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Mittal v. County of Clark

United States District Court, D. Nevada

March 30, 2017

RAJA MITTAL, Plaintiff,
COUNTY OF CLARK, et al., Defendants.


          Kent J. Dawson United States District Judge.

         Presently before the Court is Defendants Dr. William L. Downey and Dr. Michael O. Nyarko's Motion to Dismiss (#49). Plaintiff filed a response in opposition (#69) to which Defendants replied (#72). Defendants Elizabeth Jarman, LCSW and Gregory Harder, Psy.D., filed a substantive Joinder (#50) to the motion to dismiss. Plaintiff filed a response in opposition (#81) to the joinder to which Defendants replied (#90)

         I. Background

         This case arises out of Plaintiff's claims that Defendants conspired in violation of his constitutional rights to deprive him of custody of his minor son X.X. Plaintiff contested custody of his son in family court and fought a lengthy custody battle forced by charges of abuse in juvenile court. Though Plaintiff initially asserted that his ex-wife and her father were abusing his son X.X., Child Protective Services (“CPS”) later brought an adversary proceeding against Plaintiff in juvenile court asserting that X.X. was harmed by Plaintiff's behavior. Eventually, Plaintiff and the State settled the claims with Plaintiff Raja Mittal admitting liability on a claim of educational neglect. As part of that settlement, no further civil or criminal claims were brought against him. However, Mittal would be required to take sexual boundaries classes. Mittal claims that he was deceived about those classes and would not have entered into the settlement agreement if he had known.

         Plaintiff then filed the present action claiming that virtually every one ever involved in those proceedings - from doctors, to social workers, to his own attorney - were involved in a grand conspiracy to deprive him of access to X.X. and to hide the sexual abuse that Mittal alleged X.X.'s maternal grandfather was inflicting on him. The decision of the juvenile court finding Plaintiff liable on a charge of educational neglect has never been overturned.

         Doctors Downey and Nyarko have been named as Defendants in this case. The relevant allegations pertaining to Doctors Downey and Nyarko are as follows: Plaintiff X.X. was a patient of the doctors at Desert Valley Pediatrics beginning in 2009 or 2010. Initially, Dr. Downey had prescribed ADHD medication to X.X. In January of 2010, Plaintiff met with Dr. Downey and X.X.'s mother, Kristen Brown, to discuss Plaintiff's objections to the prescription. After this meeting X.X. was temporarily taken off of the medication. On November 7, 2013, Mittal accompanied X.X. and Brown to an appointment with Doctor Nyarko who also prescribed an ADHD medication. Again, Mittal objected to the prescription, but Brown was granted custody of X.X. later that month.

         Doctors Downey and Nyarko are named as Defendants - as all defendants are named - in Plaintiff's First through Fourth Causes of Action for various violations of Plaintiff's constitutional rights, conspiracy to deny Plaintiff of his constitutional rights, and failure to prevent the deprivation of Plaintiff's constitutional rights. Downey and Nyargo are also included in Plaintiff's Seventh Cause of Action for negligence per se, and Fourteenth Cause of Action for medical malpractice. Plaintiff essentially alleges the doctors acted negligently when prescribing ADHD medication to X.X.

         Dr. Harder is included in the civil rights claims, negligence per se claims, and the medical malpractice claims for diagnosing X.X. as ADHD. Elizabeth Jarman, LCSW, is included in the civil rights claims, medical malpractice claims (for no apparent reason), negligence per se, fiduciary duty and the thirteenth cause of action for failure to discharge a mandatory duty (for allegedly failing to investigate allegations of abuse).

         Defendants Downey and Nyarko filed the present motion to dismiss Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint asserting that they are not state actors subject to liability under civil rights claims, the medical claims are time-barred, and the malpractice claims are “void ab initio” due to Plaintiff's failure to include an affidavit by a medical expert that supports the allegations of the action. The parties to the motion also assert that the negligence per se claims and failure to discharge a duty claims should be dismissed.

         II. Standard for a Motion to Dismiss

         In considering a motion to dismiss, “all well-pleaded allegations of material fact are taken as true and construed in a light most favorable to the non-moving party.” Wyler Summit Partnership v. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., 135 F.3d 658, 661 (9th Cir. 1998) (citation omitted). Consequently, there is a strong presumption against dismissing an action for failure to state a claim. See Gilligan v. Jamco Dev. Corp., 108 F.3d 246, 249 (9th Cir. 1997) (citation omitted).

         “To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). Plausibility, in the context of a motion to dismiss, means that the plaintiff has pleaded facts which allow “the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id.

         The Iqbal evaluation illustrates a two prong analysis. First, the Court identifies “the allegations in the complaint that are not entitled to the assumption of truth, ” that is, those allegations which are legal conclusions, bare assertions, or merely conclusory. Id. at 1949-51. Second, the Court considers the factual allegations “to determine if they plausibly suggest an entitlement to relief.” Id. at 1951. If the allegations state plausible claims for relief, such claims survive the motion to dismiss. Id. at 1950.

         III. ...

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