claim may be made, even where the claim is based in the marital
It is clear that claims based in Section 1983 must allege the
deprivation of a right, privilege, or immunity secured by the
Constitution or by federal law. Paratt v. Taylor, 451 U.S. 527,
101 S.Ct. 1908, 68 L.Ed.2d 420 (1981). A viable Section 1983
claim must include specific and articulable constitutional or
federal allegations. Walters v. Village of Oak Lawn,
548 F. Supp. 417 (N.D.Ill. 1982). Where state and federal law
parallel each other in the protection of individual rights, a
federal court may not decline the duty to hear constitutional
claims. Hall v. Tawney, 621 F.2d 607 (4th Cir. 1980); Walters,
supra, at 419. Nevertheless, rights which derive solely from
state law are not cognizable on their own in federal court.
State of Missouri ex rel. Gore v. Wochner, 620 F.2d 183 (8th
In the instant case, the claim stated by plaintiff Ruth
Buikema is, at very most, a claim for infliction of emotional
distress based in the state law of Illinois. No constitutional
or federal claim is or can be made under plaintiff's theory of
recovery. The presence of the marital relationship in the case
at bar does not alter such a conclusion. It is well settled
that the marital relationship is protected from illegal and
unwarranted intrusion by the state. Cleveland Board of
Education v. LaFleur, 414 U.S. 632, 94 S.Ct. 791, 39 L.Ed.2d 52
(1974). However, recognition of such protection is not
tantamount to a rule which provides a remedy under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
to an individual whenever such individual's spouse has
been wronged in violation of the constitution.
As is obvious from Cleveland Board of Education, certain
aspects of the marital relationship are constitutionally
protected. However, the cases so holding appear to be limited
to specific areas of familial rights such as procreation and
sexual relations, see, e.g. Cleveland Board, supra; Roe v.
Wade, 410 U.S. 113, 93 S.Ct. 705, 35 L.Ed.2d 147 (1973);
Eisenstadt v. Baird, 405 U.S. 438, 92 S.Ct. 1029, 31 L.Ed.2d
349 (1972), or rights stemming from specific civil rights
enactments. See, e.g., Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1, 87 S.Ct.
1817, 18 L.Ed.2d 1010 (1967) (freedom to marry an individual of
another race). No such specific claim arising from the marital
relationship can be made in the case at bar. The rights claimed
in the case at bar cannot be deemed fundamental under the
Constitution. Walters v. Village of Oak Lawn, supra, at 419
(loss of consortium not cognizable in a Section 1983 case). It
has been specifically held that parents' claims of physical and
emotional distress are not actionable under Section 1983.
Robinson v. McCorkle, 462 F.2d 111 (1972). In the opinion of
this Court, the marital relationship does not compel a
different conclusion. The Court therefore holds that an
individual's claims of emotional distress arising from alleged
violations of his or her spouse's civil rights are not
cognizable under Section 1983.
The Court now turns to whether plaintiff Ruth Buikema may
state a pendant or ancillary claim under state law in the
absence of an independent basis of jurisdiction. Under United
Mine Workers v. Gibbs, 383 U.S. 715, 86 S.Ct. 1130, 16 L.Ed.2d
218 (1966) and Aldinger v. Howard, 427 U.S. 1, 96 S.Ct. 2413,
49 L.Ed.2d 276 (1976), it is clear that no such claim may be
entertained. Plaintiff Ruth Buikema may therefore not state an
For the reasons stated herein, no constitutional or federal
claim for infliction of emotional distress may be claimed under
Section 1983. Count III of plaintiff's complaint is therefore
IT IS SO ORDERED.
© 1992-2003 VersusLaw Inc.