. The court held that a reasonable official would have known that taking the serious step of threatening to terminate a parent's custody of his children, when the official would not have taken this step absent her retaliatory intent, violated the First Amendment.
This opinion or order relates to an opinion or order originally issued on August 30, 2019.