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Thomas v. Nationwide Children's Hospital

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

February 14, 2018

Daniel Thomas; Anna Thomas; Chad Burley, individually and as a father and legal guardian of LAB, LGB, SB, and JB, minors; Russell Moore; Lori Burley; Jessica Rose, individually and as a mother and legal guardian of GM, a minor, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
Nationwide Children's Hospital; The Center for Family Safety and Healing; The Center for Child and Family Advocacy; Dr. Farah Wadia Brink; Dr. Jonathan Thackeray; Franklin County Children Services; Dr. Corey J. Rood, Defendants-Appellees.

          Argued: January 30, 2018

         Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio at Columbus. No. 2:14-cv-01236-Edmund A. Sargus, Jr., Chief District Judge.

         ARGUED:

          C. Benjamin Cooper, COOPER & ELLIOTT, LLC, Columbus, Ohio, for Appellants.

          William G. Porter, VORYS, SATER, SEYMOUR AND PEASE LLP, Columbus, Ohio, for Nationwide Children's Hospital Appellees.

          Nick A. Soulas, Jr., FRANKLIN COUNTY, Columbus, Ohio, for Appellee Franklin County.

         ON BRIEF:

          C. Benjamin Cooper, Barton R. Keyes, COOPER & ELLIOTT, LLC, Columbus, Ohio, for Appellants.

          William G. Porter, Martha Brewer Motley, Angelyne Lisinski, VORYS, SATER, SEYMOUR AND PEASE LLP, Columbus, Ohio, Steven W. Tigges, Ariel A. Brough, ZEIGER, TIGGES & LITTLE LLP, Columbus, Ohio, for Nationwide Children's Hospital Appellees

          Nick A. Soulas, Jr., Jesse W. Armstrong, FRANKLIN COUNTY, Columbus, Ohio, for Appellee Franklin County.

          Before: SUHRHEINRICH, SUTTON, and BUSH, Circuit Judges.

          OPINION

          SUTTON, CIRCUIT JUDGE.

         Medical personnel treated three infants, between 19-days old and six-months old, in the emergency room of Nationwide Children's Hospital for serious injuries, including skull fractures and a broken leg. Nationwide's physicians suspected child abuse, and they conducted x-rays, a CT scan, and blood testing to identify additional injuries, after which they alerted Franklin County Children Services of their concerns.

         The parents of the infants filed a § 1983 claim against Nationwide and the County (among others), alleging that the medical testing violated their children's Fourth (and Fourteenth) Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and their own Fourteenth Amendment right to familial association. The district court granted summary judgment to Nationwide and the County. Because state action did not prompt Nationwide, a private hospital, to perform the ...


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