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Chagolla v. Vullo

United States District Court, D. Arizona

December 16, 2019

Jackie Chagolla, Plaintiff,
v.
Liz Vullo, Jessica Solis, Patricia Ward, and Robert Holya, Defendants.

          ORDER

          David G. Campbell Senior United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Jackie Chagolla alleges constitutional violations surrounding the removal of her minor children, B.C. and P.C. See Doc. 1-1 at 2. Defendants separately move for summary judgment. Docs. 104, 111. The motions are fully briefed, and oral argument has not been requested. Docs. 115-118. The Court will grant both motions.[1]

         I. Background.

         Defendants moved for summary judgment in April and May of this year. Docs. 104, 111. Although Plaintiff has responded, she did not comply with Local Rule of Civil Procedure 56.1. Despite being warned to do so, Plaintiff has not filed a separate statement of facts with numbered paragraphs corresponding to Defendants' separate statement of facts. See Doc. 108 at 2. The Court informed Plaintiff of her burden:

[Y]ou must set out specific facts in declarations, depositions, answers to interrogatories, or authenticated documents, as provided in Rule 56(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, that contradict the facts set forth in the declarations and documents filed by Defendant(s), and show that there is a genuine issue of material fact for trial. If you do not submit your own evidence in opposition, summary judgment, if appropriate, may be entered against you. If summary judgment is granted, your case will be dismissed and there will be no trial.

Id. Despite reiterating many of the arguments originally made in her complaint, Plaintiff provides no declarations, depositions, answers to interrogatories, or authenticated documents as allowed by Rule 56(e). See Docs. 115, 117. Nevertheless, the Court will consider the arguments Plaintiff has provided and will address the motions on the merits. The following facts state the parties' respective positions.

         On July 2, 2015, Tempe Police officers made contact with Plaintiff's minor daughters, B.C. and P.C. Doc. 104 at 1-2. B.C. and P.C. informed the officers that their father, Robert Chagolla, regularly abused them and that Plaintiff had ignored the abuse. Id. at 2. In response, the Tempe Police Department (“Tempe PD”) contacted the Arizona Department of Child Safety (“DCS”). Id. On July 6, 2015, DCS case worker Jessica Solis interviewed Plaintiff, B.C., P.C., and Robert Chagolla. Id. On that same day, the Tempe PD opened an investigation into allegations of the physical and sexual abuse of B.C. and P.C. by Robert Chagolla. Doc. 104 at 2. Following the interviews, Solis determined that B.C. and P.C. needed to be removed from the Chagolla home during the investigation into the alleged abuse. Docs. 104 at 2, 111 at 2.

         Rather than having B.C. and P.C. live in a group home during the investigation, Plaintiff asked Liz Vullo, a family friend, if they could live with her. Doc. 111 at 2. Vullo agreed and thereafter maintained custody of B.C. and P.C. for six months. Id. Vullo spoke with a detective from the Tempe PD and later with a representative from La Frontera, a mental health service, about B.C. and P.C. Id. at 3. Vullo claims that “she spoke truthfully” to the representative from La Frontera, which Plaintiff disputes. See Docs. 111 at 3, 117 at 1-2. Vullo also maintains - and Plaintiff disputes - that she never received any mail addressed to Plaintiff and that she did not publicly disclose any information about Plaintiff. Docs. 111 at 3, 117 at 2-3.

         Plaintiff now asserts constitutional claims against three state defendants and Vullo. See Doc. 71.

         II. Summary Judgment Standard.

         A party seeking summary judgment “bears the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for its motion, and identifying those portions of [the record] which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). Summary judgment is appropriate if the evidence, viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, shows “that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). Rule 56 further provides:

If a party fails to . . . properly address another party's assertion of fact as required by Rule 56(c), the court may . . . consider the fact undisputed for purposes of the motion [or] grant summary judgment if the motion and supporting materials - including the facts considered undisputed - show that the movant is entitled to it[.]

Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e)(3). Thus, a party opposing summary judgment “may not rest upon the mere allegations or denials of [the party's] pleadings, but . . . must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 n.11 (1986) (emphasis added); see LRCiv 56.1(b)

         (requiring the party opposing summary judgment to present evidence that establishes a genuine issue of material fact or otherwise ...


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