345 F.Supp. 683 (N.D.Ohio 1972), C 70-343, Lawton v. Nightingale

Docket Nº:C 70-343.
Citation:345 F.Supp. 683
Party Name:Charles LAWTON, Jr., by and through his next friend and father, Charles Lawton, Sr., Plaintiff, v. Homer NIGHTINGALE, Supt. Board of Education, Washington Local School District, et al., Defendants.
Case Date:June 27, 1972
Court:United States District Courts, 6th Circuit, Northern District of Ohio
 
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Page 683

345 F.Supp. 683 (N.D.Ohio 1972)

Charles LAWTON, Jr., by and through his next friend and father, Charles Lawton, Sr., Plaintiff,

v.

Homer NIGHTINGALE, Supt. Board of Education, Washington Local School District, et al., Defendants.

No. C 70-343.

United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Western Division.

June 27, 1972

Page 684

Nathan K. Miller, Toledo, Ohio, for plaintiff.

Patrick J. Johnson, Toledo, Ohio, for defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

DON J. YOUNG, District Judge:

This is a civil rights action, brought under the provisions of Title 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In its present posture, the only issue remaining to be considered is the right of the plaintiff to recover damages. The defendants timely filed a demand for jury trial of this issue. This Court, sua sponte, issued an order to the defendants to show cause why their demand for a jury trial should not be stricken.

The defendants have responded to this order by claiming that under the Seventh Amendment to the Constitution all actions for damages, even those incidental to actions primarily for equitable relief, are triable to a jury. As authority for this position they cite Beacon Theatres v. Westover, 359 U.S. 500, 79 S.Ct. 948, 3 L.Ed.2d 988 (1959), and Dairy Queen, Inc. v. Wood, 369 U.S. 469, 82 S.Ct. 894, 8 L.Ed.2d 44 (1962), together with several decisions of the Circuit Courts of Appeals, including Bereslavsky v. Kloeb, 162 F.2d 862 (6th Cir.1947).

It might perhaps be useful at this point to refer to the language of the Constitution itself, rather than the gloss put upon it by the courts. The Seventh Amendment is brief, simple, and explicit.

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

It cannot be pretended that the present action is a "Suit at common law." Quite the contrary, the action is brought under a statute, and the enactment of the statute itself was under the provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. Hence the authorities cited by the defendants, dealing as they do with totally different factual and legal situations are without authority in the present case.

The law is well established that the various special statutory...

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