Quimbee logo with url
From our private database of 14,900+ case briefs...

Doe v. South Carolina Department of Social Services

United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
597 F.3d 163 (2010)


Jane Doe (plaintiff) was taken into emergency protective custody by the South Carolina Department of Social Services (SCDSS) (defendant) at the age of four. Following an investigation, the family court found that Jane was physically neglected, and SCDSS was granted temporary custody of Jane Doe and her brother, Kameron. The children's therapist reported that it was likely that Jane and Kameron had experienced inappropriate sexual encounters with one another and with other adults. Jane was placed in foster care, and her brother was allowed to visit overnight. SCDSS then filed a successful petition to terminate Jane and Kameron's parents' parental rights, and the children were selected for adoption by Gregory and Michelle Johnson (plaintiffs). However, the Johnsons chose not to proceed with the adoption of Kameron due to concerns that he had inappropriately touched their biological son. A year later, Kameron admitted to his therapist that he had sexually abused Jane, the Johnsons' biological son, and several other foster children. Following this revelation, Jane began acting out sexually and abusing animals. The Johnsons then filed a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 suit on behalf of themselves and Jane. The Johnsons sued SCDSS and Debby Thompson (defendants), an adoption specialist at SCDSS. The suit alleged that SCDSS violated Jane's substantive due-process rights by placing her in foster care with Kameron while knowing that Kameron was sexually abusing Jane. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Thompson and SCDSS based on qualified and discretionary immunity. The Johnsons appealed the decision.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Traxler, C.J.)

Concurrence (Wilkinson, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 284,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,900 briefs, keyed to 201 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.