220 F.Supp. 124 (N.D.Ill. 1963), 63 C 189, Redding v. Pate

Docket Nº:63 C 189.
Citation:220 F.Supp. 124
Party Name:Edward REDDING, Plaintiff, v. Frank J. PATE, Dr. Venckus and Rev. A. A. Sorensen, Defendants.
Case Date:June 18, 1963
Court:United States District Courts, 7th Circuit, Northern District of Illinois

Page 124

220 F.Supp. 124 (N.D.Ill. 1963)

Edward REDDING, Plaintiff,


Frank J. PATE, Dr. Venckus and Rev. A. A. Sorensen, Defendants.

No. 63 C 189.

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division.

June 18, 1963

Page 125

William R. Ming, Jr., Chicago, Ill., for plaintiff.

Daniel N. Kadjan, Asst. Atty. Gen., William G. Clark, Atty. Gen. of Illinois, Chicago, Ill., for defendants.

WILL, District Judge.

Edward Redding is a prisoner in the Illinois State Penitentiary at Joliet. He filed a complaint in this Court which seeks an injunction and a declaratory judgment that his rights 'may have been abrogated under color of State Law' by certain prison officials including the Warden, Frank J. Pate. The complaint also asserts that 'jurisdiction is invoked, absent diversity of citizenship or jurisdictional amount, under (the) Doctrine of * * * Ortega v. Ragen, 216 F.2d 561 (7th Cir., 1954.)' 1

Defendant Pate has moved to dismiss the complaint as to him. His motion attacked the Court's jurisdiction on the ground that plaintiff has failed to allege either diversity of citizenship or the requisite dollar amount, both of which he claims are necessary to maintain a declaratory judgment action herein. Alternatively, defendant asserts that 'the presence of a federal question has not been demonstrated. * * *'

The allegations of the complaint, obviously prepared by the prisoner, which the Court is bound in the interests of justice to interpret with liberality, 2 are as follows:

Plaintiff states that he is an epileptic who has recently suffered intense daily

Page 126

headaches for which he has received inadequate treatment. He charges that this treatment has taken the form of prescriptions for medication and laboratory tests, but that he has never been examined by the prison physician, even in the wake of new attacks. He further charges that he was 'rebuked by the doctor, falsely accused of abusing the privilige to make sick call, punished by the captain and denied the opportunity to see the Warden, Frank J. Pate.' It is also asserted that he has been unjustly consigned to the coal pile and compelled to cell alone. It appears from the complaint that these latter actions were taken both as a result of the alleged sick call violations and as a result of information, the truth of which plaintiff vigorously denies, that while under sentence in a Florida penal institution he, as a Negro, had associated with a white inmate who was thought to be a homosexual.

Two supplemental documents (each entitled 'Additional Statement of Fact') have been received from the plaintiff. They reassert the allegations of the complaint and charge the defendants with further unwarranted action in retaliation for the filing of this lawsuit.

It is well settled that a suit to redress the deprivation of a federal civil right is maintainable in this or any other federal district court regardless of diversity of citizenship or jurisdictional amount (neither of which are pleaded herein). Ortega v. Ragen, supra. Accordingly, the crucial inquiry on the motion is whether the complaint alleges facts and otherwise affords a basis for a claim which is cognizable under the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981-1995.

The vast majority of cases in which relief has been sought in the federal courts for asserted maltreatment of state prisoners by prison officials have been dismissed without a hearing on the merit. The grounds for dismissal have variously been (1) the inapplicability to the States of the Eighth Amendment's guarantee against cruel and unusual punishment, 3 (2) the failure to exhaust existing State remedies, 4 (3) the notion that an assumption of jurisdiction would constitute an unwarranted intrusion in the internal discipline of State...

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