Beck v. Kansas Adult Authority, Nos. 58,452

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Kansas
Writing for the CourtMILLER; ALLEGRUCCI; PRAGER; HERD
Citation241 Kan. 13,735 P.2d 222
Parties, 39 Ed. Law Rep. 323 Janice C. BECK, et al., Appellants, v. KANSAS ADULT AUTHORITY, Board of Regents of the State of Kansas, University of Kansas Medical Center, et al., Appellees, and Myrtle A. WILLIAMS, et al., Appellants, v. KANSAS ADULT AUTHORITY, Board of Regents of the State of Kansas, University of Kansas Medical Center, et al., Appellees.
Docket NumberNos. 58,452,58,453
Decision Date27 March 1987

Page 222

735 P.2d 222
241 Kan. 13, 39 Ed. Law Rep. 323
Janice C. BECK, et al., Appellants,
v.
KANSAS ADULT AUTHORITY, Board of Regents of the State of
Kansas, University of Kansas Medical Center, et
al., Appellees,
and
Myrtle A. WILLIAMS, et al., Appellants,
v.
KANSAS ADULT AUTHORITY, Board of Regents of the State of
Kansas, University of Kansas Medical Center, et
al., Appellees.
Nos. 58,452, 58,453.
Supreme Court of Kansas.
March 27, 1987.

Page 224

Syllabus by the Court

1. The State of Kansas has not waived its sovereign immunity from suits seeking monetary damages under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (1982). The State is not a "person" for the purpose of such an action.

2. The University of Kansas Medical Center is not liable for the failure to provide, or for its method of providing, police protection. K.S.A. 75-6104(m).

3. The rules relating to the entry of summary judgment are stated and applied.

4. "Parole" is discretionary with the Kansas Adult Authority.

5. "Conditional release" is mandatory, not discretionary. K.S.A. 22-3718.

6. The imposition of conditions upon one who is conditionally released is discretionary with the Kansas Adult Authority.

7. The placing of a prisoner on conditional release without imposing conditions is a discretionary action by the Kansas Adult Authority and is within the discretionary functions exception of K.S.A. 75-6104(d) of the Kansas Tort Claims Act.

[241 Kan. 14] Ruth M. Benien, of Shamberg, Johnson, Bergman & Goldman, Chartered, Overland Park, argued, and David R. Morris and John E. Shamberg, were with her on briefs, for appellants.

John C. McFadden, Sp. Asst. Atty. Gen., argued, and was on the briefs, for appellees Bd. of Regents of the State of Kansas and The University of Kansas Medical Center.

Leon J. Patton, Asst. Atty. Gen., argued, and Robert T. Stephan, Atty. Gen., was with him on brief, for appellee Kansas Adult Authority.

MILLER, Justice:

The plaintiffs bring these appeals from the entry of summary judgment and the sustaining of motions to dismiss in two related personal injury, wrongful death and survival actions, brought by the heirs of two victims and one of the witnesses to a shooting incident which occurred at the University of Kansas Medical Center emergency room on March 20, 1981. The separate actions were consolidated on appeal, and the appeals were transferred to this court under the provisions of K.S.A. 20-3018. The issues presented on appeal are: (1) Whether a state agency is considered a "person" under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (1982) in an action for damages in a state court proceeding; (2) whether the University of Kansas Medical Center is immune from liability under the "discretionary function" or "police protection" exceptions to the Kansas Tort Claims Act, K.S.A. 75-6104(d) or (m); (3) whether, under the facts of this case, the trial court erred in treating the

Page 225

Kansas Adult Authority's motion to dismiss under K.S.A. 60-212 as a motion for summary judgment under K.S.A. 1986 Supp. 60-256; and (4) whether the Kansas Adult Authority is immune from liability under the discretionary function exception to the Kansas Tort Claims Act, K.S.A. 75-6104(d). The issues are applicable to both of the consolidated cases.

These cases arose when Bradley R. Boan, a disturbed former prisoner of the Kansas State Penitentiary and a former mental patient, entered the Kansas University Medical Center emergency room about 10 o'clock p.m. on March 20, 1981, fired three shotgun blasts, and then left the building. His first shot killed Marc R. Beck, a second-year resident physician. The second shot hit a wall but struck no persons. The third shot killed Ruth Rybolt, a visitor who was awaiting the results of a medical [241 Kan. 15] examination performed on her mother. Ruby Shannon, Ruth Rybolt's sister, witnessed the shooting incident from a nearby examination room.

THE CASE HISTORY

Plaintiffs timely commenced actions against the defendants here named, and others, in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas. For reasons not here material, plaintiffs dismissed the federal court actions against these defendants and within six months of the dismissal commenced these actions in the district court of Wyandotte County. Although more than two years elapsed between the time of the shooting and the commencement of these actions, they were timely filed. K.S.A. 60-518.

The Beck case was filed by Rodney D. Beck and Janice C. Beck, surviving father and mother and surviving heirs at law of Marc R. Beck, deceased; the administrator of his estate; his parents, individually; and his sisters, individually. The Williams case was filed by Myrtle A. Williams, surviving mother and heir at law of Ruth Rybolt, deceased; the administratrix of her estate; Ruby Shannon, individually; and Ruby Shannon, Harold Williams, Harrison Williams, Jr., and Harry Williams, individually and as the surviving sister and brothers of Ruth Rybolt, deceased. Remaining defendants in both cases are the Kansas Adult Authority, the Board of Regents, and the University of Kansas Medical Center. The Board of Regents and the Medical Center are treated as one entity, and we will refer to them both as the Medical Center in this opinion.

The petitions in the two actions consist of 80 or more paragraphs each, and are not the "short and plain statement of the claim" familiar in our notice pleading. However, we need not include here detailed summaries of the allegations contained in the petitions. We will first state briefly the basic claims advanced, and then refer to specific allegations later in this opinion as the need arises.

Count I in each of the petitions is a claim asserted under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, seeking damages against all of the defendants because of claimed acts, errors, and omissions, under color of [241 Kan. 16] state law, which deprived Dr. Beck and Ruth Rybolt of rights protected by the First, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. Count II is a claim for wrongful death by the surviving heirs at law of each decedent against all defendants based upon negligence. The contention is advanced that the Kansas Adult Authority negligently released Boan without conditions and necessary treatment and control; that the Medical Center negligently and carelessly failed to maintain and operate the emergency room facility in a condition reasonably safe for its use by personnel, staff, patrons, visitors, and others, and failed to warn them against known and foreseeable dangers; and that the medical center maintained or permitted to exist a public nuisance, the emergency room. Count III seeks damages for the personal injuries, emotional and psychological distress, mental anguish, anxiety, humiliation, degradation, pain, and suffering sustained by Dr. Beck and Ruth Rybolt during the time of survival. It seeks both actual and punitive damages against all defendants.

Page 226

Count IV, found only in the Williams petition, is based on negligence. It seeks both compensatory and punitive damages on behalf of Ruby Shannon for the emotional and psychological distress, pain, and suffering which she sustained as a result of observing the killing of the two victims, one of whom was her sister.

All defendants filed motions to dismiss. Plaintiffs responded to the motions to dismiss, and in their response requested the opportunity to supplement their responses in the event the court decided to consider matters outside the pleadings in the determination of the motions and thus to treat them as motions for summary judgment. The trial judge notified counsel that he intended to rule on all motions to dismiss as motions for summary judgment. Plaintiffs immediately noticed up twenty-one individual deponents. Defendants moved for a protective order, and at a hearing held on April 4, 1985, all counsel being present, the trial court ruled that the motions to dismiss would be considered and ruled upon as motions to dismiss only and not as motions for summary judgment. The plaintiffs' notices to take depositions were then withdrawn and quashed, given the court's determination that the motions to dismiss would not be ruled [241 Kan. 17] upon as motions for summary judgment. No depositions were taken in this case.

By a letter dated June 28, 1985, the trial court ruled upon and disposed of the motions. The letter reads, in pertinent part, as follows:

"I. Plaintiffs' claims under 42 USC 1983.

"An action under USC 1983 requires two allegations. First, the plaintiff must allege that some person has deprived him of a federal right. Second, he must allege that the person who has deprived him of a federal right acted under color of State or territorial law. Beck v. Kansas University, Psychiatry Foundation, 580 F.Supp. 527 ( [D.Kan.] 1984) (the sister case to these actions pending in the federal court). The 10th Circuit has held that the University of Kansas, its teaching hospital and the hospital administrators, in their official capacities, are immune from lawsuits for money damages under 42 USC 1983. Wrenn v. State of Kansas, 561 F.Supp. 1216, 1219-20 (D.Kan.1983). This trial Court so held and was affirmed in [Chism v. University of Kansas Coll. of Health Sciences, 237 Kan. 330, 699 P.2d 43 (1985) ]. The plaintiffs have cited Gumbhir v. Kansas State Board of Pharmacy, 231 Kan. 507, 513 (1982) as standing for the proposition that the University is a person, however, Gumbhir is limited to the situation where prospective injunctive relief is sought. It does not apply where money damages are sought. Thus, while damages may be a permissible remedy against some State officers individually (where the officer acted beyond the scope of his authority), a plaintiff can seek no damages from the public treasury by suing State agencies. Beck, 580 F.Supp. 527, 538 (1984) (citing Myers v. Anderson, 238 U.S. 368, 35 S.Ct. 932 [59 L.Ed. 1349] [1915]. The University of Kansas Medical Center is...

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62 practice notes
  • Klepper v. City of Milford, Kansas, Nos. 84-1029
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • September 28, 1987
    ...Kansas tort cases that continue to distinguish between willful and wanton or reckless conduct. See, e.g., Beck v. Kansas Adult Auth., 241 Kan. 13, 735 P.2d 222 (1987); Gould v. Taco Bell, 239 Kan. 564, 722 P.2d 511 (1986); Bowman v. Doherty, 235 Kan. 870, 686 P.2d 112 (1984); Willard v. Cit......
  • Dillard v. Strecker, No. 69,242
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Kansas
    • July 8, 1994
    ...the trial court takes into consideration all of the facts disclosed during the discovery process. Beck v. Kansas Adult Authority, 241 Kan. 13, 26, 735 P.2d 222 (1987). In the instant case, both parties filed briefs on the motion to dismiss which contained relevant case law, contracts, corre......
  • Allen v. Board of Com'rs of County of Wyandotte, Civ. A. No. 90-2059-O.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of Kansas
    • August 2, 1991
    ...involved ... K.S.A. 75-6104(e). The discretionary function exception does not grant absolute immunity. Beck v. Kan. Adult Auth., 241 Kan. 13, 22, 735 P.2d 222, 233 (1987). The burden rests upon defendant to establish governmental immunity. Haehn v. City of Hoisington, Kan., 702 F.Supp. 1526......
  • Watson v. City of Kansas City, Kan., No. Civ.A. 99-2106-KHV.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of Kansas
    • November 8, 1999
    ...words, government officials have the right to err in performing their job, but not to act in bad faith. Beck v. Kansas Adult Authority, 241 Kan. 13, 19, 735 P.2d 222, 228 (1987). Plaintiffs allege that defendants acted willfully and maliciously. Taking plaintiffs' allegations of willful con......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
62 cases
  • Klepper v. City of Milford, Kansas, Nos. 84-1029
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • September 28, 1987
    ...Kansas tort cases that continue to distinguish between willful and wanton or reckless conduct. See, e.g., Beck v. Kansas Adult Auth., 241 Kan. 13, 735 P.2d 222 (1987); Gould v. Taco Bell, 239 Kan. 564, 722 P.2d 511 (1986); Bowman v. Doherty, 235 Kan. 870, 686 P.2d 112 (1984); Willard v. Cit......
  • Dillard v. Strecker, No. 69,242
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Kansas
    • July 8, 1994
    ...the trial court takes into consideration all of the facts disclosed during the discovery process. Beck v. Kansas Adult Authority, 241 Kan. 13, 26, 735 P.2d 222 (1987). In the instant case, both parties filed briefs on the motion to dismiss which contained relevant case law, contracts, corre......
  • Allen v. Board of Com'rs of County of Wyandotte, Civ. A. No. 90-2059-O.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of Kansas
    • August 2, 1991
    ...involved ... K.S.A. 75-6104(e). The discretionary function exception does not grant absolute immunity. Beck v. Kan. Adult Auth., 241 Kan. 13, 22, 735 P.2d 222, 233 (1987). The burden rests upon defendant to establish governmental immunity. Haehn v. City of Hoisington, Kan., 702 F.Supp. 1526......
  • Watson v. City of Kansas City, Kan., No. Civ.A. 99-2106-KHV.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of Kansas
    • November 8, 1999
    ...words, government officials have the right to err in performing their job, but not to act in bad faith. Beck v. Kansas Adult Authority, 241 Kan. 13, 19, 735 P.2d 222, 228 (1987). Plaintiffs allege that defendants acted willfully and maliciously. Taking plaintiffs' allegations of willful con......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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