593 F.Supp. 1485 (W.D.Mo. 1984), 77-0420-CV-W-4, Jenkins v. State of Missouri

Docket Nº:77-0420-CV-W-4.
Citation:593 F.Supp. 1485
Party Name:Kalima JENKINS, et al. v. STATE OF MISSOURI, Kansas City, Missouri School District, and Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Case Date:September 17, 1984
Court:United States District Courts, 8th Circuit, Western District of Missouri

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593 F.Supp. 1485 (W.D.Mo. 1984)

Kalima JENKINS, et al.


STATE OF MISSOURI, Kansas City, Missouri School District, and Department of Housing and Urban Development.

No. 77-0420-CV-W-4.

United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Western Division.

Sept. 17, 1984

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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Arthur A. Benson, II, Benson & McKay, Kansas City, Mo., Deborah Fins, NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund, New York City, for plaintiffs.

James Borthwick, Shirley Keeler, Blackwell, Sanders, Matheny, Weary & Lombardi, Kansas City, Mo., for defendant Kansas City Missouri School Dist.

Larry R. Marshall, Sp. Asst. Atty. Gen., Columbia, Mo., for defendant State of Mo.

Marta Berkley, Merril Hirsh, Civ. Div., Washington, D.C., and Richard C. Stearns, Dept. of HUD, Washington, D.C., for defendant Dept. of HUD.


RUSSELL G. CLARK, Chief Judge.

Originally, plaintiffs and the KCMSD filed this action jointly alleging various federal and state agencies and surrounding school district officials caused or contributed to cause the racial segregation existing in the metropolitan schools. In 1978 when the KCMSD was realigned as a defendant, plaintiffs made similar allegations against it, although there has been, during the course of this litigation, a "friendly adversary" relationship between them. (See,

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e.g., stipulations of fact, filed February 21, 1984).

The KCMSD cross-claimed only against the state for its failure to eliminate the vestiges of its prior dual school system. For additional background, see this Court's orders of June 5 and July 16, 1984.

Jurisdiction is premised on 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1343(3) and (4), 136, 2201 and 2202. Plaintiffs also allege claims under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 2000d and under the United States Constitution, 14th Amendment. Declaratory and injunctive relief was sought against all defendants.

After hearing the presentation of plaintiffs' evidence and before any defense, the Court dismissed the suburban school districts. Plaintiffs simply failed to show that those defendants had acted in a racially discriminatory manner that substantially caused racial segregation in another district. Milliken v. Bradley, 418 U.S. 717, 745, 94 S.Ct. 3112, 3127, 41 L.Ed.2d 1069 (1974). See order filed June 5, 1984.

HEW was also dismissed for plaintiffs' failure to prove the agency acted with racial animus or abused its discretion in the enforcement of Title VI. See order filed July 16, 1984. The KCMSD presented its cross-claim, Missouri and HUD defended, plaintiffs and the KCMSD rebutted, Missouri presented surrebuttal and, on the 92nd day of trial, the Court refused to hear sur-surrebuttal. Thus, on June 13, 1984, the evidence ended.

The claims addressed by this order are plaintiffs' claims against the KCMSD, the State of Missouri and HUD and the crossclaim of KCMSD against the State of Missouri. For the reasons that follow, the Court finds in favor of plaintiffs against the KCMSD and the State of Missouri; in favor of KCMSD against the State of Missouri; and against plaintiffs and in favor of HUD.


Plaintiffs allege, and Missouri has admitted, it mandated racially segregated schools before 1954. It is plaintiffs' position that after 1954 Missouri failed to take affirmative steps to eliminate the vestiges of its prior dual school system. In fact, plaintiffs argue, Missouri acted to perpetuate racial segregation by enforcing restrictive covenants and other unfair housing practices, by discriminatorily relocating blacks who were displaced by highway development and urban renewal, and by supporting racially-identifiable interdistrict arrangements (e.g. vocational and special education area schools).

Against the KCMSD, plaintiffs claim district officials adopted ineffective policies to change the segregative patterns that were developed or developing. In an exculpatory allegation plaintiffs allege the KCMSD could not balance the racial population of students in its district due to impaction of minorities, white flight, housing policies of other agencies and "other factors beyond the capacity of that district to manage." (Amended complaint, May 18, 1979 ¶ 20).

Regarding HUD, plaintiffs allege the agency abrogated its affirmative duty to prevent and reduce racial segregation and instead intentionally increased segregation by failing to consider racial isolation in its site location for low income projects and locating most of the projects within the KCMSD; establishing express guidelines before 1948 requiring racial segregation and permitting such practices after that date; funding local housing agencies which did not prevent segregation in their policies or practices; and providing funds and insurance to suburban areas where access to blacks was restricted. These policies and practices, plaintiffs claim, racially impacted the KCMSD schools.

In its cross-claim against Missouri 1 the District alleges the State has not fulfilled its constitutional obligation to take action to dismantle its prior dual school system

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and is primarily liable for the existing segregation in the KCMSD. Not only has Missouri failed to take necessary remedial measures to eliminate past segregation but the District charges the state has acted to perpetuate segregation. To the extent the Court might find the KCMSD to be internally segregated, the District alleges the State is largely responsible for such a condition and should be required to contribute financially to any remedial plan the Court might order as relief against the KCMSD. Further, the District charges the State has caused a high concentration of economically and socially disadvantaged minority students within its boundaries, a condition which increased student expenses and decreased the District's tax base. Concomitantly, the KCMSD alleges the State's actions or omissions caused the surrounding districts to be predominantly white.

For relief, therefore, the KCMSD seeks a court order requiring the State to propose and assist (financially and otherwise) in the implementation of a plan which will eradicate any vestiges of the State's past dual school system which includes the racially identifiable character of the KCMSD and the surrounding suburban districts.

Plaintiffs claim the only effective way to "protect and preserve" the constitutional rights of plaintiffs is to judicially mandate the "reassignment of students among all districts in the metropolitan area and/or to realign or reconstitute the defendant school districts," with compensatory payments made by the State to fund the reconstituted districts. (Plaintiffs' amended complaint, May 18, 1979 ¶ 25). Plaintiffs request defendants submit a plan to eliminate the racial identifiability of the KCMSD and other school districts in the metropolitan area. To facilitate adoption of such a plan, plaintiffs seek to enjoin federal agencies from funding state and local entities until the plan is submitted. Plaintiffs seek declaratory and injunctive relief against the federal defendants and statements from all defendants on their future plans to reduce and eradicate segregative conditions.

Missouri has argued in defense that it has met its affirmative duty to the extent of its statutory power and that local entities have the sole authority to effect the changes plaintiffs seek, e.g. redrawing district lines. Moreover, Missouri charges the racial isolation that exists is not vestiges but is the product of resegregation from natural demographic trends. Finally, Missouri argues the Kansas City area is typical of cities nationwide that had no dual school system; therefore the racial patterns cannot be attributed to the State's past conduct.

Procedurally, Missouri argues that plaintiffs and the KCMSD pleaded only interdistrict claims and seek only interdistrict relief, which claims were denied by this Court's order dismissing the suburban school districts. The Court disagrees. In its order of June 1, 1981, the Court addressed both the inter and intra-district claims raised by the KCMSD's cross-claim. Neither plaintiffs nor the KCMSD's pleadings are defective in this regard. In any event, and contrary to Missouri's allegations, plaintiffs moved to amend their complaint to conform to their contention interrogatories (filed October 17, 1983 Doc. No. 351). The Court deferred ruling the motion preferring to address the contentions individually as they arose during the trial. (Tr. 35). Insofar as plaintiffs' evidence (adopted by the KCMSD Tr. 17,275) stated intradistrict claims, the motion is hereby granted.

On February 21, 1984, plaintiffs and the KCMSD entered into a stipulation of fact which the Court holds is only binding between them; however, the stipulations will be controlling, unless otherwise stated by the Court, regarding the racial composition and enrollment in the District past and present, its 1955 through 1977 "desegregation" plans, its transfer policy, the Havighurst and Hazlett reports and faculty composition. The District stipulated, inter alia, that before 1977 it was not a unitary district or in compliance with federal regulations. (See, also, Tr. 24). Nor does the District contest the HEW findings of noncompliance. It does state, however, contrary

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to plaintiffs' contentions, that it did not operate with discriminatory intent after 1954.

HUD argues in defense that it does not select the sites for low income projects and that said projects are dispersed throughout the metropolitan area in any event. HUD also maintains it does not relocate people, but merely monitors the relocation activities of other agencies and has made adjustments where necessary. Regarding FHA, the government insists there are no vestiges of its past practices and moreover that FHA's involvement in the context of all housing transactions is de minimis. HUD concludes it has not abused its discretion and that...

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