McENTEE, Circuit Judge.
This is an appeal from a jury verdict in favor of plaintiffs-appellees, awarding nominal compensatory damages
This phrase from the charge is open to attack as lowering the threshold of cruel and unusual punishment
Rule 51 is of considerable importance for the orderly and just functioning of the judicial system, see Marshall v. Nugent, 222 F.2d 604, 615 (1st Cir. 1955); see also Dunn v. St. Louis-San Francisco Railway Co., 370 F.2d 681 (10th Cir. 1966) (Aldrich, J.), and we ordinarily do not entertain appeals from instructions to which objection was not made in accordance with the rule. We retain the power to do so, however, and we will exercise that power, albeit reluctantly, when the ends of justice would thereby be best served. "Where there is plain error we may notice such error of our own volition. This rule should be applied sparingly and only in exceptional cases or under peculiar circumstances to prevent a clear miscarriage of justice." Nimrod v. Sylvester, 369 F.2d 870, 873 (1st Cir. 1966). See also Hormel v. Helvering, 312 U.S. 552, 557, 61 S.Ct. 719, 85 L.Ed. 1037 (1941); Cohen v. Franchard Corp., 478 F.2d 115, 124 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, 414 U.S. 857, 94 S.Ct. 161, 38 L.Ed.2d 106 (1973). The plain error exception to Rule 51 by no means demands that "every alleged error, even on a significant aspect of a case, requires reversal despite failure to comply with Rule 51." Cohen v. Franchard Corp, supra at 124. While we have acknowledged the existence of the plain error exception, see, e. g., Nimrod v. Sylvester, supra at 873; Giacalone v. Raytheon Mfg. Co., 222 F.2d 249, 251-52 (1st Cir. 1955), it is noteworthy that to the best of our knowledge this court has never reversed a civil case on this basis. We reaffirm Nimrod's acknowledgment of the existence of a plain error exception, but we also endorse the view of Professors Wright and Miller to the effect that "If there is to be a plain error exception to Rule 51 at all, it should be confined to the exceptional case where the error has seriously affected the fairness, integrity, or public reputation of judicial proceedings." 9 C. Wright & A. Miller, Federal Practice & Procedure § 2558, at 675 (1971). See also Cohen v. Franchard Corp., supra at 125. We have very carefully studied the record in this case, and we conclude that the plain error exception should not be invoked here. The alleged error concerns only a part of the charge; the district court gave both parties an opportunity to object to the charge; and the defendants were represented by the Attorney General's office. Thus we do not believe that a sufficient case has been made out here for us to make an exception to Rule 51.
We are well aware that this case involves the complex and combustible area of prison control and discipline, see Palmigiano v. Baxter, 487 F.2d 1280, 1283 (1st Cir. 1973), vacated and remanded, 418 U.S. 908, 94 S.Ct. 3200, 41 L.Ed.2d 1155, on reconsideration, 510 F.2d 534 (1974), cert. granted, 421 U.S. 1010, 95 S.Ct. 2414, 44 L.Ed.2d 678 (1975), but we cannot overlook basic procedural rules
Defendants also argue that there was an insufficient evidentiary basis for finding liability on the part of the supervisory personnel, Warden Mullen and Acting Director Taylor. We have examined the evidence and the court's charge on this point, and we find sufficient evidence to support a finding of liability. In addition, we find no prejudicial error by the court in its evidentiary rulings.
Accordingly, the judgment of the district court is affirmed.
Wood v. Strickland's discussion of immunity and § 1983 was limited to "the specific context of school discipline," id. at 322, 95 S.Ct. at 1001, but the language concerning unquestioned and clearly established constitutional rights appears to represent a more general principle. See O'Connor v. Donaldson, 422 U.S. 563, 95 S.Ct. 2486, 45 L.Ed.2d 396 (1975); Gumanis v. Donaldson, 422 U.S. 1052, 95 S.Ct. 2673, 45 L.Ed.2d 705 (1975). See also Knell v. Bensinger, 522 F.2d 720 (7th Cir. 1975); Glasson v. City of Louisville, 518 F.2d 899, 907-08 (6th Cir. 1975).