MR. JUSTICE MARSHALL delivered the opinion of the Court.
This case raises three distinct questions concerning the scope of federal jurisdiction. We are called upon to decide whether a federal cause of action lies against a municipality under 42 U. S. C. §§ 1983 and 1988 for the actions of its officers which violate an individual's federal civil rights where the municipality is subject to such liability under state law. In addition, we must decide whether, in a federal civil rights suit brought against a municipality's police officers, a federal court may refuse to exercise pendent jurisdiction over a state law claim against the municipality based on a theory of vicarious liability, and whether a county of the State of California is a citizen of the State for purposes of federal diversity jurisdiction.
The federal causes of action against the individual defendants were based on allegations of conspiracy and intent to deprive petitioners of their constitutional rights of free speech and assembly, and to be secure from the deprivation of life and liberty without due process of law. These federal causes of action against the individual defendants were alleged to arise under, inter alia, 42 U. S. C. §§ 1983 and 1985, and jurisdiction was asserted to exist under 28 U. S. C. § 1343.
Initially, the defendants answered both complaints denying liability, although the County admitted that it had consented to be sued.
The District Court agreed with the County's arguments and granted the motion to dismiss the Rundle suit. It, however, postponed ruling in the Moor case pending consideration of possible diversity jurisdiction over the state law claim against the County in that case. Subsequently, the County sought to have the state law claim in Moor dismissed on the basis that it was not a citizen of California for purposes of diversity jurisdiction. While this motion was pending, a motion for reconsideration of the order dismissing the County was filed in the Rundle case. Following argument with respect to the jurisdictional issues, the District Court entered an order in Moor holding that there was no diversity jurisdiction and incorporating by reference an order filed in the Rundle case which again rejected petitioners' civil rights and pendent jurisdiction arguments. Upon the request of the petitioners, the District Court, finding "no just reason for delay," entered a final judgment in both suits with respect to the County under Fed. Rule Civ. Proc. 54 (b), thereby allowing immediate appeal of its jurisdictional decisions.
We consider first petitioners' argument concerning the existence of a federal cause of action against the County under 42 U. S. C. § 1988. Petitioners' thesis is, in essence, that under California law the County has been made vicariously liable for the conduct of its sheriff and deputy sheriffs which violates the Federal Civil Rights Acts
Section 1988 reads, in relevant part, as follows:
The starting point for petitioners' argument is this Court's decision in Monroe v. Pape, 365 U.S. 167 (1961). There the Court held that 42 U. S. C. § 1983, which was derived from § 1 of the Ku Klux Klan Act of April 20, 1871, 17 Stat. 13, was intended to provide private parties a cause of action for abuses of official authority which resulted in the deprivation of constitutional rights, privileges, and immunities.
Petitioners in this case are not asking us to create a substantive federal liability without legislative direction. See United States v. Standard Oil Co., 332 U.S. 301 (1947); cf. United States v. Gilman, 347 U.S. 507 (1954). It is their view, rather, that in § 1988 Congress has effectively mandated the adoption of California's law of vicarious liability into federal law. It is, of course, not uncommon for Congress to direct that state law be used to fill the interstices of federal law.
First, petitioners' argument completely overlooks the full language of the statute. Section 1988 does not enjoy the independent stature of an "Act of Congress providing for the protection of civil rights," 28 U. S. C. § 1343 (4). Rather, as is plain on the face of the statute, the section is intended to complement the various acts which do create federal causes of action for the violation of federal civil rights.
The role of § 1988 in the scheme of federal civil rights legislation is amply illustrated by our decision in Sullivan v. Little Hunting Park, 396 U.S. 229 (1969). In Sullivan, the Court was confronted with a question as to the availability of damages in a suit concerning discrimination in the disposition of property brought pursuant to § 1982 which makes no express provision for a damages remedy.
This view is fully confirmed by the legislative history of the statute. Section 1988 was first enacted as a portion of § 3 of the Civil Rights Act of April 9, 1866, c. 31, 14 Stat. 27. Section 1 of that Act is the source of 42 U. S. C. § 1982, the provision under which suit was brought in Sullivan. The initial portion of § 3 of the
There is yet another reason why petitioners' reliance upon § 1988 must fail. The statute expressly limits the authority granted federal courts to look to the common law, as modified by state law, to instances in which that law "is not inconsistent with the Constitution and laws of the United States." Yet if we were to look to California law imposing vicarious liability upon municipalities, as petitioners would have us do, the result would effectively be to subject the County to federal court suit on a federal civil rights claim. Such a result would seem to be less than consistent with this Court's prior holding in Monroe v. Pape, 365 U. S., at 187-191, that Congress did not intend to render municipal corporations liable to federal civil rights claims under § 1983. See, e. g., Brown v. Town of Caliente, 392 F.2d 546 (CA9 1968); Ries v. Lynskey, 452 F.2d 172, 174-175 (CA7 1971); Brown v. Ames, 346 F.Supp. 1173, 1176 (Minn. 1972); Wilcher v. Gain, 311 F.Supp. 754, 755 (ND Cal. 1970).
Petitioners argue, however, that there is in fact no inconsistency between the interpretation placed upon
In effect, petitioners are arguing that their particular actions may be properly brought against this County on the basis of § 1983. But whatever the factual premises of Monroe, we find the construction which petitioners seek to impose upon § 1983 concerning the status of municipalities as "persons" to be simply untenable.
In Monroe, the Court, in examining the legislative evolution of the Ku Klux Klan Act of April 20, 1871, which is the source of § 1983, pointed out that Senator Sherman introduced an amendment which would have added to the Act a new section providing expressly for municipal liability in civil actions based on the deprivation of civil rights. Although the amendment was passed by the Senate,
Accordingly, we conclude that the District Court properly granted the motion to dismiss the causes of action brought against the County by petitioners under § 1983 and § 1988.
Although unable to establish a federal cause of action against the County on the basis of the California law
Petitioners rely principally upon the decision in Mine Workers v. Gibbs, 383 U.S. 715, 725 (1966), where the Court eschewed the "unnecessarily grudging" approach of Hurn v. Oursler, 289 U.S. 238 (1933), to the doctrine of pendent jurisdiction. Gibbs involved a suit brought under both federal and state law by a contractor to recover damages allegedly suffered as a result of a secondary boycott imposed upon it by a union. There existed independent federal jurisdiction as to the federal claim, but there was no independent basis of jurisdiction to support the state law claim. Nevertheless, the Court concluded that federal courts could exercise pendent jurisdiction over the state law claim.
In deciding the question of pendent jurisdiction, the Gibbs Court indicated that there were two distinct issues to be considered. First, there is the issue of judicial power to hear the pendent claim. In this respect the Court indicated that the requisite "power" exists
Yet even if there exists power to hear the pendent claim, "[i]t has consistently been recognized that pendent jurisdiction is a doctrine of discretion, not of plaintiff's right. Its justification lies in considerations of judicial economy, convenience and fairness to litigants; if these are not present a federal court should hesitate to exercise jurisdiction over state claims, even though bound to apply state law to them . . . ." Id., at 726. By way of explanation of the considerations which should inform a district court's discretion, the Court in Gibbs suggested, inter alia, that "[n]eedless decisions of state law should be avoided both as a matter of comity and to promote justice between the parties, by procuring for them a surer-footed reading of applicable law," ibid., and that "reasons independent of jurisdictional considerations, such as the likelihood of jury confusion in treating divergent legal theories of relief, [may] justify separating state and federal claims for trial," id., at 727. In Gibbs, the Court found that the exercise of pendent jurisdiction over the state law claims was proper both as a matter of power and discretion.
In these cases, there is no question that petitioners' complaints stated substantial federal causes of action against the individual defendants under 42 U. S. C. § 1983. See Monroe v. Pape, 365 U.S. 167 (1961). Nor is there any dispute that the federal claims against the individual defendants and the state claims against the individual defendants may be said to involve "a common nucleus of operative fact." But, beyond this,
As to the question of judicial power, the District Court and Court of Appeals considered themselves bound by the Ninth Circuit's previous decision in Hymer v. Chai, 407 F.2d 136 (1969), wherein the court refused to permit the joinder of a pendent plaintiff. Petitioners vigorously attack the decision in Hymer as at odds with the clear trend of lower federal court authority since this Court's decision in Gibbs. It is true that numerous decisions throughout the courts of appeals since Gibbs have recognized the existence of judicial power to hear pendent claims involving pendent parties where "the entire action before the court comprises but one constitutional `case' " as defined in Gibbs.
The District Court indicated, and the Court of Appeals agreed, that exercise of jurisdiction over the state law claims was inappropriate for at least two reasons. First, the District Court pointed out that it "would be
There remains, however, the question whether the District Court had jurisdiction over petitioner Moor's state law claim against the County on the basis of diversity of citizenship, 28 U. S. C. § 1332 (a). Petitioner Moor, a citizen of Illinois, contends that the County is a citizen of California for the purposes of federal diversity jurisdiction. The District Court concluded otherwise, however. For while acknowledging that there exists a substantial body of contrary authority, it considered itself "bound to recognize and adhere to the Ninth Circuit decisions which hold that California counties and other subdivisions of the State are not `citizens' for diversity purposes,"
There is no question that a State is not a "citizen" for purposes of the diversity jurisdiction. That proposition has been established at least since this Court's decision in Postal Telegraph Cable Co. v. Alabama, 155 U.S. 482, 487 (1894). See also Minnesota v. Northern Securities Co., 194 U.S. 48, 63 (1904). At the same time, however, this Court has recognized that a political subdivision of a State, unless it is simply "the arm or alter ego of the State,"
The County in this case contends, however, that unlike the counties of most States, it is not a municipal corporation or an otherwise independent political subdivision,
Most notably, under California law a county is given "corporate powers"
But even if our own examination were not sufficient for present purposes, we have the clearest indication possible from California's Supreme Court of the status of California's counties. In People ex rel. Younger v. County of El Dorado, 5 Cal.3d 480, 487 P.2d 1193 (1971), the Attorney General of the State sought a writ of mandate against two California counties to compel them to pay out certain allotted monies. Under state law, such a writ may be issued only to any "inferior tribunal, corporation, board, or person." Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 1085 (emphasis added). In holding that the writ could be issued against the counties, the California Supreme Court said:
We do not lightly reject the Court of Appeals' previous conclusion that California counties are merely part of the State itself and as such are not citizens of the State for diversity purposes.
Thus, we hold that petitioner Moor's state law claim against the County is within the diversity jurisdiction.
It is so ordered.
MR. JUSTICE DOUGLAS, dissenting.
The claims in the instant actions arose out of the May 1969 People's Park disturbance, in which petitioners were allegedly injured by an Alameda County deputy sheriff who was performing duties at that time on behalf of the County. Petitioners brought actions against several deputies, the sheriff, and the County. The complaints against the County alleged federal causes of action under the Civil Rights Acts, 42 U. S. C. §§ 1981, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1988, and pendent state claims under § 810 et seq. of the California Government Code. Both federal and state causes of action were premised on the theory that the County could be held vicariously liable for the acts of the deputies. The County subsequently filed motions to dismiss the claims against it in each case, contending that, as to the Civil Rights Act claims, the County was not a "person" who could be sued under the Act. The trial court ultimately granted these motions and ordered that all claims against the County be dismissed. The Court of Appeals affirmed these orders of the District Court, Moor v. Madigan, 458 F.2d 1217 (CA9).
Title 42 U. S. C. § 1983 provides:
In Monroe v. Pape, 365 U.S. 167, we held that a municipality was not a "person" within the meaning of that Act. The issue was whether or not the Act made municipalities liable in damages, id., at 187-191, that claim being strongly pressed because "private remedies against officers for illegal searches and seizures are conspicuously ineffective and because municipal liability will not only afford plaintiffs responsible defendants but cause those defendants to eradicate abuses that exist at the police level." Id., at 191. We certainly said, as the Court holds, that a municipality was not a "person" within the meaning of § 1983. Ibid. But § 1983 permits equitable relief, as well as damages, not directly involved in Monroe v. Pape but a matter we explored at some length last Term in Mitchum v. Foster, 407 U.S. 225.
There may be overtones in Monroe v. Pape that even suits in equity are barred. Yet we never have so held. Certainly a residuum of power seems available in § 1983 to enjoin such bizarre conduct as the offering to the police of classes in torture. More realistically, § 1983 as construed in Mitchum v. Foster might under some circumstances authorize a federal injunction against a municipal prosecution of an offender. Such being my understanding of Monroe v. Pape and Mitchum v. Foster, I would hold that the County of Alameda in this case is a "person" within the meaning of § 1983 for a narrow group of equity actions and that therefore the District Court did not lack jurisdiction.
Although the complaint in the instant action asked for damages, it also prayed for any further relief that the court might deem just and proper. Since the complaint was dismissed at the threshold of the litigation, it is impossible to determine whether or not grounds for equitable
In any event an amended complaint could make the matter clear beyond peradventure.
That raises the question as to the liability of the County of Alameda, by reason of 42 U. S. C. § 1988, which reads:
Under California law "[a] public entity may sue and be sued." (Govt. Code § 945), although a public entity has a general immunity from suit involving injury. Id., § 815. Moreover, an officer, while generally immune, may become liable in damages, if he uses unreasonable force against a citizen, in which event the municipality loses its immunity. That at least is the way I read Scruggs v. Haynes, 252 Cal.App.2d 256, 60 Cal.Rptr. 355.
Since § 1983 does not allow damages against the municipality
As we said in Mitchum v. Foster:
The federal right here is not to obtain damages but to obtain some kind of equitable relief. Application by the federal court of a state cause of action for damages is therefore in harmony with both § 1983 and § 1988. As we stated in Sullivan v. Little Hunting Park, 396 U.S. 229, 240, "This means, as we read § 1988, that both federal and state rules on damages may be utilized, whichever better serves the policies expressed in the federal statutes. . . . The rule of damages, whether drawn from federal or state sources, is a federal rule responsive to the need whenever a federal right is impaired." The federal right here is the alleged "deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws" as these words are used in § 1983.
"Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress."
Before this Court the parties have disagreed as to the extent of the individual defendants' personal assets and insurance that might be available to satisfy any favorable final judgment which petitioners might ultimately obtain. See Brief for Respondents 15; Tr. of Oral Arg. 25; id., at 50-51. In light of our conclusion as to the limited function of § 1988 in the scheme of federal civil rights legislation we have no occasion here to pass upon the adequacy of the relief available against the individual defendants.
"All citizens of the United States shall have the same right, in every State and Territory, as is enjoyed by white citizens thereof to inherit, purchase, lease, sell, hold, and convey real and personal property."
Petitioners' reliance in this case upon Hesselgesser v. Reilly, 440 F.2d 901, 903 (CA9 1971), and Lewis v. Brautigam, 227 F.2d 124, 128 (CA5 1955), is misplaced. In Hesselgesser, the Court of Appeals ruled that a sheriff could be held vicariously liable in damages for the wrongful act of his deputy which deprived a prisoner of his civil rights where state law provided for such vicarious liability. The court, to be sure, found authority for the incorporation of state law into federal law in § 1988, but it was acting in the context of a suit brought against the sheriff on the basis of § 1983. Likewise in Lewis, where a sheriff was held to be liable for the civil rights violations of his deputies in light of state law which imposed such liability—a decision which also rested apparently upon § 1988, although that section was not specifically cited—the cause of action was properly based on § 1983. These decisions simply do not support the suggestion that § 1988 alone authorizes the creation of a federal cause of action against the County. And here, as discussed below, § 1983 is unavailable as a basis for suit against the County.
"That the district courts of the United States, within their respective districts, shall have, exclusively of the courts of the several States, cognizance of all crimes and offences committed against the provisions of this act, and also, concurrently with the circuit courts of the United States, of all causes, civil and criminal, affecting persons who are denied or cannot enforce in the courts or judicial tribunals of the State or locality where they may be any of the rights secured to them by the first section of this act . . . . The jurisdiction in civil and criminal matters hereby conferred on the district and circuit courts of the United States shall be exercised and enforced in conformity with the laws of the United States, so far as such laws are suitable to carry the same into effect; but in all cases where such laws are not adapted to the object, or are deficient in the provisions necessary to furnish suitable remedies and punish offences against law, the common law, as modified and changed by the constitution and statutes of the State wherein the court having jurisdiction of the cause, civil or criminal, is held, so far as the same is not inconsistent with the Constitution and laws of the United States, shall be extended to and govern said courts in the trial and disposition of such cause, and, if of a criminal nature, in the infliction of punishment on the party found guilty."
"I now come to inquire is it competent for the Congress of the United States to punish municipal organizations of this kind in this way at all, with or without notice? My judgment is that such power nowhere exists; that it cannot be found within the limits of the Constitution; that its exercise cannot be justified by any rational construction of that instrument. I hold that the constitutional power of the Federal Government to punish the citizens of the United States for any offenses punishable by it at all may be exercised and exhausted against the individual offender and his property; but when you go one inch beyond that you are compelled, by the very necessities which surround you, to invade powers which are secured to the States, which are a necessary and most essential part of the autonomy of State governments, without which there can logically be no State government." Id., at 788.
Similarly, Representative Willard explained his opposition to the amendment as follows:
"Now, sir, the Constitution has not imposed, we have not by the Constitution imposed, any duty upon a county, city, parish, or any other subdivision of a State, to enforce the laws, to provide protection for the people, to give them equal rights, privileges, and immunities. The Constitution has declared that to be the duty of the State. The Constitution, in effect, says that no State shall deny to its citizens the equal protection of the laws, and I understand that that declaration, that prohibition, applies only to the States, so far as political or municipal action is concerned. But the State, within its boundaries, has the creation and the control of the laws for the protection of the people." Id., at 791. And Representative Poland contended:
"As I understand the theory of our Constitution, the national Government deals either with States or with individual persons. So far as we are a national Government in the strict sense we deal with persons, with every man who is an inhabitant of the United States, as if there were no States, towns, or counties; as if the whole country were in one general mass, without any subdivisions of States, counties, or towns. We deal with them as citizens or inhabitants of this great Republic. With these local subdivisions we have nothing to do. We can impose no duty upon them; we can impose no liability upon them in any manner whatever." Id., at 793.
See also id., at 795 (remarks of Rep. Blair); id., at 798 (remarks of Rep. Bingham).