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John M. Baker and Katherine M. Swenson John M. Baker and Katherine M. Swenson

The Eighth Circuit recently affirmed the Rule 12 dismissal of a lawsuit brought by a father, his three children, and an association against a Minnesota county, its social-services agency, and 8th Circuit Spotlightseveral state and county officials. The case, Mitchell v. Dakota County Social Services, No. 19-1419 (8th Cir. May 19, 2020), involves troubling factual allegations, including that the county’s child-abuse investigation was motivated by racial animus, which must be taken as true at the motion-to-dismiss stage. Ultimately, the Eighth Circuit’s decision reflects that the removal of the children from their father’s custody was not unlawful given the evidence of physical harm to the children and the government’s “compelling interest in protecting minor children, especially when it is necessary to protect them from their parents.” Mitchell, slip op. at 7 (citing Dornheim v. Sholes, 430 F.3d 919, 925-26 (8th Cir. 2005)).

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