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Amadi v. McManus

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

July 12, 2016

BENNETH O. AMADI, Plaintiff,
v.
GARRETT McMANUS, THE DCF, COMMISSIONER LINDA S. SPEARS and SEAN A. BERNARD, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM & ORDER

          NATHANIEL M. GORTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This case arises from an ongoing custody proceeding in state juvenile court involving Benneth Amadi ("Amadi" or "plaintiff") and his four minor children. Amadi claims that a state court judge, a Massachusetts state agency and two of its officials violated his constitutional and civil rights in the course of that custody proceeding.

         Pending before the Court is plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction and defendants' motion to dismiss the complaint which this Court will treat as a motion to dismiss the amended complaint. For the reasons that follow, the motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction will be allowed and the motion for injunctive relief will be denied as moot.

         I. Background

         A. The parties

         Plaintiff Amadi is the father of four children, all under the age of 16, and a resident of Massachusetts. He is an attorney who appears in this case pro se.

         Defendant Garrett McManus ("Judge McManus") is the state court judge presiding over the state custody proceeding in the Lynn Session of the Essex County Juvenile Court ("the Juvenile Court").

         Defendant Massachusetts Department of Children and Families ("the DCF") is the party civilly prosecuting Amadi in the state custody proceeding.

         Defendant Linda Spears ("Commissioner Spears") is the Commissioner of the DCF.

         Defendant Sean Bernard ("Attorney Bernard") is the DCF attorney representing the DCF in the state custody proceeding.

         B. The alleged conduct

         In July, 2013, the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court ("the Probate Court"), which has jurisdiction over divorce proceedings in Massachusetts, entered a temporary order granting Amadi sole legal and physical custody of his four children.

         In January, 2014, the DCF commenced a separate "care-and-protection proceeding" in the Juvenile Court and removed the children from Amadi's custody. Amadi alleges that the DCF did so based on his gender and "because [he] is a man". The DCF defendants claim that they commenced the proceeding and removed the children in response to "reports that Amadi had abused and/or neglected his children". The Juvenile Court convened a temporary custody hearing, also known as a "72-hour hearing", shortly thereafter and transferred custody of the children to their mother. Amadi asserts that representatives of the DCF intentionally lied to and defrauded the Juvenile Court during the 72-hour hearing.

         Amadi declares that Attorney Bernard "unambiguously" informed Judge McManus during a subsequent pretrial hearing in the Juvenile Court that "the DCF ha[d] no case" and that the issues should instead be adjudicated in the Probate Court. Amadi characterizes Attorney Bernard's statement as a "judicial admission" that ...


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