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January 19, 1972


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Decker, District Judge.


This is action brought by the plaintiff against the Chicago Park District and its Board of Commissioners for money damages for the cancellation of plaintiff's permit to present a rock concert in the Soldier Field Stadium.

Plaintiff, the concert sponsor, is an Illinois not-for-profit corporation, organized to provide music and cultural programs to the public. The Chicago Park District is a municipal corporation which controls and supervises the operation of Chicago's parks and recreation areas.

The course of events leading to the cancellation of the concert and the filing of this complaint is relatively simple. On or about March 24, 1970, plaintiff applied for a permit to present a rock music concert in the Soldier Field Stadium on September 13, 1970, and on April 14, 1970, the Park District issued such a permit agreement. Plaintiff then began expending certain sums of money in anticipation of that concert. Subsequently, on July 28, 1970, the Board of Commissioners of the Park District unanimously passed a resolution cancelling all permit agreements for rock music concerts for the remainder of the year 1970. Said resolution, which is incorporated in and made a part of the complaint, stated that the reason for this action was the occurrence of a premeditated riot at a rock music concert, featuring Sly and the Family Stone, held in Chicago at the Grant Park Band Shell on July 27, 1970, the day prior to the issuance of the resolution.*fn1

According to the resolution, more than 1000 persons took part in the riot causing injury to over 50 private persons and 125 police officers with thousands of dollars in damage to personal property. The resolution also stated that numerous public statements and threats had been made by rioters and other persons at the scene at the time of and immediately following the disturbance, asserting that the rioting was part of a continuing plan to seek a violent confrontation with police officers and officials of the City of Chicago, and that said conduct would be repeated in the future. On the basis of these alleged facts, the Board of Commissioners of the Park District found "that a continuation or repetition of a contemporary music concert at or near the Grant Park Band Shell will present a clear and present danger to the health and safety of the citizens of the City of Chicago . . ." The resolution further provided that "all Chicago Park District contemporary music concerts commonly known and referred to as `Pop' or `Rock' concerts, for the remainder of 1970 be and the same are hereby cancelled."

Based on those facts, plaintiff filed its complaint alleging that the cancellation of its permit violated its constitutional rights as guaranteed by Article 1, § 10, the First and Fourteenth Amendments, as well as its statutory (42 U.S.C. § 1983) and common law rights. Plaintiff claims that jurisdiction over the subject matter of its damage claim exists pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 and 1343. Defendants have challenged the sufficiency of the complaint to present any federal question and have moved to dismiss pursuant to Rules 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6), F.R.Civ.P.

Having examined the complaint with all appropriate benevolence, it is this court's conclusion that the cancellation of this permit, under the circumstances alleged, created no federal claim. The analysis of plaintiff's four-pronged complaint follows.


In essence, the complaint charges that the plaintiff had a contract with the Park District and that the Park District, by virtue of a unanimous resolution, breached the contract and thereby caused the plaintiff damages consisting mainly of lost profits.

Plaintiff attempts to transform this resolution into a violation of Article 1, § 10, Clause 1, of the Constitution, which provides, inter alia, as follows:

  "No State shall . . . pass any . . . Law impairing
  the Obligation of Contracts . . ."

It has long been settled that this Clause does not apply to a suit for damages based upon the claim that a state, or one of its subdivisions or agencies, has breached or repudiated a contract with another person. Hays v. Port of Seattle, 251 U.S. 233, 40 S.Ct. 125, 64 L.Ed. 243 (1920); McCormick v. Oklahoma City, 236 U.S. 657, 35 S.Ct. 455, 59 L.Ed. 771 (1915); National Cold Storage Company v. Port of New York Authority, 286 F. Supp. 1016 (S.D.N.Y. 1968); and Brody v. McCoy, 257 F. Supp. 209 (S.D.N Y 1966). The obligations of this contract were not impaired, because the plaintiff, as the aggrieved party, retained his remedy in a state action to compel full performance, either by a suit for damages or other relief. By the same token, plaintiff was not deprived of any property without due process by the simple act of cancellation. If the cancellation is determined to be wrongful, plaintiff can be made whole by the recovery of money damages for any loss it may have suffered.

Moreover, the resolution adopted by the Park Commissioners cannot be considered as a "law" under the Contracts Clause. The resolution, by its terms, was made applicable only to a particular situation for a limited period of time and did not possess the characteristics of a law of general application. National Cold Storage Company v. Port of New York Authority, supra.

The complaint made by the plaintiff that the cancellation was effected without giving plaintiff any notice or hearing can be presented as part of its ...

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