353 F.2d 825 (8th Cir. 1965), 18006, Jenson v. Olson

Docket Nº:18006.
Citation:353 F.2d 825
Party Name:Roger W. JENSON, Appellant, v. T. O. OLSON, James Gooley, Arnold A. Matta, and H. V. Jensen, Thomas Kachelmacher, Glen Galles and John Burmeister, Appellees.
Case Date:December 16, 1965
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

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353 F.2d 825 (8th Cir. 1965)

Roger W. JENSON, Appellant,


T. O. OLSON, James Gooley, Arnold A. Matta, and H. V. Jensen, Thomas Kachelmacher, Glen Galles and John Burmeister, Appellees.

No. 18006.

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit.

December 16, 1965

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James Malcolm Williams, Minneapolis, Minn., for appellant.

G. V. Johnson, Asst. City Atty., Minneapolis, Minn., for appellees.

Before MATTHES and GIBSON, Circuit Judges, and REGAN, District Judge.

GIBSON, Circuit Judge.

Appellant, Roger W. Jenson (referred to hereafter as plaintiff) appeals from an order of the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota, dismissing his amended complaint for the reason 'that the pleadings herein failed to state a claim against defendants or any of them upon which relief can be granted.'

The defendants all hold either municipal positions with, or are employees of, the city of Minneapolis. They are: Glen Galles, Thomas Kachelmacher and John Burmeister, Commissioners of the Civil Service Commission; H. V. Jensen, Superintendent of the Relief of the Public Relief Division of the Board of Public Welfare; Arnold A. Matta, Administrative Assistant of the Public Relief Division of the Board of Public Welfare; James Gooley, Unit Supervisor of the Central Office of the Public Relief Division of the Board of Public Welfare; T. O. Olson, Director of Casework Services of the Public Relief Division of the Board of Public Welfare. The defendants other than the Civil Service Commissioners were either superiors of plaintiff or were those holding positions in the Department of Public Welfare who testified adversely to plaintiff in a hearing before the Civil Service Commission.

Plaintiff was employed as a case worker by the Department of Public Welfare, Public Relief Division for a period commencing November 23, 1959 until his suspension on December 8, 1961 for 'misconduct.' Plaintiff's difficulties are the result of his case reports. In these reports he made repeated criticisms and charges relative to political influence and fraud in the Welfare Department as well as alleging inequities and inefficiencies within the departmental operation.

Plaintiff demanded a hearing which he was entitled to as a matter of right. 1 The Civil Service Commission made certain findings of fact and on the basis of

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these facts ordered plaintiff discharged. 2 The proceedings before the Civil Service Commission were reviewed by certiorari and affirmed by the States District Court and, upon appeal, affirmed by the Minnesota Supreme Court. See, State of Minnesota ex rel. Jenson v. Civil Service Commission of City of Minneapolis et al., 268 Minn. 536, 130 N.W.2d 143, 147 (1964), cert. denied 380 U.S. 943, 85 S.Ct. 1023, 13 L.Ed.2d 962 (March 15, 1965), in which the Court said:

'The record, as demonstrated by the exhibits, is replete with instances of his pertinacious refusal to follow the instructions of his superiors, to obey orders, and to conform to departmental requirements and procedures deemed important and vital to the conduct of public business, all of which the commission was at liberty to regard as misconduct justifying dismissal.'

Prior to a denial of Certiorari by the Supreme Court of the United States, plaintiff filed the present complaint in the United States District Court.

On the merits of the original charges against plaintiff we express no opinion. The Minneapolis City Charter and the state statute protected him from arbitrary dismissal. The adequate state procedure was reviewed and affirmed by the Minnesota courts with certiorari being denied by the United States Supreme Court. These proceedings are res judicata on the issue of plaintiff's discharge for misconduct and the merits are not a proper subject for review by the Federal Courts. As stated in Hanna v. Home Insurance Co.,281 F.2d 298, 303 (5 Cir. 1960), 'A federal district court has no original jurisdiction to reverse or modify the judgment of a state court.' More specifically Bailey v. Richardson, 86 U.S.App.D.C. 248, 182 F.2d 46, 64 (1950) stated, 'The line of cases in which this court has said that courts will not review the action of executive officials in dismissing executive employees, except to insure compliance with statutory requirements, is unvaried.'

The amended complaint alleges in substance that plaintiff was charged with professional misconduct and discharged because of plaintiff's exercise of his constitutional right to free speech, and contended that said discharge was the result of the combined efforts of the defendants herein to deprive and restrict the right of free speech of the plaintiff and secondarily to deprive the plaintiff of due process and to imperil plaintiff's contractual obligations in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution and Article I, Section Ten of the Constitution. The complaint further charges that the defendants met 'during the process of the Civil Service Commission for the purpose of carrying out the common design * * * of depriving plaintiff of his right to free speech, depriving the plaintiff of his right to due process and imperiling the contract obligations of plaintiff.'

Plaintiff contends that § 1983 of Title 42, U.S.C.A. affords him the right to relitigate the issues raised in the state proceedings and in addition seeks substantial damages. Section 1983 declares that:

'Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution

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and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress.'

Obviously, to maintain this present complaint under the civil rights statute, he must allege facts...

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