WATERMAN, Circuit Judge:
The plaintiff-appellant, Warren Jobson, was an inmate of the New York State Newark State School for Mental Defectives most of his life. He was first committed to it on August 27, 1935 when he was twelve years old. There he remained until he was placed on home convalescent care status in 1953. He was finally discharged on May 16, 1956, and shortly thereafter he apparently became associated with a group of boys who were engaged in various unlawful activities. He was soon arrested, was indicted, and pleaded guilty to the crimes of petty larceny and burglary in the third degree. Prior to sentence the charges were dropped, and twenty days after his discharge on June 5, 1956, the appellant was recertified to the Newark State School, where he remained until late in the year 1963.
On November 18, 1963 the appellant filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the Western District of New York, naming the director of the Newark State School, two assistant directors, and the school's supervising psychiatrist as parties defendant. The complaint sought a judgment for money damages totaling $100,000, alleging, inter alia, that "the defendants for a period of many months last past have
Federal jurisdiction was asserted under § 1983, 28 U.S.C. § 1343, and 28 U.S.C. § 1331.
Pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure the defendants moved with supporting affidavits for summary judgment in their favor. The appellant served affidavits in opposition to the defendants' motion. Judge Henderson granted the motion in a brief opinion filed on March 26, 1965. He did not hold that summary judgment was proper because there was no genuine issue as to a material fact. Indeed, Judge Henderson noted that "on the present record * * * the court obviously cannot determine whether work assignments in any instance were excessive." Nevertheless, the lower court decided the defendants were entitled to judgment as a matter of law because they were state officials and entitled to invoke traditional judge-made doctrines of official immunity
At the outset it should be noted that what we say in this case on the subject of the protection afforded by the Thirteenth Amendment has no bearing on the legality of the imprisonment of persons duly convicted of a crime; such persons are explicitly excepted from the Amendment's coverage. United States ex rel. Smith v. Dowd, 271 F.2d 292 (7 Cir. 1959), cert. denied, 362 U.S. 978, 80 S.Ct. 1063, 4 L.Ed.2d 1013 (1960).
On a record so devoid of facts it is clearly impossible at this time to resolve the merits of appellant's constitutional claim that as an inmate at the Newark State School he was forced to work under conditions that were tantamount to slave labor. All we can now decide is whether, assuming that what the plaintiff alleges is provable, the complaint states a claim upon which relief can be granted. Cf. Bell v. Hood, 327 U.S. 678, 66 S.Ct. 773, 90 L.Ed. 939 (1946). If it does not state such a claim the decision of the lower court can be affirmed on that ground. But if the complaint does state a claim upon which relief can be granted we must go on to decide whether the parties-defendant in this case, because of their offices, are immune from suit brought under § 1983.
Thus we turn to consider whether the complaint states a cause of action on which a court can grant relief. We assume that even though the purpose of the Thirteenth Amendment was to proscribe conditions of "enforced compulsory service of one to another," Hodges v. United States, 203 U.S. 1, 16, 27 S.Ct. 6, 8, 51 L.Ed. 65 (1906), the states are not thereby foreclosed from requiring that a lawfully committed inmate perform without compensation certain chores designed to reduce the financial burden placed on a state by its program of treatment for the mentally retarded, if the chores are reasonably related to a therapeutic program, or if not directly so related, chores of a normal housekeeping
As we cannot say that any such work program would not go beyond the bounds permitted by the Thirteenth Amendment, the complaint states a claim under § 1983. We must therefore reverse the district court's grant of the motion for summary judgment unless we can conclude that the lower court correctly applied the defense of official immunity. This follows from the present posture of this case. The case comes up upon the district court's grant of the defendants' motion for summary judgment and in this context factual disputes must be resolved in the manner most
Thus we reach the question whether these defendants by reason of their offices should be immune from the tort liability imposed by § 1983. The Civil Rights Acts in general,
It should be equally clear that both the language and the purpose of the Civil Rights Acts are inconsistent with the application of common law notions of official immunity in all suits brought under these provisions. See Norton v. McShane, 332 F.2d 855, 861 (5 Cir. 1964), cert. denied, 380 U.S. 981, 85 S.Ct. 1345, 14 L.Ed.2d 274 (1965). In suits brought under § 1983 an indispensable element of a plaintiff's case is a showing that the defendant (or defendants) acted "under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State * * *." 42 U.S. C. § 1983. This test can rarely be satisfied in the case of anyone other than a state official. See Collins v. Hardyman, 341 U.S. 651, 662, 71 S.Ct. 937, 95 L.Ed. 1253 (1951). To hold that all state officials in suits brought under § 1983 enjoy an immunity similar to that they might enjoy in suits brought under state law "would practically constitute a judicial repeal of the Civil Rights Acts." Hoffman v. Halden, 268 F.2d 280, 300 (9 Cir. 1959). Furthermore, and perhaps more basically, the purpose of § 1983 as well as the other Civil Rights provisions is to provide a federal remedy for the deprivation of federally guaranteed rights in order to enforce more perfectly federal limitations on unconstitutional state action. To hold all state officers immune from suit would very largely frustrate the salutary purpose of this provision.
In holding that the defense of official immunity could be invoked by the parties-defendant in the present case the lower court relied on the decision of the First Circuit in Francis v. Lyman, 216 F.2d 583 (1 Cir. 1954). In that case the plaintiff, released from a correction home on habeas corpus after having been committed under a statute not providing for a proper hearing, brought suit under an analogue of § 1983 seeking to recover from the wardens who had incarcerated him under a judicial warrant valid on its face. In dismissing the complaint on the ground that the named defendants were immune from suit, the First Circuit emphasized that none of the defendants had the lawful power to refuse to confine the plaintiff nor could they be viewed as having "caused" the unconstitutional confinement. In sharp contrast, in the present case the defendants are the very parties who imposed the work program, which it is claimed ruthlessly violated the plaintiff-appellant's constitutional rights. The defendants had the power to alter this program; in a real sense they can be said to have "caused" the conditions under which the appellant labored. We hold that in such circumstances the defendants are liable to suit under § 1983 even though they are state administrative officials.
Reversed and remanded for trial.
MOORE, Circuit Judge (dissenting):
The plaintiff, Warren Jobson, is a mental defective who has spent most of his adult life in state schools for the mentally defective. He was committed at the age of 12, at which time he had an I.Q. of 50 and a mental age of six and one-half years. After some improvement he was discharged in May 1956, but was recertified to the Newark [New York] State School for Mental Defectives on June 5, 1956, after he had been arrested and had pleaded guilty to charges of petty larceny and burglary in the third degree. Tests at the time of readmission indicated an I.Q. of 67; tests in 1963 indicated an I.Q. of 58. At present, Jobson appears to be supporting himself outside of the state mental institutions.
While at the Newark School, Jobson often worked at night in the boiler room, sometimes six nights a week, eight hours a night. In addition he did jobs about the community at wages fixed by the school. In November 1963, he brought suit in the Western District of New York against the director of the Newark School, two assistant directors, and a supervising psychiatrist, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that he had been deprived of his civil rights by defendants, having been held by them in involuntary servitude, slavery, or peonage, and seeking $100,000 in damages. The trial court granted defendant's motion for summary judgment, holding defendants immune from suit in light of the need for "effective administration of the state's program for mental defectives and the effect that the fear of constant and vexatious suits may have upon persons charged with its administration." From this judgment, plaintiff appeals.
The scope of the doctrine of official immunity to suit under the civil rights acts has never been well defined, perhaps
Norton v. McShane, 332 F.2d 855, 857 (5th Cir. 1964).
In the present case, defendants assert the state interest in being free to experiment in the therapeutic treatment of mental defectives; plaintiff asserts the need for some judicial review. Although to hold state psychiatrists absolutely immune from suit upon any state of facts might leave persons in the position of plaintiff without any means of securing judicial review, in the case now before us the allegations of the complaint and the affidavits on defendants' motion for summary judgment show clearly that defendants were acting within their discretion in their assignment of work to the plaintiff. In support of their motion for summary judgment, defendants submitted expert opinions indicating that the work was beneficial to plaintiff and had therapeutic value; in opposition to defendant's motion, plaintiff produced expert opinions that the work assignments were without therapeutic value. I would uphold the dismissal, interpreting Judge Henderson's decision not as holding that state psychiatrists are absolutely immune from suit under § 1983, but as holding that, as a matter of law, in light of the need to permit considerable flexibility in state treatment of mental defectives, plaintiff has failed to allege or show facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action under § 1983.
Such cases as there are on the subject support the action of the trial judge. To be sure, those cases upholding the dismissal of § 1983 actions against legislators, e. g., Tenney v. Brandhove, 341 U.S. 367, 71 S.Ct. 783, 95 L.Ed. 1019 (1951), and against judges, e. g., Arnold v. Bostwick, 339 F.2d 879 (9th Cir. 1964), may be distinguished from the present problem on the grounds of traditional desire to keep legislative discussion and judicial discretion absolutely untrammeled by fear of private damage actions.
However, the few cases under § 1983 involving treatment of insane persons or mental defectives strongly support the trial judge's decision. In Francis v. Lyman, 216 F.2d 583 (1st Cir. 1954), the First Circuit upheld the dismissal of an action against various officials responsible for the confinement of the plaintiff in a mental institution. The statute under which plaintiff had been confined had been held in a prior habeas corpus proceeding to violate due process by failing to provide opportunity for a fair hearing. The case holds only that officials of a mental institution cannot be held responsible for any lack of due process in the judicial commitment proceedings; but the court in broad dicta indicated a desire to restrict § 1983 to cases of racial discrimination. Still more in point is Hoffman v. Halden, 268 F.2d 280 (9th Cir. 1959), in which the plaintiff alleged that the superintendent of the state mental hospital improperly failed to release the plaintiff, although he had the power to order the plaintiff's release. The court upheld the dismissal of the action against the superintendent on the grounds that the superintendent's power was discretionary, and he should be immune from civil suits based upon the exercise of a discretionary function. See also Campbell v. Glenwood Hills Hospital, Inc., 224 F.Supp. 27 (D.Minn.1963), in which the court dismissed an action based in part upon improper treatment of a mental patient after confinement, and Duzynski v. Nosal, 324 F.2d 924 (7th Cir. 1963), upholding dismissal of a § 1983 complaint based upon abuse of discretion on the part of the committing doctor.
The reluctance of the courts to entertain actions of this sort is understandable. State psychiatrists need scope in their attempts to treat mental defectives, and courts have enough to do without practicing psychiatry. Only when a course of treatment is prescribed which cannot reasonably be defended as therapeutic should a suit of this type be able to withstand a defense motion for summary judgment. This is not such a case. I would affirm.