Lucarell v. McNair, 71-1443.

Citation453 F.2d 836
Decision Date07 January 1972
Docket NumberNo. 71-1443.,71-1443.
PartiesRobert LUCARELL, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Kenneth McNAIR et al., Defendants-Appellees.
CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)

Nathaniel R. Jones, New York City, and Robert J. Reinstein, Philadelphia, Pa., for appellant.

Thomas C. B. Letson, Warren, Ohio, Letson, Griffith, Kightlinger & Woodall, Warren, Ohio, on brief, for appellees.

Before CELEBREZZE, McCREE and MILLER, Circuit Judges.

WILLIAM E. MILLER, Circuit Judge.

This appeal is taken from the dismissal of a civil rights action brought pursuant to Sec. 1979 of the Civil Rights Act of 1871, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983. Seeking compensatory and punitive damages, the complaint charged that the appellee McNair, a Referee and Administrative Officer of the Juvenile Court of Trumbull County, Ohio, acting "under color of" state law, deprived the appellant of his civil rights. Specifically, it is alleged that McNair personally assaulted Robert Lucarell (a youth 17 years of age) during traffic violation proceedings over which McNair presided and that McNair illegally incarcerated the appellant in the local jail where he was assaulted sexually and otherwise subjected to beatings and maltreatment by other inmates.

The district court's dismissal was based upon two grounds. First, the court held that McNair's alleged assault of Lucarell during the traffic violation proceedings was not "under color of state law," stating that such an attack "was conduct . . . without the scope of his power and not an abuse of the power he did possess by virtue of state law." Second, the court held that McNair was protected from claims arising out of appellant's incarceration by the doctrine of judicial immunity. We cannot agree with either of these holdings.

It is our duty to view the allegations of the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, assuming the truth of the factual allegations contained therein. Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-48, 78 S.Ct. 99, 2 L.Ed. 2d 80 (1957); L'Orange v. Medical Protective Co., 394 F.2d 57, 59 (6th Cir. 1968). Furthermore, the fact that this action was brought under one of the civil rights statutes requires us to the scrutinize such a dismissal with special care.1

The Supreme Court has made clear that official misconduct which amounts to a deprivation of civil rights may be found to be "under color of state law" within the meaning of Section 1983 even though the misconduct violates state law or constitutes an abuse of authority. Monroe v. Pape, 365 U.S. 167, 81 S.Ct. 473, 5 L.Ed.2d 492 (1961).

In light of the district court's remarks concerning the availability of a state cause of action it is significant to note the Supreme Court's statement in Monroe, id., that:

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. id. at p. 183, 81 S.Ct. at p. 482.

There is no doubt, at this late date, that Section 1983 applies to conduct, such as that here ascribed to McNair, occurring while the state official is representing the state and "wearing its badge of authority."

Turning to the question of McNair's asserted immunity, it is true that as Referee and Administrative Officer of the Juvenile Court of Trumbull County, McNair was entitled to the full reach of the doctrine of judicial or, in this case, quasi-judicial immunity, and that the doctrine is applicable to actions instituted pursuant to Section 1983. Nevertheless, the doctrine is not...

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  • German v. Killeen, Civ. No. 78-70217.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Western District Michigan)
    • August 25, 1980 not unmindful of the stringent test that must be met before a civil rights lawsuit can be dismissed on the pleadings. Lucarell v. McNair, 453 F.2d 836 (6th Cir. 1972). For this reason the remainder of defendants' grounds are A. Defendants each claim some degree of immunity from suit. Def......
  • Vermett v. Hough, G 82-55.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Western District Michigan)
    • March 8, 1984
    ...Motions to dismiss complaints brought under the civil rights acts are, of course, scrutinized with special care. See, Lucarell v. McNair, 453 F.2d 836 (CA 6 1972); Westlake v. Lucas, 537 F.2d 857 (CA 6 1976). B. Motion for Summary Judgment In considering those portions of Defendants' motion......
  • Weisbord v. Michigan State University, G76-475 CA5.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Western District Michigan)
    • August 26, 1980
    ...the plaintiff would be entitled to no relief under any state of facts which could be proved in support of his claim." Lucarell v. McNair, 453 F.2d 836, 838 (6th Cir. 1972). With this standard in mind this opinion will proceed to address defendants' arguments against each of plaintiff's A. T......
  • Ames v. Vavreck
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Court of Minnesota
    • February 23, 1973
    ...unless all of plaintiffs' allegations under any construction fail to state a claim for which relief can be granted. Lucarell v. McNair, 453 F.2d 836 (6th Cir. 1972); Madison v. Purdy, 410 F.2d 99 (5th Cir. 1969); Cohen v. Norris, 300 F.2d 24 (9th Cir. 1962); 2 Moore's Fed.Prac. (2d ed. ¶ 8.......
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