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Occean v. Kearney
United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida
123 F. Supp. 2d 618 (2000)
When Kervin Occean (plaintiff) was 11 years old, Florida’s Department of Children and Family Services (DCF) removed him from the custody of his Bahamian mother and eventually placed him in foster care at a behavioral-modification facility. The juvenile court with oversight of Occean’s case ordered the DCF not to change Occean’s residence without the court’s approval. As Occean approached adulthood, he needed to complete high school and obtain the green card that would allow him to work in the United States as a legal alien. Florida statutes and administrative regulations entitled Occean to the DCF’s support in reaching these goals until he turned 21. Occean and the DCF had also agreed on a plan whereby the DCF would help Occean obtain vocational training and would let Occean continue living at the foster-care facility for several months after he turned 18. However, on Occean’s eighteenth birthday, the day that Occean legally became an adult, the DCF ordered him expelled from the foster-care facility, cut off all support, and closed Occean’s case file, all without following the DCF’s own administrative procedure, obtaining the juvenile court’s approval, or giving Occean any opportunity for a hearing. Occean subsequently fell afoul of the law and was arrested. While awaiting deportation to the Bahamas, Occean filed a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 suit against Kathleen Kearney (defendant), in her capacity as secretary of the DCF, for violating Occean’s Fourteenth Amendment rights to substantive and procedural due process. Kearney moved to dismiss Occean’s case.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Dimitrouleas, J.)
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