After hospital staff got into a dispute with Appellant, Antonio Langarica, the hospital defendants convinced the social worker defendants that Antonio had a bad attitude and needed to be brought into line. They then worked together with the social worker defendants to remove Antonio Langarica and Jacqueline Arce’s children, A.L. and N.L., from their care without a warrant, in the absence of any exigent circumstances, and when in fact Antonio and Jacqueline had done nothing wrong and were providing a safe home for their children.
Once the children were ensconced in foster care, the social worker defendants, including Eva Yamtobian and her supervisor Sydney Tucker, and Robert Woolridge and his supervisor Nancy Bryden, then lied to the juvenile court in order to continue to detain the children and prolong the litigation of the juvenile dependency case. The juvenile court found Antonio and Jacqueline innocent of any wrongdoing and dismissed the case finding there was no evidence to suggest Antonio and Jacqueline had injured, or would injure, their children.
Even after the juvenile dependency case was dismissed, the social worker defendants continued to harass Antonio, who was forced to quit his job, and Jacqueline, who was forced to quit school at California State University Northridge, so they could relocate to another part of the state in order to avoid the harassing phone calls, demands, and outrageous antics of the social worker defendants.
This family seeks to be compensated for the grievous harms the defendants inflicted in wrongfully removing A.L. and N.L. from their family home. The harassment continued even after the juvenile case had been dismissed based on complete lack of evidence.
Antonio, Jacqueline, N.L. and A.L. sued under 42 U.S.C. section 1983, alleging the social worker defendants violated their rights to due process of law, familial association, privacy, and their right to be free from false allegations made by the government – all arising under the United States Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment. A.L. and N.L. also sued under 42 U.S.C. section 1983 for violation of their Fourth Amendment rights to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.
In ruling on the defendants demurrer, the trial court found that all of the alleged misconduct of the social workers was excused because the trial court believed there were exigent circumstances to support the conduct of the defendants. The Appellate Court reversed the trial court and remanded the case in a scathing published opinion.