« Ind. Gov't. - More on: Civil rights issues related to gender identity and sexual orientation | Main | Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit decided a second Indiana case yesterday, re self-defense in prison »

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit decides one Indiana case today, re a child care ministry

In Rebirth Christian Academy Daycare v. Melanie Brizzi (SD Ind., Barker), a 17-page opinion, Judge Rovner writes:

Rebirth Christian Academy Daycare, an Indiana non‐profit corporation, ran a child care ministry—a “child care operated by a church or religious ministry that is a religious organization exempt from federal income taxation.” IND. CODE § 12‐7‐2‐28.8. A state agency re voked Rebirth’s registration after an inspector concluded that the organization had violated several statutory and regulatory provisions governing registered child care minis‐ tries. Rebirth sued state officials for damages and injunctive relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, claiming that they had violated the due‐process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment by revoking its registration without providing it with an opportunity to be heard. The district court dismissed Rebirth’s in dividual‐capacity claims, concluding that qualified immunity protected the defendants from liability for civil damages because they had not violated clearly established law. After the parties developed an evidentiary record on the official‐capacity claims, Rebirth ultimately prevailed on its claims for injunctive relief. It now challenges the district court’s dismissal of its claims for damages against the defendants sued in their individual capacities. We conclude that, based on the allegations in the complaint, the defend‐ ants were not entitled to qualified immunity because they violated clearly established law: the complaint adequately alleges that they deprived Rebirth of a property interest without first providing an opportunity for some type of hearing. Accordingly, we reinstate Rebirth’s individual‐capacity claims and remand for further proceed ings. * * *

In sum, we do not decide the type of pre‐deprivation hearing that Rebirth was entitled to or that Rebirth shall now recover damages. We conclude only that Rebirth’s complaint alleges that the appellees personally violated clearly estab‐lished law by depriving Rebirth of a property interest (its registration) without first providing Rebirth with any opportunity to be heard. Rebirth will, of course, need more than allegations to prevail on these claims; it will need evidence proving that these defendants were personally involved in the constitutional violation. Given the procedural posture of this case, the district court should, if necessary, provide Rebirth with an opportunity for additional discovery so that it may obtain such evidence.

Accordingly, the judgment of the district court is VACATED only to the extent that it dismisses Rebirth’s individual‐capacity claims against Brizzi and Gargano, and the case is REMANDED to the district court for further pro ceedings consistent with this opinion.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on August 30, 2016 02:53 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions