United States District Court, D. Hawaii
ORDER: (1) DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITHOUT LEAVE TO
AMEND; AND (2) DENYING AS MOOT APPLICATION TO PROCEED IN
DISTRICT COURT WITHOUT PREPAYING FEES OR COSTS
Michael Seabright Chief United States District Judge
(1) DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITHOUT LEAVE TO AMEND; AND (2)
DENYING AS MOOT APPLICATION TO PROCEED IN DISTRICT COURT
WITHOUT PREPAYING FEES OR COSTS
December 22, 2016, Plaintiff Gina Diane Inda Dela Cruz
(“Plaintiff”), proceeding pro se, filed an
“Opening Statement, ” ECF No. 1, which the court
construes as a Complaint. On January 30, 2017, Plaintiff
sought to proceed in forma pauperis by filing an Application
to Proceed in District Court Without Prepaying Fees or Costs
(“IFP Application”), ECF No. 6, and a Statement
that provides more detail regarding her financial condition,
ECF No. 7. Pursuant to Local Rule 7.2(d), the court finds
these matters suitable for disposition without a hearing.
Because Plaintiff's claims are barred by res judicata,
and are therefore frivolous and fail to state a claim, the
court DISMISSES the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e), and DENIES the IFP Application as MOOT.
Complaint alleges that Defendants Child Welfare Services
(“CWS”) and CWS workers Patrice Bell
(“Bell”) and Carlene Greenlee
“Defendants”) violated Plaintiff's constitutional
rights and conspired to violate Plaintiff's rights
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1985 when Plaintiff's
newborn daughter was removed from her custody in 2009. Compl.
at 1. More specifically, the Complaint alleges that Greenlee
violated Plaintiff's Fourth Amendment rights and
committed a crime by taking Plaintiff's daughter absent
any evidence of harm. Id. Plaintiff alleges that
Bell “tr[ied] to get a doctor to wrongfully diagnose me
and she wrongfully took my custody away from me.”
Id. Further, Bell allegedly “took
[Plaintiff's] custody away because of [her exercise of]
freedom of speech” in connection with a separate CWS
case involving Plaintiff. Id. Plaintiff seeks
damages of $7 million, and custody of her children.
Prior Federal and State Actions
December 9, 2011, Plaintiff filed an earlier action in this
court against CWS Director Patricia McManaman
(“McManaman”), Greenlee, and Bell, alleging that
they violated Plaintiff's constitutional rights in 2009
when Plaintiff's then-newborn daughter (the same child at
issue in the current Complaint) was taken into protective
custody and Plaintiff was prevented from having unsupervised
visits with her other children. See Dela Cruz v.
McManaman, 2012 WL 4472260, at 1 (D. Haw. Sept. 26,
2012) (“Dela Cruz 2011”). Plaintiff sought
the return of her children and $20 million in damages.
Cruz 2011 determined that Plaintiff's claims were
barred by the doctrine of claim preclusion, based on the
final adjudication of the same claims against the same
parties in a prior state court action. Id. at 4-6.
Dela Cruz 2011 noted that in 2010, Plaintiff filed
an action in state court that (1) alleged claims for
“bad faith, negligently interfering parental rights
[sic], emotional distress, taking a child with no proof of
evidence, no probable cause, invasion of confidentiality and
privacy, [and] false police report;” and (2) sought the
“return of all seven of her children . . . and $10
million in damages.” Id. at *2. Dela Cruz
2011 further noted that a state court judgment was
entered in favor of Defendants and against Plaintiff pursuant
to an order granting summary judgment with prejudice, and
that Plaintiff did not appeal that judgment. Id.
Cruz 2011 explained that:
First, the Judgment in the State Action is now final. . . .
Second, the parties in the State Action are the same as in
this action. . . . Third, . . . the claims in this action are
the same as those in the State Action. . . . Plaintiff's
claims against Greenlee, Bell, and McManaman in this
[federal] action clearly arise out of the same series of
transactions as those in the State Action -- the removal of
Plaintiff's daughter and her interactions with Bell,
Greenlee, and CWS. That is, while Plaintiff raises
constitutional issues in this action but raised tort law
claims in the State Action, “all of the claims arise
out of the same series of transactions . . . and are
therefore the same claims.” Aganos [v.
GMAC Res. Funding Corp., ] 2008 WL 4657828, at *5 [(D.
Haw. Oct. 22, 2008)] . . . Moreover, although Plaintiff
brings a claim in this action under § 1983 which was not
contained in the State Action, Plaintiff could have
brought her § 1983 claim in the State Action.
Id. at *5-6. Thus, this court granted
Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment and dismissed the
action as to all claims and all parties. Id. at *6.
Judgment was entered in favor of Defendants on September 26,
2012. ECF No. 51. Plaintiff did not appeal that Judgment.