RI CH. OF NAT. W. POL. C. v. RI LOTTERY COM'N, C.A. No. 84-0284 S.

CourtU.S. District Court — District of Rhode Island
Citation609 F. Supp. 1403
Docket NumberC.A. No. 84-0284 S.
PartiesThe RHODE ISLAND CHAPTER OF the NATIONAL WOMEN'S POLITICAL CAUCUS, INC., et al., Plaintiffs, v. The RHODE ISLAND LOTTERY COMMISSION, et al., Defendants.
Decision Date22 May 1985

609 F. Supp. 1403

The RHODE ISLAND CHAPTER OF the NATIONAL WOMEN'S POLITICAL CAUCUS, INC., et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
The RHODE ISLAND LOTTERY COMMISSION, et al., Defendants.

C.A. No. 84-0284 S.

United States District Court, D. Rhode Island.

May 22, 1985.


609 F. Supp. 1404
COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED
609 F. Supp. 1405
Roney & Labinger, Lynette Labinger, Providence, R.I., for plaintiffs

Arlene Violet, Atty. Gen., Thomas H. Caruolo, Spec. Ass't. Atty. Gen., Hawkins & Hoopis, John P. Hawkins, Providence, R.I., for defendants.

OPINION

SELYA, District Judge.

This suit has been prosecuted by a trio of plaintiffs: the Rhode Island Chapter of the National Women's Political Caucus, Inc. (RIWPC); the Rhode Island Women's Political Caucus Political Action Committee (PAC); and the Citizens Party of Rhode Island (Citizens Party). RIWPC is a nonprofit association incorporated under Rhode Island law for the purpose of furthering the interests of women. The PAC is an unincorporated committee of RIWPC which, since January of 1984, has carried out RIWPC's fundraising activities with respect to its political ventures. The Citizens Party is an unincorporated association existing under the laws of Rhode Island which styles itself as a political party; it is the state affiliate of the Citizens Party of the United States.

At the core of the controversy lies the constitutionality vel non of a state statute which regulates the conduct of lotteries and games of chance in Rhode Island, to wit, R.I.Gen.Laws § 11-19-1, as amended (1984 Supp.) (the Act). Invoking this court's federal question jurisdiction, 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1343(3), each of these three plaintiffs objects to its alleged exclusion from the perceived benefices of an exception contained in the Act. And, the claimants call into play the anodynes of 28 U.S.C. §§ 2201-2202 and 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

The defendants are the Rhode Island State Police (who are charged with enforcing Title 11); the commandant of the state police, Colonel Walter E. Stone; a ranking state police officer, Lieutenant Richard Wheeler; and the state's Attorney General.1

609 F. Supp. 1406
(The plaintiffs initially sued the Rhode Island Lottery Commission as well, but the court heretofore dismissed the suit as to the Lottery Commission under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). See Amended Order entered September 17, 1984. The rationale for that dismissal is not applicable to the remaining defendants.)

The case is presently before the court on the plaintiffs' motion for partial summary judgment, Fed.R.Civ.P. 56, and the defendants' cross motion for judgment on the pleadings. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c). Oral argument was initially heard on December 27, 1984, and the motions taken under advisement. On January 29, 1985, however, this court issued an order requiring the parties to show cause why the court should not abstain pending a state court construction of the challenged statute and/or why questions anent the interpretation of the Act should not be certified to the state supreme court. Following supplemental briefing, the show-cause hearing was held on March 11, 1985. The court again reserved decision, announcing its intention to address all pending matters, to the extent necessary, in a written opinion. This rescript fulfils that commitment.

I. BACKGROUND.

The underlying facts upon which this litigation is premised are essentially uncontested. On or about April 16, 1982, RIWPC requested permission from the Rhode Island Lottery Commission and the state police to conduct a raffle culminating in a drawing scheduled to take place on June 27, 1982. At the time of that application, R.I.Gen.Laws § 11-19-1 prohibited all persons "not authorized by the Rhode Island State Police" from conducting lotteries or games of chance, except that various committees "elected pursuant to the provisions of title 17, as amended of the Rhode Island General Laws" were allowed to conduct a twenty week club or a raffle once a year. RIWPC's request was denied on the ground that it was not a group empowered to dabble in raffle-rousing pursuant to the statute, and did not otherwise come within the exceptions created by R.I.Gen.Laws § 11-19-30.1 (1982 Supp.). (Under the last-mentioned statute, which has since been recodified as R.I.Gen.Laws § 11-19-30, various civic and fraternal organizations may be allowed to conduct games of chance as long as they are run solely by the members and the proceeds are expended exclusively for charitable purposes.) RIWPC licked its wounds, but took no action to contest this refusal.

In 1983, the escape hatch built into R.I. Gen.Laws § 11-19-1 was further widened to allow certified candidates for political office to conduct a 20-week club or raffle once a year. (The text of the amendment is quoted post at Part III of this opinion.) On or about June 28, 1983, RIWPC again sought permission to stage a raffle, with a drawing to be held on September 15, 1983. Wheeler informed RIWPC on September 14, 1983 that the state police had dishonored the request inasmuch as it did not come within the purview of any legitimatizing statutory exception. RIWPC and the PAC jointly filed this suit on June 7, 1984; the Citizens Party was allowed to intervene on October 15, 1984. The instant motions followed in due course.

The plaintiffs seek brevis disposition as to their claims for declaratory and injunctive relief, asseverating that the state statute, on its face and as applied, comprises an impermissible abridgement of rights secured to them by the first and fourteenth amendments to the federal Constitution. (They pray for only partial summary judgment, as they concede that their damage claims must be litigated separately.) The defendants' motion for judgment on the pleadings presents the flip side of the coin of constitutionality: these movants view

609 F. Supp. 1407
the Act as a wholesome exercise of the state's power and urge that the plaintiffs' challenge be summarily rejected

II. STANDING.

It is important at the outset to clarify the respective plaintiffs' positions vis-a-vis the statute. Having twice applied for, and been denied, permission to conduct a raffle, RIWPC has plainly suffered injury as a result of the defendants' interpretation and enforcement of the Act. Because this plaintiff "personally has suffered some actual or threatened injury as a result of the putatively illegal conduct of the defendants," Valley Forge Christian College v. Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Inc., 454 U.S. 464, 472, 102 S.Ct. 752, 758, 70 L.Ed.2d 700 (1982); see also Gladstone Realtors v. Village of Bellwood, 441 U.S. 91, 99, 99 S.Ct. 1601, 1607, 60 L.Ed.2d 66 (1979), and because the injury "fairly can be traced to the challenged action," and "is likely to be redressed by a favorable decision," Valley Forge, 454 U.S. at 472, 102 S.Ct. at 758, citing Simon v. Eastern Kentucky Welfare Rights Organization, 426 U.S. 26, 38, 41, 96 S.Ct. 1917, 1924, 1925, 48 L.Ed.2d 450 (1976), RIWPC plainly is not a mere interloper; it has standing to bring this suit.2

This terrain is not so firm, however, with regard to either the PAC or the Citizens Party. The PAC apparently did not even spring into being until late January, 1984 — after both of RIWPC's supplications had been turned away. The PAC has never, on this record, aspired to conduct its own lottery. To be sure, as the present fundraising arm of RIWPC, it might lay claim to being a specie of corporate successor in interest for purposes of this particular controversy. But, the difficulty with this approach, vis-a-vis a standing analysis, is that the exact nature of the relationship between RIWPC and the PAC has not been made entirely clear on this scumbled record. It is, for example, uncertain whether both RIWPC and the PAC intend to engage in future fundraising, or whether RIWPC will simply rely on its PAC to carry out this function. These ambiguities in the PAC's status and anent its relationship to RIWPC render its standing tenebrous.

The court, however, need not delve too deeply into the PAC's standing. The matter can be looked at from another angle. It is beyond cavil that RIWPC and the PAC are identically affected by, and share the same concerns regarding, the Act. Thus, for the plaintiffs' primary litigation purpose, i.e., a declaration that R.I.Gen.Laws § 11-19-1 is unconstitutional and the granting of appropriate injunctive relief ancillary to such a declaration, the two are indistinguishable. Viewed in the light of this identity of interest and commonality of purpose, the finding that RIWPC has standing to sue obviates the need independently to adjudicate whether or not the PAC has standing in its own right. Watt v. Energy Action Educational Foundation, 454 U.S. 151, 160, 102 S.Ct. 205, 212, 70 L.Ed.2d 309 (1981); Arlington Heights v. Metropolitan Housing Development Corp., 429 U.S. 252, 264 & n. 9, 97 S.Ct. 555, 562 & n. 9, 50 L.Ed.2d 450 (1977); Fausto v. Diamond, 589 F.Supp. 451, 460 (D.R.I.1984).3

Like the PAC, the Citizens Party has never actually applied for permission to conduct a 20-week club or raffle, and so has not suffered direct injury by means of the statute. Yet, in other respects, that plaintiff is situated differently than either

609 F. Supp. 1408
of the others. Though duly constituted as a political party in the state of Rhode Island, it is allegedly excluded from the green pastures within the encincture of R.I.Gen.Laws § 11-19-1 not because of its status or constitution, but because it has fared poorly at the polls. Indeed, the Citizens Party mounts its challenge to the Act primarily on that basis. And, the Citizens Party has asserted in the Local Rule 12.1(a)(1) statement of material facts (Statement) which accompanied its motion for partial summary judgment that it "plans to conduct a raffle forthwith and to conduct raffles hereinafter sic on an annual basis." Id. at ¶ 18. The defendants have not put these averments in issue, and they are deemed...

To continue reading

Request your trial
7 practice notes
  • McInnis v. Harley-Davidson Motor Co., Inc., Civ. A. No. 82-0422-S.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Rhode Island
    • January 14, 1986
    ...all parties in interest. E.g., Rhode Island Chapter of the National Women's Political Caucus, Inc. v. Rhode Island Lottery Commission, 609 F.Supp. 1403, 1411 (D.R.I.1985); cf. Ciba-Geigy Corp. v. Local # 2548, United Textile Workers of America, AFL-CIO, 391 F.Supp. 287, 297 n. 10 (D.R.I.197......
  • Montalvo-Huertas v. Rivera-Cruz, MONTALVO-HUERTAS
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (1st Circuit)
    • June 8, 1989
    ...or phrase immediately preceding); Rhode Island Chapter of the National Women's Political Caucus, Inc. v. Rhode Island Lottery Comm'n, 609 F.Supp. 1403, 1408-09 (D.R.I.1985) (listing cases applying rule). Lastly, the theory underlying res judicata is that "[i]dentity of parties and inte......
  • Bishop v. Moran, Civ. A. No. 4794 P.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Rhode Island
    • December 2, 1987
    ...that persons similarly situated receive like treatment at the hands of the sovereign." R.I. Ch. of Nat. W. Pol. C. v. R.I. Lottery, 609 F.Supp. 1403, 1417 Inmates like Alfred Bishop and Edward Franco are transferred to prisons in other states pursuant to interstate prison transfer comp......
  • Moderate Party of R.I. v. Lynch, CA. No. 10–265 S.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Rhode Island
    • February 9, 2011
    ...Greenberg v. Bolger, 497 F.Supp. 756 (E.D.N.Y.1980); R.I. Chapter of Nat'l Women's Political Caucus, Inc. v. R.I. Lottery Comm'n, 609 F.Supp. 1403 (D.R.I.1985). While these decisions all struck down as unconstitutional statutes discriminating between major and minor parties, they are all di......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
7 cases
  • McInnis v. Harley-Davidson Motor Co., Inc., Civ. A. No. 82-0422-S.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Rhode Island
    • January 14, 1986
    ...all parties in interest. E.g., Rhode Island Chapter of the National Women's Political Caucus, Inc. v. Rhode Island Lottery Commission, 609 F.Supp. 1403, 1411 (D.R.I.1985); cf. Ciba-Geigy Corp. v. Local # 2548, United Textile Workers of America, AFL-CIO, 391 F.Supp. 287, 297 n. 10 (D.R.I.197......
  • Montalvo-Huertas v. Rivera-Cruz, MONTALVO-HUERTAS
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (1st Circuit)
    • June 8, 1989
    ...or phrase immediately preceding); Rhode Island Chapter of the National Women's Political Caucus, Inc. v. Rhode Island Lottery Comm'n, 609 F.Supp. 1403, 1408-09 (D.R.I.1985) (listing cases applying rule). Lastly, the theory underlying res judicata is that "[i]dentity of parties and interest ......
  • Bishop v. Moran, Civ. A. No. 4794 P.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Rhode Island
    • December 2, 1987
    ...only that persons similarly situated receive like treatment at the hands of the sovereign." R.I. Ch. of Nat. W. Pol. C. v. R.I. Lottery, 609 F.Supp. 1403, 1417 Inmates like Alfred Bishop and Edward Franco are transferred to prisons in other states pursuant to interstate prison transfer comp......
  • Moderate Party of R.I. v. Lynch, CA. No. 10–265 S.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Rhode Island
    • February 9, 2011
    ...Greenberg v. Bolger, 497 F.Supp. 756 (E.D.N.Y.1980); R.I. Chapter of Nat'l Women's Political Caucus, Inc. v. R.I. Lottery Comm'n, 609 F.Supp. 1403 (D.R.I.1985). While these decisions all struck down as unconstitutional statutes discriminating between major and minor parties, they are all di......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT