The opinion of the court was delivered by: J. Waldo Ackerman, Chief Judge.
On July 12, 1977, the McLean County Board adopted a
personnel policy. The personnel policy, under a section titled
Compensatory Time Off, states:
Employees who work more than thirty-seven and
one-half hours in a given work week or work on a
county holiday may be granted time off in an
amount equal to the overtime worked.
Plaintiffs' ex. C. John King was sheriff when the County Board
passed this policy. The sheriff's informal records indicate
that deputies were not taking their accumulated compensatory
In December of 1978, Defendant Brienen became Sheriff of
McLean County. He adopted a more formal policy to provide for
compensatory time off. He instructed the deputies to keep
records of their overtime, and placed restrictions on when the
deputies could take compensatory time off. Defendant Brienen
established minimum staffing levels for the sheriff's
department. Because of the minimum staffing levels and the
County Board's unwillingness to fund additional staffing, the
sheriff was unable to give all the accumulated compensatory
time. Thus, Plaintiffs accumulated large amounts of
Plaintiffs filed a complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, 1985,
1986, alleging a deprivation of property without due process of
law and a denial of equal protection of laws. Plaintiffs sought
monetary damages, injunctive relief, and attorney fees. This
Court, in the first part of a bifurcated trial, held for
Plaintiffs on the issue of liability.
Later, on July 2, 1982, relying on Parratt v. Taylor,
451 U.S. 527, 101 S.Ct. 1908, 68 L.Ed.2d 420 (1981), this Court
vacated its order holding Defendants liable. This holding was
not based on a changed view that Plaintiffs had not been
deprived of a property right, i.e. their compensatory time off,
but rather, since the state provides an adequate remedy to
Plaintiffs to recover whatever compensatory time off is due
them, there has not been a deprivation without due process.
Plaintiffs, pursuant to Fed.R. Civ.P. 59, have filed a motion
for modification of judgment. They contend that this Court's
reliance on Parratt was incorrect. Defendants have filed a
brief in opposition to this motion.
Because the Court believes the State of Illinois provides
sufficient process to Plaintiffs, it denies the motion for
modification of judgment.
This motion presents a question concerning the construction
of 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and the due process clause of the
Fourteenth Amendment. The Fourteenth Amendment provides, in
[N]or shall any state deprive any person of life,
liberty, or property, without due process of
law. . . .
The dispute in this motion revolves around the question of
what constitutes due process of law. The construction of this
simple sounding phrase is not free from difficulty or dispute.
See, e.g., Monroe v. Pape, 365 U.S. 167, 81 S.Ct. 473, 5
L.Ed.2d 492 (1961). The legislative history of 42 U.S.C. § 1983
has been labeled inconclusive, id. at 193, 81 S.Ct. at 487
(Harlan, J., concurring), and the courts' interpretations are
contradictory.*fn1 Compare Monroe v. Pape, supra, with Parratt
v. Taylor, 451 U.S. 527, 101 S.Ct. 1908, 68 L.Ed.2d 420 (1981).
Plaintiffs assert that the government has deprived them of
a property interest. This property interest, however, is in
the nature of a contract whether the contract be express or
implied. Therefore, the substantive injury in this case was a
breach of contract. If the breach had been committed by
someone other than a governmental entity, the facts would not
raise a constitutional question. Since the County has breached
the contract, Plaintiffs assert they were denied due process
of law. Plaintiffs could have filed their breach of contract
action in an Illinois ...