Law School Case Brief
Prasad v. Santa Clara Dep't of Soc. Servs. - 685 F. App'x 538 (9th Cir. 2017)
To state a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress, a plaintiff must plausibly allege extreme and outrageous conduct by the defendant with the intention of causing, or reckless disregard of the probability of causing, emotional distress. A defendant's conduct is outrageous when it is so extreme as to exceed all bounds of that usually tolerated in a civilized community.
Plaintiff Abhijit Prasad appealed a federal district court's dismissal with prejudice of his First Amended Complaint in which he alleged causes of action for: (1) deprivation of a liberty interest without due process of law under 42 U.S.C.S. § 1983; (2) conspiracy to deprive him of his civil rights under 42 U.S.C.S. § 1985; and (3) intentional infliction of emotional distress ("IIED"). The gravamen of Prasad's action was that defendant Santa Clara Department of Social Services allowed allegations of child abuse lodged against Prasad in Santa Clara County to be included in the statewide Child Welfare System/Case Management System ("CWS/CMS") database without allowing Prasad a hearing to contest the inclusion of these allegations in the CWS/CMS.
Did the trial court by dismissing Prasad's complaint?
Yes, in part.
The appellate court held that as to the due process claim, while Prasad did not receive the opportunity to challenge his inclusion in the CWS/CMS via an administrative hearing, he was able to challenge the factual basis behind the same allegation of child abuse included in the CWS/CMS in a grievance hearing. Moreover, he was actively litigating related matters with respect to the Child Abuse Central Index, and if ultimately successful, he may have a plausible due process claim, Thus, it was error for the district court to dismiss the due process claim with prejudice. The district court did not err in dismissing Prasad's claim of conspiracy to deprive him of his civil rights. Prasad's bare allegation that county officials conspired against him on the basis of his "race and national origin" was wholly conclusory and unsupported by any facts alleged. The district court did not err in dismissing Prasad's IIED claim. To the extent that Prasad argued that the entry of the Santa Clara County allegations into the CWS/CMS proximately caused him emotional distress, he did not plausibly plead that that conduct was outrageous in the sense that it exceeded all bounds of that usually tolerated in a civilized society.
The appellate court affirmed the district court's dismissal of Prasad's complaint, affirmed the dismissal with prejudice as to Prasad's § 1985 and IIED claims, and vacated the dismissal with prejudice of Prasad's due process claim and remanded to the district court with instructions that the district court enter judgment dismissing Prasad's due process claim without prejudice to refiling after the state court proceedings were complete.
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