Socialist Workers Party v. Attorney General of US, 73 Civ. 3160.

Citation642 F. Supp. 1357
Decision Date25 August 1986
Docket NumberNo. 73 Civ. 3160.,73 Civ. 3160.
PartiesSOCIALIST WORKERS PARTY, et al., Plaintiffs, v. The ATTORNEY GENERAL OF the UNITED STATES, et al., Defendants.
CourtUnited States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York

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Margaret Winter, New York City, for plaintiffs; Shelley Davis, Herbert Jordan, Randlett Walster, Donna-Maria Gilligan, Charles Brennan, of counsel.

Rudolph W. Giuliani, U.S. Atty., New York City, for defendants; Edward G. Williams, Peter C. Salerno, Cathy R. Silak, Asst. U.S. Attys., of counsel.

Rabinowitz, Boudin, Standard, Krinsky & Lieberman, P.C., New York City, for amici curiae Nat. Emergency and Liberty Committee, Bill of Rights Foundation; Leonard B. Boudin, of counsel.

                         TABLE OF CONTENTS
                                                                                   Page
                I. Introduction .................................................. 1362
                II. Issues for Trial and Decision ................................ 1363
                III. Summary of Rulings .......................................... 1364
                IV. The Socialist Workers Party .................................. 1364
                    A. Historical Background ..................................... 1364
                    B. Fourth International ...................................... 1366
                    C. Organization of the SWP ................................... 1369
                    D. Ideology of the SWP ....................................... 1369
                    E. Does the SWP Espouse or Practice Violence? ................ 1370
                V. FBI's Investigation ........................................... 1375
                    A. Original Presidential Authorizations ....................... 1375
                    B. Commencement of SWP Investigation
                     —Dunne Case .................................................. 1376
                    C. Types of FBI Activities .................................... 1377
                    D. Informants
                       —Special Master's Report .................................... 1377
                   E. Disruption ................................................. 1383
                      1. Covert Disruption Activities ............................... 1384
                      2. Interviews and Interrogations .............................. 1389
                   F. Electronic Surveillance ....................................... 1389
                   G. Surreptitious Entries
                      —"Bag Jobs" ....................................................... 1393
                   H. Security Index/ADEX ........................................... 1395
                   I. Loyalty-Security Program ...................................... 1396
                   J. Termination of FBI Investigation .............................. 1400
                VI. Issues Under the Federal Tort Claims Act ........................ 1401
                   A. List of Administrative Claims ................................. 1401
                   B. Findings Regarding Timeliness of Administrative Claims ........ 1402
                      1. Disruption Program ......................................... 1404
                      2. Surreptitious Entries ...................................... 1407
                      3. Informants ................................................. 1409
                      4. Electronic Surveillance .................................... 1410
                      5. Sell and Starsky ........................................... 1410
                      6. Jenness and Pulley ......................................... 1411
                   C. Legal Conclusions Regarding Timeliness of Administrative Claims 1411
                   D. Waiting Period After Administrative Claims .................... 1414
                   E. Discretionary Function Defense ................................ 1415
                   F. Sufficiency of Administrative Claims .......................... 1417
                
                G. Tort Liability and Damages .................................... 1417
                   1. Disruption ................................................. 1417
                   2. Surreptitious Entries ...................................... 1420
                   3. Informants ................................................. 1422
                   4. Starsky .................................................... 1423
                VII. Claims for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief ................ 1425
                 A. Basic Legal Rules ............................................ 1425
                 B. Investigations ............................................... 1425
                   1. FBI ........................................................ 1425
                   2. CIA ........................................................ 1425
                   3. Military Services .......................................... 1426
                   4. Postal Service ............................................. 1426
                   5. Internal Revenue Service ................................... 1427
                   6. Secret Service ............................................. 1427
                 C. Federal Employment ........................................... 1427
                 D. Immigration Matters .......................................... 1428
                 E. Statutes ..................................................... 1430
                 F. Files ........................................................ 1430
                VIII. Conclusion ................................................. 1432
                
OPINION

GRIESA, District Judge.

I Introduction

This is an action brought by a political organization, the Socialist Workers Party ("SWP"), its youth arm, the Young Socialist Alliance ("YSA"), and certain members of the SWP. The action is against the United States of America and certain officials of the United States.

Plaintiffs are followers of the Trotskyist branch of Marxism. They contend that they have been improperly viewed by various Government agencies as threats to national security, and have been subjected to infiltration, disruption and harassment in violation of their legal rights. Plaintiffs seek declaratory and injunctive relief and damages.

The action was commenced on July 18, 1973. The time required for motions and pre-trial discovery was unusually protracted, in part because of the need to organize a selective sample production of the enormous files in the Federal Government relating to the SWP, the YSA and certain of their members. The discovery was complicated by difficult claims of governmental secrecy, requiring two interlocutory appellate proceedings. The following is a list of the prior reported decisions in this case. To the extent that the substance of these decisions is relevant, they will be discussed in the course of the present opinion.

District Court 387 F.Supp. 747 (1974) 458 F.Supp. 895 (1978) 458 F.Supp. 923 (1978) 463 F.Supp. 515 (1978) Court of Appeals 510 F.2d 253 (1974) 565 F.2d 19 (1977) 596 F.2d 58 (1979) Supreme Court 419 U.S. 1314, 95 S.Ct. 425, 42 L.Ed.2d 627 (1974) (denial of stay) 436 U.S. 962, 98 S.Ct. 3082, 57 L.Ed.2d 1129 (1978) (cert. denied) 444 U.S. 903, 100 S.Ct. 217, 62 L.Ed.2d 141 (1979) (cert. denied)

The original complaint, filed in July 1973, named as defendants various federal agency and department heads by official title (e.g., Attorney General of the United States) and certain individuals. The United States was not named as a defendant in the original complaint. The original complaint was filed as a class action. A stipulation and order dated September 9, 1974 provided that the action would not be maintained as a class action.

An amended complaint was filed on May 12, 1976. Among other things, it included a claim against the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act ("FTCA"), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1346(b) and 2671 et seq. Plaintiffs filed a second amended complaint on October 8, 1976. As a result of the amendments to the pleadings and various other motions and stipulations, the list of the parties at the time of the trial was as follows:

Plaintiffs Socialist Workers Party Young Socialist Alliance Jack Barnes Barry Sheppard Peter Camejo Farrell Dobbs Willie Mae Reid Linda Jenness Andrew Pulley Norman Oliver Evelyn Sell Morris Starsky Defendants Attorney General of the United States Secretary of the Treasury Secretary of Defense Postmaster General Secretary of the Army Director of the Federal Bureau Of Investigation Director of Central Intelligence Director of the Secret Service Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency Civil Service Commissioners President of the United States Commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service Secretary of State United States of America

The defendants, other than the United States, are officials named by title. The individual defendants, originally named, were dismissed from the case either on motion or by consent.

The trial was held from April 2 to June 25, 1981 before the court without a jury. Voluminous briefs were thereafter filed. The briefing extended into the spring of 1983.

II Issues for Trial and Decision

The following is a summary of the issues which remain for resolution as a result of the trial of this case and the post-trial briefing.

The bulk of the evidence at the trial and the discussion in the briefs related to plaintiffs' allegations of wrongdoing by the FBI and the Department of Justice. Plaintiffs' principal complaints are about four types of FBI activity—disruption, surreptitious entries or burglaries, use of informants, and electronic surveillance (telephone wiretaps and "bugs" in offices and dwellings). Plaintiffs also complain about two programs implemented by the Department of Justice and the FBI, the Security Index/ADEX program and the loyalty-security program for federal employees. In connection with the second program, the SWP was included in the so-called Attorney General's list (now terminated) as a subversive organization.

Damage claims are asserted by the SWP and YSA and also by four of the individual plaintiffs, Evelyn Sell, Morris Starsky, Linda Jenness and Andrew Pulley. For the purpose of discussing the claims, the SWP and YSA will be treated as a unit, and will be referred to as the SWP.

The SWP is seeking damages against the United States under the FTCA with respect to disruption, surreptitious entries, use of informants, and electronic surveillance. The SWP contends that these activities not only violated the Constitution, but also constituted common law torts giving right to recovery under the FTCA....

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