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Skipp v. Brigham

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

October 26, 2017

MARY BRIGHAM ET. AL. Defendants.


          Michael P. Shea, U.S.D.J.

         I. Introduction

         This ruling addresses three cases filed in this court by pro se plaintiff Susan Skipp (“Ms. Skipp”), all of which arise from Ms. Skipp's ongoing attempts[1] to regain custody of her children from her ex-husband: Skipp v. Brigham (17-cv-01224), Skipp v. Tittle (17-cv-01569), and Skipp v. Brigham (17-cv-01761). The cases were consolidated because they raise similar claims against different subsets of the same group of defendants. In Skipp v. Brigham (17-cv-01224), Ms. Skipp sets out sixteen counts against eighty different defendants. She alleges defendants violated: (i) Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) (counts one through twelve, fourteen); (ii) Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (“Rehabilitation Act”) (count thirteen); (iii) the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”) (count fifteen); and (iv) the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Civil Rights Act”) (count sixteen).[2] In Skipp v. Brigham (17-cv-01569), Ms. Skipp brings a claim under Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), and 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against United States District Court Judge Jeffrey Meyer. Finally, in Skipp v. Tittle (17-cv-01569), Ms. Skipp petitions the court for a writ of habeas corpus enjoining defendants, Ms. Skipp's ex-husband and another, to return custody of Ms. Skipp's children to her.

         Only the defendants in Skipp et al v. Brigham et al (17-cv-01224) have filed a motion to dismiss. Defendants Mary Brigham and Mary Brigham Law LLC move to dismiss Ms. Skipp's second amended complaint in that case under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1), Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(2), Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(4), and Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(5). They also move to dismiss the complaint under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). For the reasons set forth below, the defendants' motion to dismiss in that case is GRANTED. Ms. Skipp's other cases, which bring similarly deficient claims, are also DISMISSED. Finally, Ms. Skipp is hereby placed on notice that a further attempt to make any filing in this court (except a notice of appeal) related to the factual allegations raised in the complaints filed in any of these cases (i.e. Skipp v. Brigham (17-cv-01224), Skipp v. Brigham (17-cv-01761), and Skipp v. Tittle (17-cv-01569)) could result in the imposition of a leave-to-file injunction, which would prevent her from making further filings related to the allegations in these cases in this court without special permission.

         II. Plaintiff's Claims

         A. Skipp et al v. Brigham et al (17-cv-01224) (Second Amended Complaint)

         i. ADA (counts 1-12, 14)

         Ms. Skipp sets out thirteen counts alleging violations of the ADA and 42 U.S.C. § 12203, which prohibits retaliation, intimidation, or coercion targeted at parties that raise claims under the ADA. (ECF No. 22 at 58-106, 108-109). Each count save for one ends with the same allegation that “[a]ll defendants knew or should have known that the court had no jurisdiction to open and modify the contract that two parents signed regarding the care, custody, financial consideration (sic) of the two plaintiff minor children (sic) and such (sic) was an interference of the plaintiff mothers (sic) right to contract, such interference is prohibited by 42 USC 12203 (sic).” (Id. at ¶ 172, 184, 193, 217, 243, 269, 282, 283, 300). The reference to “the court” appears to refer to a 2012 Connecticut Superior Court decision that modified Ms. Skipp's custody of her children, granting sole legal custody of the children to their father. See Tittle v. Skipp-Tittle, No. UWYFA104022992S, 2012 WL 5476915, at *11-12 (Conn. Super. Ct. Oct. 16, 2012), aff'd, 150 Conn.App. 64 (2014). Nearly all of the defendants listed in Ms. Skipp's counts either denied her subsequent legal challenges, [3] or had some connection to Ms. Skipp's attempts to challenge the Superior Court's decision over the past five years.[4]

         The twelfth count is the only one that does not end with the sentence noting that the defendants listed “knew or should have known” that the state court lacked the jurisdiction necessary to modify Ms. Skipp's custody of her children. (Id. at ¶ 302). That count, which identifies as defendants the Connecticut Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (CCAFCC), along with several related actors, alleges that the listed defendants “used plaintiff's family to obtain federal ‘access' grants via [funding from a congressional initiative] to further discriminate against [plaintiffs].” (Id.).

         ii. Rehabilitation Act (count 13)

         Ms. Skipp also alleges a violation of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 701 et seq., against two judges, two states, and various actors associated with these entities. She contends that each defendant receives federal funding either “directly or indirectly, ” and that all of them refused to provide her with the reasonable accommodations necessary for her to take part in their judicial forums. (Id. at ¶ 303, 314). The complaint also avers that defendants' refusal to provide Ms. Skipp with the necessary reasonable accommodations constituted part of a pattern of discrimination against single mothers perpetrated in order to receive federal funding via the “Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood (HRMF) initiative.” (Id. at ¶ 310).

         iii. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (count 15)

         Ms. Skipp contends that one Pimm Moses, an administrator at her children's elementary school, violated the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), 20 U.S.C. § 1232g, by refusing to provide Ms. Skipp with her children's educational records. (Id. at ¶ 319).

         iv. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 (count 16)

         Ms. Skipp alleges that defendants “gave plaintiff's former husband [greater] access to the children” without cause in order to obtain federal funding via the HRMF initiative. (Id. at ¶ 319-321).

         B. Skipp v. Brigham (17-cv-01569) (amended complaint)

         Ms. Skipp sets out a complaint against United States District Judge Jeffrey Meyer under the onus of Bivens v. Six Unknown Narcotics Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971) and 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (ECF No. 7 at ¶ 1-2).[5] In her complaint, Ms. Skipp contends that Judge Meyer “endeavored to obstruct justice, engaged in selective prosecution and colluded with several of the Defendants.” (Id. at ¶ 7). She also alleges that Judge Meyer discriminated against her based on her disabilities throughout her judicial proceedings before him, thereby violating the ADA. (Id. at ¶ 13-15). Finally, Ms. Skipp contends that Judge Meyer's rulings against her constituted discrimination based upon her disability. (Id. at ¶ 33).

         C. Skipp v. Tittle (17-cv-01761)

         Ms. Skipp also filed a petition for habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 seeking the return of her children into her custody. (ECF No. 1 at ¶ 3.). She alleges that the children are currently residing in Houston, Texas, in the custody of defendants Shawn Tittle and Laura Choi.[6](Id. at ¶ 9-10). Ms. Skipp advances a number of allegations in her petition, all of which center around the contention that the divestiture of the children from Ms. Skipp's custody violated her constitutional rights. (Id. at ¶ 6-19).

         III. ...

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