586 F.2d 622 (6th Cir. 1978), 77-1704, Jones v. City of Memphis, Tenn.

Docket Nº77-1704.
Citation586 F.2d 622
Party NameJohn E. JONES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. CITY OF MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE et al., Defendants-Appellants.
Case DateSeptember 19, 1978
CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals, United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)

Page 622

586 F.2d 622 (6th Cir. 1978)

John E. JONES, Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

CITY OF MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE et al., Defendants-Appellants.

No. 77-1704.

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

September 19, 1978

Argued June 20, 1978.

Page 623

Clifford D. Pierce, Jr., Henry L. Klein, Memphis, Tenn., for defendants-appellants.

Walter L. Bailey, Jr., Memphis, Tenn., Eric Schnapper, Jack Greenberg, James N. Nabrit, III, New York City, for plaintiff-appellee.

Before PHILLIPS, Chief Judge, KEITH, Circuit Judge, and PECK, Senior Circuit Judge.

I.

PHILLIPS, Chief Judge.

The issue in this case is whether a municipality can be held liable for the misconduct of its employees under the doctrine of Respondeat superior in a civil rights action brought directly under the fourteenth amendment and the general federal question statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1331. John E. Jones, appellee, filed this suit against the City of Memphis and certain John Doe police officers who, in the course of their employment, allegedly deprived appellee of his constitutional rights by illegally arresting and beating him.

In a memorandum decision on a motion to dismiss the complaint published at 444, F.Supp. 27 (1977), the district court found initially that a municipal corporation can be held liable on a claim based directly on the fourteenth amendment and 28 U.S.C. § 1331. The district court concluded, although with "considerable doubt", that the City could be held liable under the doctrine of Respondeat superior. The district court denied the motion to dismiss and ruled that the issue of the applicability of Respondeat superior "presents a controlling question of law as to which there is substantial ground for difference of opinion and that an immediate appeal from the order may materially advance the ultimate termination of this litigation." In an unpublished order, this court granted leave to appeal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b).

We reverse and hold that the tort doctrine of Respondeat superior does not apply to actions brought against a municipal corporation directly under the fourteenth amendment and § 1331.

II.

Prior to the Supreme Court's recent pronouncement in Monell v. Department of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658, 98 S.Ct. 2018, 56 L.Ed.2d 611, (1978), that Court held that municipalities were immune from liability under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In Monroe v. Pape, 365 U.S. 167, 187, 81 S.Ct. 473, 484, 5 L.Ed.2d 492 (1961), overruled in part by Monell, 1 the Supreme Court held that

Page 624

"Congress did not undertake to bring municipal corporations within the ambit of (§ 1983)." Specifically, the court in Monroe held that the word "person" in 42 U.S.C. § 1983 does not include municipalities. In City of Kenosha v. Bruno, 412 U.S. 507, 93 S.Ct. 2222, 37 L.Ed.2d 109 (1973), the Court reaffirmed the Monroe ruling but remanded the case to the district court to consider "the availability of (28 U.S.C.) § 1331 jurisdiction . . . ." 412 U.S. at 514, 93 S.Ct. at 2227.

Although Monroe barred litigants from bringing actions against municipalities under § 1983, many courts interpreted this language in Kenosha as support for the position that jurisdiction over municipalities in civil rights actions could be obtained under § 1331. See, e. g., Mahone v. Waddle, 564 F.2d 1018, 1022 (3d Cir. 1977); Gentile v. Wallen, 562 F.2d 193, 196 (2d Cir. 1977); Hostrop v. Board of Junior College District No. 515, 523 F.2d 569, 577 (7th Cir. 1975), Cert. denied, 425 U.S. 963, 96 S.Ct. 1748, 48 L.Ed.2d 208 (1976); Gray v. Union County Intermediate Education District, 520 F.2d 803, 805 (9th Cir. 1975); Bosely v. City of Euclid, 496 F.2d 193, 195 (6th Cir. 1974).

This Circuit has held consistently that a direct cause of action under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 for violation of constitutional rights is available against a municipality. See Gordon v. City of Warren, 579 F.2d 386, 389 (6th Cir. 1978); Wiley v. Memphis Police Department, 548 F.2d 1247, 1254 (6th Cir.), Cert. denied, 434 U.S. 822, 98 S.Ct. 65, 54 L.Ed.2d 78 (1977); Amen v. City of Dearborn, 532 F.2d 554, 559 (6th Cir. 1976); Hanna v. Drobnick, 514 F.2d 393, 398 (6th Cir. 1975); Bosely v. City of Euclid, supra, 496 F.2d at 195; Foster v. City of Detroit, 405 F.2d 138, 144 (6th Cir. 1968); Foster v. Herley, 330 F.2d 87, 91 (6th Cir. 1964).

At least six other circuits have reached this conclusion, based upon the teachings of Bivens v. Six Unknown Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388, 91 S.Ct. 1999, 29 L.Ed.2d 619 (1971). See Turpin v. Mailet, 579 F.2d 152 (2d Cir. 1978) (en banc); Owen v. City of Independence, 560 F.2d 925, 932-34 (8th Cir. 1977), Petition for cert. pending; McDonald v. Illinois, 557 F.2d 596, 604...

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64 practice notes
  • 555 F.Supp. 1290 (E.D.Mich. 1983), 82-40538, Heritage Hills Fellowship v. Plouff
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 6th Circuit
    • 1 Febrero 1983
    ...liability. But this theory has been explicitly rejected in both Bivens actions and 42 U.S.C. § 1983 actions. See Jones v. City of Memphis, 586 F.2d 622 (CA6, 1978); Hays v. Jefferson County, 668 F.2d 869 (CA6, 1982). Thus, the fourth claim is subject to dismissal if it is advanced as a Bive......
  • Drake v. Enyart, 120406 KYWDC, 3:06CV-217-S
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 6th Circuit United States District Court of Western District of Kentucky
    • 4 Diciembre 2006
    ...basis for liability in a Bivens action." Stiger v. O'Neill , 53 Fed.Appx. 738, 740 (6th Cir. 2002) (citing Jones v. City of Memphis , 586 F.2d 622, 625 (6th Cir. 1978)). The Bivens claim against all Defendants must therefore be dismissed. E. 42 U.S.C. §§ 1985 and 1986 "Under § 198......
  • Perry v. Agricultural Dept., 041615 KYEDC, 6:14-168-DCR
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 6th Circuit United States District Court of Eastern District of Kentucky
    • 16 Abril 2015
    ...N.Y., 436 U.S. 658, 691 (1978); Kesterson v. Luttrell, 172 F.3d 48 (6th Cir. 1998) (unpublished table decision); Jones v. City of Memphis, 586 F.2d 622, 625 (6th Cir. 1978). For these reasons, Perry's claims against the U.S. Attorney General, Todd Lambert, Human Resource Manager, "B.&q......
  • Clay v. United States, 092106 KYEDC, 05-CV-599-KKC
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 6th Circuit United States District Court of Eastern District of Kentucky
    • 21 Septiembre 2006
    ...Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 691-95, (1978); Copeland v. Machulis, 57 F.3d 476, 481 (6th Cir.1995) (per curiam); Jones v. City of Memphis, 586 F.2d 622, 624-25 (6th Bivens requires a showing that the named defendant performed the acts that resulted in the deprivation of a constitutional right......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
64 cases
  • 555 F.Supp. 1290 (E.D.Mich. 1983), 82-40538, Heritage Hills Fellowship v. Plouff
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 6th Circuit
    • 1 Febrero 1983
    ...liability. But this theory has been explicitly rejected in both Bivens actions and 42 U.S.C. § 1983 actions. See Jones v. City of Memphis, 586 F.2d 622 (CA6, 1978); Hays v. Jefferson County, 668 F.2d 869 (CA6, 1982). Thus, the fourth claim is subject to dismissal if it is advanced as a Bive......
  • Drake v. Enyart, 120406 KYWDC, 3:06CV-217-S
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 6th Circuit United States District Court of Western District of Kentucky
    • 4 Diciembre 2006
    ...basis for liability in a Bivens action." Stiger v. O'Neill , 53 Fed.Appx. 738, 740 (6th Cir. 2002) (citing Jones v. City of Memphis , 586 F.2d 622, 625 (6th Cir. 1978)). The Bivens claim against all Defendants must therefore be dismissed. E. 42 U.S.C. §§ 1985 and 1986 "Under § 198......
  • Perry v. Agricultural Dept., 041615 KYEDC, 6:14-168-DCR
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 6th Circuit United States District Court of Eastern District of Kentucky
    • 16 Abril 2015
    ...N.Y., 436 U.S. 658, 691 (1978); Kesterson v. Luttrell, 172 F.3d 48 (6th Cir. 1998) (unpublished table decision); Jones v. City of Memphis, 586 F.2d 622, 625 (6th Cir. 1978). For these reasons, Perry's claims against the U.S. Attorney General, Todd Lambert, Human Resource Manager, "B.&q......
  • Clay v. United States, 092106 KYEDC, 05-CV-599-KKC
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 6th Circuit United States District Court of Eastern District of Kentucky
    • 21 Septiembre 2006
    ...Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 691-95, (1978); Copeland v. Machulis, 57 F.3d 476, 481 (6th Cir.1995) (per curiam); Jones v. City of Memphis, 586 F.2d 622, 624-25 (6th Bivens requires a showing that the named defendant performed the acts that resulted in the deprivation of a constitutional right......
  • Request a trial to view additional results