In October and November 1971, appellee Alberta Lessard was subjected to a period of involuntary commitment under the Wisconsin State Mental Health Act, Wis. Stat. § 51.001 et seq. While in confinement, she filed this suit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, on behalf of herself and all other persons 18 years of age or older who were being held involuntarily pursuant to the Wisconsin involuntary-commitment laws, alleging that the statutory scheme was violative of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Jurisdiction was predicated on 28 U. S. C. § 1343 (3) and 42 U. S. C. § 1983. Since both declaratory
After hearing argument and receiving briefs, the District Court filed a comprehensive opinion, declaring the Wisconsin statutory scheme unconstitutional. 349 F.Supp. 1078. The opinion concluded by stating that
Over nine months later, the District Court entered a judgment, which simply stated that
The defendant-appellants now seek to invoke the appellate jurisdiction of this Court, pursuant to 28 U. S. C. § 1253. That statute provides that
In response, the appellee has filed a motion to dismiss the appeal for want of jurisdiction. Relying upon this Court's decision in Gunn v. University Committee to End the War, 399 U.S. 383, she claims that the District
In Gunn, a statutory three-judge court had found a Texas breach of the peace statute unconstitutional. There, as here, the opinion of the District Court concluded by stating that the plaintiffs "are entitled to . . . injunctive relief." University Committee to End the War v. Gunn, 289 F.Supp. 469, 475 (WD Tex.). The District Court in Gunn, however, entered no further order or judgment of any kind; the concluding paragraph of the opinion was the only mention of injunctive relief. Thus, we concluded that we lacked jurisdiction to hear the appeal under 28 U. S. C. § 1253, because of the total absence of any order "granting or denying" an injunction.
Although the language of the District Court opinion here parallels that in Gunn, there is thus an important distinction between the two cases. While the record in Gunn was devoid of any order granting injunctive relief, there was in the present case a judgment entered "in accordance with the Opinion." Since the opinion of the District Court by its own terms authorizes the granting of injunctive relief to the appellee, we believe that the judgment here is sufficient to invoke our jurisdiction under 28 U. S. C. § 1253.
Yet, although sufficient to invoke our appellate jurisdiction, the District Court's order provides a wholly inadequate foundation upon which to premise plenary judicial review. Rule 65 (d) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides, in relevant part:
As we have emphasized in the past, the specificity provisions of Rule 65 (d) are no mere technical requirements. The Rule was designed to prevent uncertainty and confusion on the part of those faced with injunctive orders, and to avoid the possible founding of a contempt citation on a decree too vague to be understood. International Longshoremen's Assn. v. Philadelphia Marine Trade Assn., 389 U.S. 64, 74-76; Gunn, supra, at 388-389. See generally 7 J. Moore, Federal Practice ¶ 65.11; 11 C. Wright & A. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 2955.
Hence, although the order below is sufficient to invoke our appellate jurisdiction, it plainly does not satisfy the important requirements of Rule 65 (d). Accordingly, we vacate the judgment of the District Court and remand the case to that court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.
Vacated and remanded.
MR. JUSTICE DOUGLAS dissents.