Augustine v. Doe, No. 82-4573

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore WISDOM, REAVLEY, and JOHNSON; WISDOM
Citation740 F.2d 322
Decision Date16 August 1984
Docket NumberNo. 82-4573
PartiesFrancis Nolan AUGUSTINE, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. John DOE, Deputy Sheriff, Lafayette Parish, et al., Defendants-Appellees.

Page 322

740 F.2d 322
Francis Nolan AUGUSTINE, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
John DOE, Deputy Sheriff, Lafayette Parish, et al.,
Defendants-Appellees.
No. 82-4573.
United States Court of Appeals,
Fifth Circuit.
Aug. 16, 1984.

Page 323

Gerald J. Block, Lafayette, La., for plaintiff-appellant.

Domengeaux & Wright, Robert K. Tracy, Lafayette, La., for defendants-appellees.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana.

Before WISDOM, REAVLEY, and JOHNSON, Circuit Judges.

WISDOM, Circuit Judge:

This appeal concerns the extent to which a plaintiff's rights under 42 U.S.C.A. Sec. 1983 (1981) 1 are limited by the availability of postdeprivation state law remedies. The complaint charges the defendants with violating Sec. 1983 by depriving the plaintiff,

Page 324

Francis N. Augustine, of his constitutional rights. The complaint alleges that the defendants arrested the plaintiff at his home without a warrant, took him and his dog to the police station by force, and detained him there until they could take his dog from him. On the authority of Parratt v. Taylor, 1981, 451 U.S. 527, 101 S.Ct. 1908, 68 L.Ed.2d 420, the district court dismissed the complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The court apparently was of the view that the availability of state tort remedies renders constitutional any state action that can be characterized as a tort. 2 That view is erroneous. We reverse the district court's judgment and remand the case.

I. Facts 3

At 10:00 p.m., on May 13, 1981, Augustine, an elderly black man, was sleeping at his home in Lafayette, Louisiana, when he was awakened by a telephone call from a deputy sheriff. The deputy identified himself, asked Augustine whether he owned a certain dog, and then asked whether Augustine would surrender the dog to Preston Smith. Augustine refused. The deputy then told the plaintiff that his dog may have been stolen from Smith two years earlier. The plaintiff asserted that he had paid $20 for the dog in 1979 and that he was the dog's lawful owner.

At 11:30 p.m. that night, two deputy sheriffs arrived at the plaintiff's home carrying a sawed-off shotgun and other weapons. They awakened Augustine and told him to get dressed because he was being taken to the sheriff's department in downtown Lafayette. They entered the home without either a search warrant or an arrest warrant and took the plaintiff and his dog, at gunpoint, to the sheriff's department. While at the department, the plaintiff was threatened with arrest, imprisonment, and fines. The police detained the plaintiff until they could take his dog from him. They then allowed Augustine to return home.

On April 22, 1982, the plaintiff filed this civil rights suit against the State of Louisiana, the Lafayette Parish Police Jury, the Lafayette sheriff, and two named unknown deputy sheriffs. The complaint alleges that the plaintiff suffered a "violation of due process, denial of equal protection, denial of life, denial of liberty, deprivation of property, invasion of privacy, [and] infringement of freedom", and that the plaintiff is therefore entitled to relief under 42 U.S.C.A. Secs. 1981-1986 (1981). 4 The complaint seeks compensatory damages, punitive damages, reasonable attorney's fees, and return of the plaintiff's dog.

During the summer of 1982, the district court dismissed the complaint with respect to the state and the police jury. On November 22, 1982, the court dismissed the complaint with respect to the sheriff and the two deputy sheriffs. The ground for this dismissal was that the complaint failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. 5 The plaintiff appeals the dismissal of the sheriff and deputy sheriffs.

II. Alleged Constitutional Violations

There are two essential elements to any section 1983 action. First, the conduct complained of must have been committed by a person acting under color of state law; and second, this conduct must have deprived the plaintiff of rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution

Page 325

or laws of the United States. E.g., Parratt v. Taylor, 1981, 451 U.S. 527, 535, 101 S.Ct. 1908, 1912, 68 L.Ed.2d 420. The parties do not dispute that the defendants acted under color of state law in committing the actions of which the plaintiff complains. Viewed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, the complaint asserts two constitutional violations: an unreasonable seizure, in violation of the fourth amendment as incorporated into the fourteenth amendment; and deprivation of liberty and property without due process of law, in violation of the due process clause of the fourteenth amendment. 6 We examine each asserted violation separately.

III. The Fourth Amendment

The facts alleged in the complaint establish a clear violation of the fourth amendment. In Payton v. New York, 1980, 445 U.S. 573, 100 S.Ct. 1371, 63 L.Ed.2d 639, the Supreme Court held that, in the absence of exigent circumstances, the fourth amendment prohibits the police from making a warrantless and nonconsensual entry into a suspect's home for the purpose of effecting an arrest. The Court recently reaffirmed and extended Payton by holding that, in the absence of exigent circumstances, the police may not enter a house without a warrant or consent to make an arrest for a nonjailable offense. Welsh v. Wisconsin, 1984, --- U.S. ----, 104 S.Ct. 2091, 80 L.Ed.2d 732. Augustine's complaint alleges that the Lafayette deputy sheriffs entered his house and arrested him without an arrest warrant or a search warrant. None of the facts alleged implies that Augustine consented to this entry or that exigent circumstances justified the warrantless entry. The fourth amendment violation established by these allegations is unmistakable.

The district judge apparently believed that, under Parratt v. Taylor, the unconstitutionality of these actions was alleviated by the availability of state tort remedies through which the plaintiff could obtain redress for the allegedly illegal arrest. The district judge's position rests upon an erroneous reading of Parratt. The plaintiff in Parratt alleged that he was deprived of property without due process of law when prison officials negligently lost a hobby kit that the plaintiff had ordered through the mail. The Supreme Court agreed that the plaintiff had been deprived of property within the meaning of the fourteenth amendment. 451 U.S. at 536-37, 101 S.Ct. at 1913. The Court went on to hold that, because a predeprivation hearing was infeasible in these circumstances, the availability of a postdeprivation damages remedy under state law negated the contention that the deprivation was without due process of law. Id. at 540-44, 101 S.Ct. at 1915-16. In reaching this conclusion, however, the Court indicated that its analysis would not apply to alleged violations of substantive constitutional proscriptions applicable to the states because of incorporation into the due process clause of the fourteenth amendment:

"[The plaintiff's] claims differ from the claims which were before us in Monroe v. Pape, supra, which involved violations of the Fourth Amendment, and the claims presented in Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 97 S.Ct. 285, 50 L.Ed.2d 251 (1976), which involved alleged violations of the Eighth Amendment. Both of these Amendments have been held applicable to the States by virtue of the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment. [The plaintiff] here refers to no other right, privilege, or immunity secured by the Constitution or federal laws other than the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment simpliciter."

451 U.S. at 536, 101 S.Ct. at 1913 (citations omitted).

Page 326

In Monroe v. Pape, 1961, 365 U.S. 167, 81 S.Ct. 473, 5 L.Ed.2d 492, a case expressly distinguished in the above passage from Parratt, the plaintiff alleged that municipal police officers had violated his rights under the fourth amendment. The Court explicitly rejected the defendants' argument that, because state law proscribed the defendants' conduct, the plaintiff could not recover under section 1983:

"It is no answer that the State has a law which if enforced would give relief. The federal remedy is supplementary to the state remedy, and the latter need not be first sought and refused before the federal one is invoked. Hence the fact that Illinois by its constitution and laws outlaws unreasonable searches and seizures is no barrier to the present suit in the federal court."

365 U.S. at 183, 81 S.Ct. at 481.

To hold Parratt applicable to the alleged fourth amendment violation in the present case would be to write Monroe out of existence, a result clearly not intended by Parratt. See also Bonner v. Coughlin, 7 Cir.1975 (Stevens, J.), 517 F.2d 1311, 1320, modified en banc, 1976, 545 F.2d 565, cert. denied, 1978, 435 U.S. 932, 98 S.Ct. 1507, 55 L.Ed.2d 529, which in reaching a holding identical with that of Parratt noted that its holding was consistent with Monroe. Thus, a number of courts have held Parratt inapplicable to alleged violations of substantive rights incorporated into the fourteenth amendment. See Wolf-Lillie v. Sonquist, 7 Cir.1983, 699 F.2d 864, 872...

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180 practice notes
  • Rutherford v. State of California
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • January 9, 1987
    ...by the Constitution or laws of the United States. (Shaw v. Neece (10th Cir.1984) 727 F.2d 947, 949; Augustine v. Doe (5th Cir.1984) 740 F.2d 322, 324-325; Chiplin Enterprises v. City of Lebanon (1st Cir.1983) 712 F.2d 1524, 1526-1527; Hayssen v. Board of Zoning Adjustments (1985) 171 Cal.Ap......
  • McGrath v. Strain, CIVIL ACTION NO. 12-956
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Louisiana)
    • August 20, 2012
    ...if so, "whether the state procedures available for challenging the deprivation satisfy the requirements of due process." Augustine v. Doe, 740 F.2d 322, 327 (5th Cir. 1984); accord Neuwirth v. Louisiana State Bd. of Dentistry, 845 F.2d 553, 556 (5th Cir. 1988); Cuellar v. Tex. Employment Co......
  • Hicks v. Bexar County, Tex., No. SA-96-CA-951.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Western District of Texas
    • June 13, 1997
    ...denied, 510 U.S. 820, 114 S.Ct. 75, 126 L.Ed.2d 43 (1993); Martin v. Thomas, 973 F.2d 449, 452-53 (5th Cir.1992); and Augustine v. Doe, 740 F.2d 322, 324-25 (5th 54. See Brummett v. Camble, 946 F.2d 1178, 1184 (5th Cir.1991), cert. denied, 504 U.S. 965, 112 S.Ct. 2323, 119 L.Ed.2d 241 (1992......
  • Batiste v. City of Beaumont, No. 1:05-CV-109.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Court of Eastern District Texas
    • November 10, 2005
    ...420 (1981), reed on other grounds, Daniels v. Williams, 474 U.S. 327, 330-31, 106 S.Ct. 662, 88 L.Ed.2d 662 (1986); Augustine v. Doe, 740 F.2d 322, 324-25 (5th Cir.1984); see also Doe v. Rains County Indep. Sch. Dist., 66 F.3d 1402, 1409 (5th Cir.1995) (stating that the requisite elements o......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
180 cases
  • Rutherford v. State of California
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • January 9, 1987
    ...by the Constitution or laws of the United States. (Shaw v. Neece (10th Cir.1984) 727 F.2d 947, 949; Augustine v. Doe (5th Cir.1984) 740 F.2d 322, 324-325; Chiplin Enterprises v. City of Lebanon (1st Cir.1983) 712 F.2d 1524, 1526-1527; Hayssen v. Board of Zoning Adjustments (1985) 171 Cal.Ap......
  • McGrath v. Strain, CIVIL ACTION NO. 12-956
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Louisiana)
    • August 20, 2012
    ...if so, "whether the state procedures available for challenging the deprivation satisfy the requirements of due process." Augustine v. Doe, 740 F.2d 322, 327 (5th Cir. 1984); accord Neuwirth v. Louisiana State Bd. of Dentistry, 845 F.2d 553, 556 (5th Cir. 1988); Cuellar v. Tex. Employment Co......
  • Hicks v. Bexar County, Tex., No. SA-96-CA-951.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Western District of Texas
    • June 13, 1997
    ...denied, 510 U.S. 820, 114 S.Ct. 75, 126 L.Ed.2d 43 (1993); Martin v. Thomas, 973 F.2d 449, 452-53 (5th Cir.1992); and Augustine v. Doe, 740 F.2d 322, 324-25 (5th 54. See Brummett v. Camble, 946 F.2d 1178, 1184 (5th Cir.1991), cert. denied, 504 U.S. 965, 112 S.Ct. 2323, 119 L.Ed.2d 241 (1992......
  • Batiste v. City of Beaumont, No. 1:05-CV-109.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Court of Eastern District Texas
    • November 10, 2005
    ...420 (1981), reed on other grounds, Daniels v. Williams, 474 U.S. 327, 330-31, 106 S.Ct. 662, 88 L.Ed.2d 662 (1986); Augustine v. Doe, 740 F.2d 322, 324-25 (5th Cir.1984); see also Doe v. Rains County Indep. Sch. Dist., 66 F.3d 1402, 1409 (5th Cir.1995) (stating that the requisite elements o......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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