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Danelle Bostrom, et al v. New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services

August 22, 2011

DANELLE BOSTROM, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
NEW JERSEY DIVISION OF YOUTH AND FAMILY SERVICES, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Jerome B. Simandle

OPINION

SIMANDLE, District Judge:

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiffs filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in state court, alleging deprivations of constitutional rights, and Defendants removed the case to this Court. The matter is before the Court upon the motion of Defendants New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services ("DYFS") and New Jersey Department of Human Services ("DHS") to dismiss the Complaint for failure to state a claim. [Docket Item 4.] Plaintiffs have also cross-moved to remand the case to the Superior Court. [Docket Item 11.] For the reasons set forth below, the Court will deny Plaintiffs' motion to remand and grant Defendants' motion to dismiss.

II. BACKGROUND

A. Facts

Plaintiffs Danelle and Stephen Bostrom became foster parents for DYFS and adopted an infant child, herein known as A.N.B. Compl. ¶ 27. According to the Complaint, throughout her childhood, A.N.B. suffered from aggressive behavior and depression, leading her to physically attack her mother and family members. Id. ¶¶ 28-38.

At around age fourteen, A.N.B. was admitted to a crisis center, where she was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. Id. ¶¶ 40, 42. Plaintiffs feared that A.N.B. was a danger to the family and would not permit her to return home.

Id. ¶ 43. Subsequently, A.N.B. was placed in a long-term mental health facility, but she became pregnant, and DYFS moved her to a home for young mothers. Id. ¶¶ 43-45.

A.N.B again went missing from DYFS housing until she was located by a DYFS agent who contacted Plaintiffs and advised them that A.N.B. would be returned to their home. Id. ¶¶ 48, 49.

After Plaintiffs refused the return of A.N.B., a DYFS worker allegedly "screamed at Plaintiff . . . and made degrading comments about Plaintiffs' parenting skills." Id. ¶ 50. DYFS then allegedly questioned the safety of the Plaintiffs' two sons and indicated that the agency needed to check on the children's well--being. Id. ¶¶ 51-55.

At 1:15 a.m. on December 14, 2006, various state employees arrived at Plaintiffs' house and examined Plaintiffs' children for abuse, which they did not find. Id. ¶¶ 57-59. This encounter forms the basis of Plaintiffs' Complaint. Plaintiffs allege that DYFS's conduct violated their constitutional rights.

B. Procedural History

Plaintiffs filed their initial complaint with the Cumberland County Superior Court of New Jersey on December 11, 2008. The complaint sought money damages and injunctive relief against several ...


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