Justia Class Action Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Family Law
Elisa W. v. City of New York
Plaintiffs-appellants, nineteen children in New York City’s foster care system, filed suit alleging “systemic deficiencies” in the administration of the City’s foster care system in violation of federal and state law. The named Plaintiffs moved to represent a class of all children who are now or will be in the foster care custody of the Commissioner of New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services and two subclasses. As remedies, they sought injunctive and declaratory relief to redress alleged class-wide injuries caused by deficiencies in the City’s administration—and the New York State Office of Children and Family Services’ oversight—of foster care. The district court denied Plaintiffs’ motion for class certification. Plaintiffs appealed, arguing that the district court erred in its analysis of the commonality and typicality requirements under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(a). The Second Circuit vacated the district court’s order denying class certification and remanded. The court held that the district court erred in its analysis of commonality and typicality under Rule 23. The court explained that the district court did not determine whether commonality and typicality exist with respect to each of Plaintiffs’ claims. Instead, it concluded that commonality was lacking as to all alleged harms because “Plaintiffs’ allegations do not flow from unitary, non-discretionary policies.” The court held that this approach was legal error requiring remand. Further, the court wrote that here, the district court largely relied upon its commonality analysis to support its finding that typicality was not satisfied. Thus, the deficiencies identified in its commonality inquiry can also be found in its handling of typicality. View "Elisa W. v. City of New York" on Justia Law
Hensley v. SCDSS
Kenneth and Angela Hensley filed suit against the South Carolina Department of Social Services on behalf of their adopted minor child BLH and a class of approximately 4000 similarly situated adopted children. The central allegation of the lawsuit was that DSS breached an Adoption Subsidy Agreement with the parents of each member of the class by reducing each parent's adoption subsidy by $20 a month, beginning in 2002. The circuit court issued an order finding the Hensleys satisfied the requirements of Rule 23(a) of the South Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure, and certifying the proposed class. The court of appeals reversed. The South Carolina Supreme Court found the circuit court's order was not immediately appealable, and vacated the court of appeals' opinion and dismissed the appeal. View "Hensley v. SCDSS" on Justia Law
Harley v. Dempster
Appellant filed a notice of appeal from a circuit court’s grant of the Office of Child Support Enforcement’s motion to modify support and for judgment for past due child support. The court of appeals reversed the judgment. The Supreme Court granted Appellant’s petition for review, but Appellant then failed timely to file a brief for the court’s consideration. The Supreme Court vacated the court of appeals’ decision, dismissed the appeal, and reinstated the decision of the circuit court, holding that because Appellant failed to timely file a brief for the court’s consideration, there was no argument for reversal on the merits. View "Harley v. Dempster" on Justia Law
E.T., et al. v. Cantil-Sakauye, et al.
Plaintiff foster children appeal the dismissal of their class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. 1983, in which they alleged that the caseloads of the Sacramento County Dependency Court and court-appointed attorneys were so excessive as to violate federal and state constitutional and statutory provisions. The district court abstained from adjudicating plaintiff's claims. The court held that the district court properly abstained from consideration of the claims plaintiff raised here based on O'Shea v. Littleton. Accordingly, the court affirmed the dismissal of the complaint.