349 F.Supp. 452 (S.D.Tex. 1972), Civ. A. 71-H-973, Dreyer v. Jalet

Docket NºCiv. A. 71-H-973
Citation349 F.Supp. 452
Party NameDreyer v. Jalet
Case DateSeptember 18, 1972
CourtUnited States District Courts, 5th Circuit, Southern District of Texas

Page 452

349 F.Supp. 452 (S.D.Tex. 1972)

Freddie H. DREYER, Plaintiff,

v.

Frances JALET, Defendant.

Robert SLAYMAN, Plaintiff,

v.

Frances T. Freeman JALET, Defendant.

Donald Allen LOCK, Plaintiff,

v.

Frances T. Freeman JALET, Defendant.

Civ. A. Nos. 71-H-973, 71-H-1149 and 72-H-246.

United States District Court, S.D. Texas

Sept. 18, 1972

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Max H. Jennings, Clawson & Jennings, Houston, Tex., for plaintiff Dreyer.

Thomas M. Phillips, Baker & Botts, Houston, Tex., for plaintiff Slayman.

Donald K. Eckhardt, Haynsworth, Reynolds, Steber, Eckhardt & Graml, Houston, Tex., for plaintiff Lock.

William W. Kilgarlin, Kilgarlin & Dixon; Frederick S. Grossberg; William K. Kimble; Stuart M. Nelkin; Henry M. Rosenblum, Rosenthal, Didion, Rosenblum & Co.; David H. Berg; Houston, Tex., for defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

CARL O. BUE, Jr., District Judge.

I.

THE NATURE OF THE LITIGATION

In these three closely related civil actions plaintiffs, prisoners in the custody of the Texas Department of Corrections, seek injunctive relief in an effort to bar defendant, a VISTA lawyer who is licensed to practice law in the State of Texas, from the prison system as a result of her alleged activities to organize

Page 457

and, in effect, to instigate an uprising among the inmate population within the Texas prison system. Jurisdiction is predicated upon (1) the Civil Rights Act of 1871, 42 U.S.C. § 1983; (2) diversity of citizenship, 28 U.S.C. § 1332; and (3) the Court's pendent jurisdiction in conjunction with the Texas injunctive statute, Tex.Rev.Civ.Stat.Ann. art. 4642.

A.

THE COMPLAINTS

In dramatically worded complaints plaintiffs allege that defendant has organized and implemented a conspiracy with recalcitrant inmate-clients which is aided by the unwitting acquiescence or response of prison officials or employees. Such conspiracy is allegedly aimed at the overthrow of the administration of the Texas Department of Corrections (TDC) by causing violence, threats of violence, unrest among inmates, planned incidents and confusion through the dissemination of false rumors. It is alleged that defendant in furthering her plans in conspiracy with other inmate-clients has caused plaintiffs to be threatened and beaten because they would not yield to such plans to promote unrest and violence within the various units of the TDC. It is additionally asserted that in effecting the conspiracy defendant has made over five hundred visits to various inmates in the TDC and that through the use of the rules regulating such visits and the unwitting acquiescence or response to the TDC officials in permitting her to see them she has succeeded in establishing numerous ostensible attorney-client relationships in furtherance of her conspiratorial goals. The claim is made that as a consequence plaintiffs have suffered irreparable injury in derogation of their right to be free from harassment, intimidation, physical injury, threats of death, and cruel and unusual punishment pursuant to the Fourteenth and Eighth Amendments of the United States Constitution as well as deprivation of their vested rights and privileges as inmates of the TDC pursuant to Texas statute.

In the first lawsuit plaintiff Dreyer alleges that the defendant attempted to recruit him to join the unlawful conspiracy and upon his repeated refusals he was threatened and later beaten by her inmate-clients and agents. This prisoner also contends that he lost his prison job and privilege to work as a result of these actions. In the second lawsuit, plaintiff Slayman asserts that defendant attempted to coerce him into signing a false statement concerning the death of a fellow inmate in which the blame was to be squarely placed upon the brutality of prison officials. This prisoner also contends that defendant attempted to coerce him into testifying in Court about brutality practices of prison officials of which he had no knowledge or desire to give testimony. Thereafter, defendant's inmate-clients allegedly threatened this prisoner's life. In the third lawsuit, plaintiff Lock asserts that the defendant attempted to coerce him into signing a fictitious statement which charged that a warden had brutally beaten him. Upon his repeated refusals, this prisoner was allegedly threatened and later beaten by defendant's inmate-clients.

B.

THE ANSWERS AND THE COUNTERCLAIMS

In response to plaintiffs' charges, defendant asserts that the various complaints fail to state a viable cause of action under the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and that there is a lack of diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332. In regard to the latter contention it is urged that there is both a lack of diversity of citizenship and an absence of the requisite jurisdictional amount in controversy in order to satisfy such statute. The defendant further contends that the rights asserted to have been violated are incapable of the requisite pecuniary valuation. It is also claimed that only plaintiff Lock may seek relief based upon any theory of pendent jurisdiction

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since, according to defendant, only he has properly pleaded for such relief.

With regard to the specific factual allegations of the plaintiffs, defendant asserts that the visits and the communications with the inmate-clients at TDC were entirely legitimate attorney-client relationships which never embraced the consideration of violence in any form. Defendant contends that any inmate response to her efforts to assist them was a necessary concomitant of a justifiable and legal pursuit to rectify improper practices and conditions predominating in the TDC. It is further urged that if plaintiffs were, in fact, harassed or beaten by fellow inmates, which is denied, such actions were not in any way suggested, encouraged, approved, or acquiesced in by defendant. Finally, it is contended that these lawsuits were specifically instigated by plaintiffs as a result of promises of benefits made to plaintiffs including early paroles, or, conversely, as a result of threats of reprisal by TDC officials if there was a lack of cooperation in the prosecution of these actions by the plaintiffs.

In further response to plaintiffs' complaints, defendant has counterclaimed in each action for damages. In these counterclaims it is asserted that the complaints of plaintiffs are a part of an overall conspiracy originated and manipulated by the Director of the Texas Department of Corrections and joined in by the Attorney General of Texas to deprive defendant of her right to practice law and to consult with inmate-clients confined at the TDC. In this regard defendant asserts that in the course of her representation of inmate-clients various meritorious civil actions have been instigated against the TDC. It is contended that as a result of these actions inmates have been successful in some instances in having many condemnatory TDC practices and conditions censured by Court ruling. Defendant urges that the TDC Director and the prison administration have attempted to bar her from representing inmates solely to preclude further public criticism and adverse court action condemning the operations and management of the TDC. The effect of this conspiracy, according to the counterclaims, will be to terminate the attorney-client relationships which presently exist between defendant and certain inmate-clients with a resulting interference with her right to practice law. To secure the ouster of defendant, it is alleged in the counterclaims that the TDC Director and State Attorney General have used the plaintiffs as mere unknowing conduits in this unlawful conspiracy. It is asserted that as a result of this conspiracy defendant has suffered anxiety, distress and a loss of reputation as a practicing lawyer to her substantial professional and monetary detriment.

C.

THE PRELIMINARY MATTERS

Preliminarily and prior to the evidentiary hearing in these civil actions, the Court, upon application of the inmate plaintiffs and submission of proof of indigency, appointed counsel to represent each of them in these proceedings. Inasmuch as all three actions involved a common question of law and closely related facts, and upon the motion of defendant, the Court ordered a consolidation of the lawsuits pursuant to Rule 42(a), Fed.R.Civ.P. See Ellerman Lines, Ltd. v. Atlantic & Gulf Stevedores, Inc., 339 F.2d 673 (3d Cir. 1964), cert. denied, 382 U.S. 812, 86 S.Ct. 23, 15 L.Ed.2d 60 (1965). Similarly, in order to avoid an unnecessary complication of issues at the evidentiary hearing and to advance judicial expedition and economy, the Court ordered that the counterclaims of defendant be severed pursuant to Rule 42(b), Fed.R.Civ.P. See Big Cola Corp. v. World Bottling Co., 134 F.2d 718 (6th Cir. 1943).

As a final preliminary matter, the Court denied defendant's motion or application, prior to the evidentiary hearing, to proceed in forma pauperis in defense of these lawsuits pursuant to 28

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U.S.C. § 1915 . However, at the time of the hearing defendant submitted a second in forma pauperis application. The second application was predicated on the alleged basis that a material change in defendant's financial status had recently occurred, primarily the added cost of supporting her newly acquired husband, Fred A. Cruz, meriting reconsideration of the application.

In order to properly resolve the propriety of defendant's application for leave to proceed in forma pauperis, it is necessary to survey the applicable law in some depth. The in forma pauperis statute provides that a trial court "may authorize the commencement, prosecution or defense of...

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39 practice notes
  • 354 F.Supp. 505 (N.D.Cal. 1973), C-72-928, Allen v. Nelson
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 9th Circuit
    • 15 de Fevereiro de 1973
    ...v. Pegelow, 313 F.2d 548, 550-551 (4th Cir. 1963); Black v. United States Warden, 467 F.2d 202 (10th Cir. 1972); Dreyer v. Jalet, 349 F.Supp. 452, 482 (S.D.Tex.1972). The objection to this test is that it provides no guideposts; a court makes a subjective determination after the particular ......
  • 401 F.Supp. 687 (N.D.Ga. 1975), Civ. C75-1975, Board of Ed. of City of Atlanta v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Emp., AFL-CIO
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 11th Circuit Northern District of Georgia
    • 24 de Outubro de 1975
    ...1985(3) pertain to racial or other class-based conduct aimed at a denial of the equal employment of basic rights.' Dreyer v. Jalet, 349 F.Supp. 452, 465 (S.D. Tex. 1972), aff'd 479 F.2d 1044 (5th Cir. Page 692 2 Neither the complaint nor the petition for removal so much as imply that there ......
  • 540 F.Supp. 885 (S.D.Tex. 1982), Civ. A. H-81-1358, Ezon v. Cornwall Equities Ltd.
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 5th Circuit Southern District of Texas
    • 30 de Março de 1982
    ...exceeding the jurisdictional amount suffices if the amount can be ascertained pursuant to some realistic formula." Dreyer v. Jalet, 349 F.Supp. 452, 465 The parties agree that the amount in controversy in a forcible detainer action is the value of the right of possession of the leaseho......
  • 83 F.R.D. 624 (E.D.Va. 1979), C. A. 78-0271-R, Moss v. ITT Continental Baking Co.
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 4th Circuit Eastern District of Virginia
    • 9 de Outubro de 1979
    ...its logical soundness. Haymes v. Smith, supra at 574; Clark v. Hendrix, supra at 975 (Allison rejected as untenable); Dreyer v. Jalet, 349 F.Supp. 452, 486-87 (S.D.Tex.1972) (Allison rejected as unsound). Research has revealed no case which follows the dictum in Allison or which fully incor......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
39 cases
  • 354 F.Supp. 505 (N.D.Cal. 1973), C-72-928, Allen v. Nelson
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 9th Circuit
    • 15 de Fevereiro de 1973
    ...v. Pegelow, 313 F.2d 548, 550-551 (4th Cir. 1963); Black v. United States Warden, 467 F.2d 202 (10th Cir. 1972); Dreyer v. Jalet, 349 F.Supp. 452, 482 (S.D.Tex.1972). The objection to this test is that it provides no guideposts; a court makes a subjective determination after the particular ......
  • 401 F.Supp. 687 (N.D.Ga. 1975), Civ. C75-1975, Board of Ed. of City of Atlanta v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Emp., AFL-CIO
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 11th Circuit Northern District of Georgia
    • 24 de Outubro de 1975
    ...1985(3) pertain to racial or other class-based conduct aimed at a denial of the equal employment of basic rights.' Dreyer v. Jalet, 349 F.Supp. 452, 465 (S.D. Tex. 1972), aff'd 479 F.2d 1044 (5th Cir. Page 692 2 Neither the complaint nor the petition for removal so much as imply that there ......
  • 540 F.Supp. 885 (S.D.Tex. 1982), Civ. A. H-81-1358, Ezon v. Cornwall Equities Ltd.
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 5th Circuit Southern District of Texas
    • 30 de Março de 1982
    ...exceeding the jurisdictional amount suffices if the amount can be ascertained pursuant to some realistic formula." Dreyer v. Jalet, 349 F.Supp. 452, 465 The parties agree that the amount in controversy in a forcible detainer action is the value of the right of possession of the leaseho......
  • 83 F.R.D. 624 (E.D.Va. 1979), C. A. 78-0271-R, Moss v. ITT Continental Baking Co.
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 4th Circuit Eastern District of Virginia
    • 9 de Outubro de 1979
    ...its logical soundness. Haymes v. Smith, supra at 574; Clark v. Hendrix, supra at 975 (Allison rejected as untenable); Dreyer v. Jalet, 349 F.Supp. 452, 486-87 (S.D.Tex.1972) (Allison rejected as unsound). Research has revealed no case which follows the dictum in Allison or which fully incor......
  • Request a trial to view additional results