Seymour F. Cotton, Jr., appeals from three orders of the district court denying relief on his claims brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. We affirm.
Cotton is a state prisoner currently incarcerated in the Cummins Unit of the Arkansas Department of Corrections pursuant to a 1973 conviction for armed robbery. The three § 1983 petitions at issue here were filed in 1973 and 1974. The processing of these cases was held in abeyance pending decision in the Finney v. Hutto, 410 F.Supp. 251 (E.D.Ark.1976), aff'd, 548 F.2d 740 (8th Cir. 1977), class action litigation regarding the constitutionality of conditions of confinement in Arkansas Department of Correction penal institutions.
After the district court's opinion in Finney
A judgment in a class action suit brought under Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(b)(2) is binding on all class members unless they can show that their interests were not adequately represented by the class representatives.
We have carefully examined the many pleadings filed by petitioner. The majority of his claims seek injunctive and declaratory relief for a number of allegedly unconstitutional conditions and practices. Without delving into his claims in unnecessary factual detail, they relate to racial discrimination, inadequate food and overcrowding in the punitive isolation cells, inadequate medical care and facilities, interference with mail, religious and racial discrimination against Black Muslim inmates, brutality by prison employees, inadequate law library and access thereto, and failure to hire and promote blacks in the Department of Corrections.
In addition to his claims for injunctive and declaratory relief, two of petitioner's pleadings sought money damages. In one action he sought $50,000 in damages from the warden, Terrell Don Hutto. This claim was based on petitioner allegedly being subjected to a disciplinary proceeding for failure to cut a "top knot," a hair style claimed to be part of a religious purification ritual. Assuming, without deciding, that this allegation states a claim for denial of First Amendment rights, his pleading fails to state a claim for relief against Hutto; his allegation is that the disciplinary action was instituted by one Birt Brogan, a prison guard, who is not named as a party. Hutto is not alleged to have had any knowledge of, or connection with, this incident. Thus, any attempt to obtain damages from Hutto is predicated on a respondeat superior theory which does not apply in § 1983 suits. See, e. g., Rizzo v. Goode, 423 U.S. 362, 370-71, 96 S.Ct. 598, 46 L.Ed.2d 561 (1976); Duchesne v. Sugarman, 566 F.2d 817, 830 (2d Cir. 1977); Hampton v. Holmesburg Prison Officials, 546 F.2d 1077, 1082 (3d Cir. 1976); Sebastian v. United States, 531 F.2d 900, 904 (8th Cir.), cert. denied, 429 U.S. 856, 97 S.Ct. 153, 50 L.Ed.2d 133 (1976); Williams v. Vincent, 508 F.2d 541, 546 (2d Cir. 1974).
Petitioner's second claim for damages is against A. L. Lockhart, another prison official. This claim is based on two beatings which allegedly occurred in July 1974. The pleading alleges that Lockhart had personally beaten him on one of these occasions. However, in answer to interrogatories propounded by Lockhart petitioner stated that he was beaten by correctional officers "who are the subordinates of Respondent Lockhart[,] Said Respondent being responsible for the actions of his officers. . . ." Thus, it is clear that his claim for damages against Lockhart, the only named defendant, is predicated solely on a respondeat superior theory, which, as we have noted, does not apply in § 1983 suits.
Accordingly, the orders of the district court are affirmed.