558 F.2d 1266 (6th Cir. 1977), 76-2162, Winston v. Lear-Siegler, Inc.

Docket Nº:76-2162.
Citation:558 F.2d 1266
Party Name:Dec. P 7751 Tom WINSTON, Plaintiff, and Russ Leone, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. LEAR-SIEGLER, INC., a corporation, Defendant-Appellee.
Case Date:July 21, 1977
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
 
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Page 1266

558 F.2d 1266 (6th Cir. 1977)

Dec. P 7751

Tom WINSTON, Plaintiff,

and

Russ Leone, Plaintiff-Appellant,

v.

LEAR-SIEGLER, INC., a corporation, Defendant-Appellee.

No. 76-2162.

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

July 21, 1977

Argued April 15, 1977.

Page 1267

Nicholas J. Rine, Richard L. Steinberg, Philo, Cockrel, Spearman, Cooper, Rine, King & Atkinson, Detroit, Mich., for plaintiff-appellant.

Anthony A. Haisch, Detroit, Mich., for defendant-appellee.

Before CELEBREZZE and ENGEL, Circuit Judges, and CECIL, Senior Circuit Judge.

CECIL, Senior Circuit Judge.

This is an appeal by Russ Leone, appellant, from an order in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division, dismissing his complaint in an action brought under Section 1981, Title 42 U.S.C. for violation of his civil rights and for damages resulting therefrom and for other relief.

The appellant and one Tom Winston, a fellow employee, as joint plaintiffs filed a complaint against their employer, Lear-Siegler, Inc., a corporation, appellee herein. They sought declaratory, injunctive, monetary and other appropriate relief to redress the deprivation of their rights and privileges guaranteed by Sec. 1981, Title 42 U.S.C. Jurisdiction was conferred under 28 U.S.C. § 1343(4) and 28 U.S.C. § 2201.

The plaintiffs, Tom Winston, a black American and Russ Leone, a white American, had been employed by the defendant corporation as tool and die makers from May 20, 1975 to August 19, 1975. The employment of both plaintiffs was terminated by the defendant corporation on August 19, 1975. It is alleged that the disciplinary action taken against black Tom Winston would not have been taken against white employees similarly situated and for the same or similar conduct. The disciplinary action taken against white Russ Leone was because he protested and objected to the racially discriminatory action taken against Tom Winston.

The defendant, appellee, moved to dismiss the complaint as to the appellant Russ Leone. Upon oral presentation of the Motion, the District Judge, in a ruling from the Bench, sustained the Motion and entered final judgment dismissing the complaint of the appellant. He appeals.

Section 1981, Title 42 U.S.C., 1 under which this action is predicated, reads as follows:

"All persons within the jurisdiction of the United States shall have the same right in every State and Territory to make and enforce contracts, to sue, be parties, give evidence, and to the full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings for the security of persons and property as is enjoyed by white citizens, and shall be subject to like punishment, pains, penalties, taxes, licenses, and exactions of every kind, and to no other."

Page 1268

The District Judge, in sustaining the Motion, gave his reasons as follows:

"I am going to rule, first of all, that 1981 does not apply to the language by white persons for discrimination, but even more importantly than that, this particular claim if I am wrong on that score more importantly than that, this particular claim is not couched in terms of the wrong being done by or due to a claim of race. This is a wrong that's alleged to be done as a result of protesting of a firing of some kind and, therefore, it does not fall within the terms of 1981."

It is conceded by the appellee that the first ground of the District Judge's decision is in error. McDonald v. Santa Fe Trail Transportation Co.,427 U.S. 273, 96 S.Ct. 2574, 49 L.Ed.2d 493. It is stated in McDonald, 295,96 S.Ct. 2585,

"This cumulative evidence of congressional intent makes clear, * * * that the 1866 statute, designed to protect the 'same right * * * to make and enforce contracts' of 'citizens of every race and color' was not * * * intended * * * to the protection solely of non whites. Rather the Act was meant by its broad terms, to proscribe discrimination in the making or enforcement of contracts against, or in favor of, any race."

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