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United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, E.D

January 8, 1973


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


This cause comes on the motion of defendants, James B. Conlisk, Jr. and Paul McLaughlin for summary judgment pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

This is a civil rights action instituted pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1981, 1983, 1985, and 1986. Jurisdiction of this Court is based on 28 U.S.C. § 1331 and 1343, and 42 U.S.C. § 1988. The amount in controversy is alleged to exceed the sum of $10,000 exclusive of interest and costs.

The plaintiff, Norman Boyden, is a citizen of the United States who resides in Chicago, Illinois. The defendant Chicago police officers are James Troken, Joseph McMahon, H. Berge, various John Does whose names and identities are presently unknown, the Chicago Police Superintendent James B. Conlisk, Jr., and the Commander of the 1st Chicago Police District Paul McLaughlin.

In the complaint the plaintiff alleges, inter alia, the following facts:

  1.  The defendants are employees of the City of
      Chicago who deprived the plaintiff of his
      civil rights under the color of state law.

  2.  On or about August 10, 1970 at Chicago Police
      Headquarters, 1121 S. State, the plaintiff
      after having been arrested was struck, beaten
      pushed, assaulted, and battered by all police
      officer defendants except Conlisk and

  3.  This infliction of summary physical
      punishment deprived the plaintiff of due
      process and caused him to suffer bodily

  4.  The plaintiff was denied full and equal
      protection of the law. More specifically
      plaintiff alleges that he was arrested
      without just, probable or lawful cause;
      deprived of his liberty until he could post
      bond; and was thereby required to defend
      himself against such improper charges and
      incur the expense of such a defense.

  5.  That certain unknown Chicago Police officers
      referred to as John Does knew of the above
      described wrongs but failed to prevent or aid
      in the prevention of those wrongs.

  6.  The defendant James B. Conlisk, Jr. had the
      power to then and there prevent or aid in the
      prevention of the commission of those wrongs
      and either neglected or refused to do so.

  7.  Two or more of the defendants, including
      possibly Conlisk and McLaughlin, conspired to
      deprive the plaintiff of the rights,
      privileges, and immunities secured by the
      Constitution and laws of the United States.

The plaintiff seeks damages totaling over $300,000.

Defendants Conlisk and McLaughlin in support of their Motion for Summary Judgment contend that there is no question that they did not personally participate in any of the acts alleged in the complaint and thus that the complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted as to them. Both Conlisk and McLaughlin have signed affidavits stating that they did not personally arrest the plaintiff nor did they direct, participate, or have personal knowledge of the incident involving plaintiff alleged to have occurred on or about August 10, 1970.

  It is the opinion of this court that plaintiff's complaint
fails to state a cause of action as to defendants Conlisk and
McLaughlin. The doctrine of respondeat superior does not apply
in civil rights cases, Barrows v. Faulkner et al., 327 F. Supp. 1190
 (N.D.Okla., 1971); Sanberg v. Daley, 306 F. Supp. 277
(N.D.Ill., 1969). Further, courts have uniformly held that
police supervisory personnel are not liable for damages to one
injured by police misconduct absent direct personal
participation, Barrows v. Faulkner et al., supra; Sandberg v.
Daley, supra; Mack v. Lewis, 298 F. Supp. 1351 (S.D.Ga., 1969);
Patrum v. Martin, 292 F. Supp. 370 (W.D.Ky., 1968); Runnels v.
Parker, 263 F. Supp. 271 (C.D.Cal., 1967); Pritchard v. Downie,
216 F. Supp. 261 (E.D.Ark., 1963); Jordan v. Kelly, 223 F. Supp. 731
 (W.D.Mo., 1963).

As the Court in Jordan v. Kelly, supra, stated:

  Even though he [the police chief] may be charged
  with the duty of selecting the members of the
  force, he is not responsible for their acts
  unless he has directed such acts to be done, or
  has personally cooperated in the offense, for
  each police officer, is, like himself, a public
  servant. Id. at 737.

The plaintiff in his complaint has failed to allege that Conlisk and McLaughlin arrested or personally participated in any of the acts which the plaintiff claims violated his civil rights. In fact, Conlisk and McLaughlin have submitted affidavits to the effect that they did not so direct or participate in the alleged deprivation of the plaintiff's civil rights.

It is the opinion of this Court that the plaintiff has failed to state a cause of action against defendants James B. Conlisk, Jr., and Paul McLaughlin.

Accordingly, it is hereby ordered that the Motion for Summary Judgment in favor of Conlisk and McLaughlin is granted.


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