United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, E.D
July 6, 1983
RONNIE L. STACKHOUSE, PLAINTIFF,
DONALD DESITTER, DEFENDANT.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Aspen, District Judge:
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Plaintiff Ronnie L. Stackhouse ("Stackhouse"), a black resident of
Cicero, Illinois, sued Donald DeSitter ("DeSitter"), a white Cicero
resident, for violation of civil rights guaranteed by 42 U.S.C. § 1981,
1982, 3604 and 3617.*fn1 Presently pending before the Court are the
parties' cross motions for summary judgment.*fn2 For the reasons set
forth below, DeSitter's motion for summary judgment is granted, and
Stackhouse's motion for summary judgment is denied.
Stackhouse's complaint states that on April 10, 1982, DeSitter threw a
bottle filled with lighter fluid into Stackhouse's parked automobile.
Stackhouse put out the fire started by the object. When Stackhouse began
to drive to the police station, DeSitter allegedly pelted his car with
ice, rocks, and stones. Moreover, Stackhouse alleges that he believes
that DeSitter broke a window and slashed the tires of his automobile.
DeSitter's conduct in causing Stackhouse to become apprehensive when
parking his car in front of his apartment and entering the hallway of his
apartment building, intimidated him, interfered with his housing rights,
and denied him the same rights as white citizens to enjoy housing, in
violation of the afore cited statutes. In his motion for summary
judgment, Stackhouse reiterates the facts stated in the complaint,
emphasizing that during his deposition, DeSitter refused to answer
questions asked of him on Fifth Amendment grounds.*fn3 DeSitter argues that
Stackhouse's complaint lacks factual allegations giving rise to an
inference that DeSitter's conduct was racially motivated. He also asserts
that the complaint fails to state a cause of action under the
aforementioned statutes, and concludes that he is entitled to summary
judgment. Neither Stackhouse nor DeSitter offer any case law as authority
for their respective positions.
In support of a motion for summary judgment, the moving party has the
burden of showing that there is no dispute as to any genuine issue of
fact material to a judgment in his favor as a matter of law. Cedillo v.
International Association of Bridge & Structural Iron Workers, Local
Union No. 1, 603 F.2d 7, 10 (7th Cir. 1979). The non-moving party is
entitled to all reasonable inferences that can be made in its favor from
the evidence in the record, United States v. Diebold, Inc., 369 U.S. 654,
655, 82 S.Ct. 993, 994, 8 L.Ed.2d 176 (1962); Moutoux v. Gulling Auto
Electric, 295 F.2d 573, 576 (7th Cir. 1961). Where cross-motions for
summary judgment are filed, as in the instant case, the court must rule
on each motion individually, based upon affidavits and other proof
submitted by the parties. 10 C. Wright & A. Miller, Federal Practice and
Procedure § 2720 (1973). We must therefore consider the parties'
motions with these standards in mind, as we examine each of the statutes
relied upon by Stackhouse in his complaint.
An examination of the text of § 1981, see note 1 supra, indicates
Congress' intent to insure that all persons in the United States have the
same rights as white persons to make and enforce contracts. It is settled
that § 1981 reaches private racial discrimination in employment.
Waters v. Wisconsin Steel Works of International Harvester Co.,
427 F.2d 476 (7th Cir. 1970), cert. denied, 400 U.S. 911, 91 S.Ct. 137,
27 L.Ed.2d 151 (1970); Seidel v. Chicago Savings and Loan Assn.,
544 F. Supp. 508 (N.D. Ill. 1982). In arriving at this conclusion, the
Seventh Circuit focused upon the legislative history of § 1981, and
determined that § 1981 was enacted pursuant to the Thirteenth
Amendment. Waters, 427 F.2d at 482-83. Courts have also held that §
1981 protects, inter alia, the right of access to hospitals, United
States v. Medical Society of South Carolina, 298 F. Supp. 145 (D.S.C.
1969), publicly supported facilities, Jennings v. Patterson, 460 F.2d 1021
(5th Cir. 1972), modified, 488 F.2d 436 (5th Cir. 1974), private
recreational facilities, Scott v. Young, 421 F.2d 143 (4th Cir. 1970),
cert. denied, 398 U.S. 929, 90 S.Ct. 1820, 26 L.Ed.2d 91 (1970).
Section 1981 has also been invoked to vindicate housing rights, e.g.,
Marable v. H. Walker & Associates, 644 F.2d 390 (5th Cir. 1981), In
Marable, however, the plaintiff alleged that defendants refused to rent
an available apartment to him because of his race. The interference with
Marable's right to make a rental contract was clear. In the instant
case, however, it is difficult to ascertain what sort of contract rights
DeSitter has violated. It might be intended that DeSitter's firebombing
of Stackhouse's car interfered with the latter's housing contract, by
forcing him to park further from his home and making him afraid to enter
his hallway. But we have found no precedent to support such a broad
reading of § 1981, and Stackhouse offers no explanation as to how his
claims might be actionable under this provision.
Since Jones v. Alfred H. Mayer Co., 392 U.S. 409, 88 S.Ct. 2186, 20
L.Ed.2d 1189 (1968), it has been clear that § 1982 bars all racial
discrimination, public as well as private, with respect to the rights
enumerated therein. Id. at 413, 88 S.Ct. 2189. But that statute ensures
that all citizens will have the same rights as white citizens to
inherit, purchase, lease, sell, hold and convey real and personal
property. Thus, refusal to sell property based upon race has been held to
violate this section, id. And courts have held a claim that an eviction
was racially motivated stated a cause of action under § 1982. Gore
v. Turner, 563 F.2d 159 (5th Cir. 1977). Charging a black buyer an
unreasonably high price for a home where a dual housing market exists due
to racial segregation also violates this section, Clark v. Universal
Builders, 501 F.2d 324 (7th Cir. 1974), cert. denied, 419 U.S. 1070, 95
S.Ct. 657, 42 L.Ed.2d 666 (1974). But an examination of Stackhouse's
complaint fails to reveal how DeSitter, has deprived him of his right to
inherit, purchase, lease, sell, hold or convey personal property. Perhaps
Stackhouse is arguing that the firebombing of his car deprived him of his
rights to lease his apartment. Once again, Stackhouse cites no authority
for the proposition that his claims against DeSitter violate this
section. We have found no such authority. Moreover, nothing in the
legislative history of § 1982 justifies construing this section
broadly enough to encompass the conduct at issue here.
Sections 8604 and 8617 of the Civil
Rights Act of 1968
According to § 3617, it is unlawful to coerce, intimidate, threaten
or interfere with the exercise of any rights granted by § 3604.*fn4
Section 3604 in turn makes unlawful a variety of practices, including,
inter alia, refusal to sell, rent or otherwise make unavailable a
dwelling because of race, discrimination in the provisions of services or
facilities in connection with sales or rentals, the publishing of
statements indicating a preference or limitation based upon race and
false representation that a dwelling is not available because of race.
The conduct by DeSitter of which Stackhouse complains does not fall into
any of the proscribed practices outlined in § 3604, and we have found
no support for the proposition that the acts of DeSitter would be
actionable under § 3617 in either case law or legislative history.*fn5
The statutes under which DeSitter has brought his complaint do not
provide a federal remedy for the wrongs he has suffered.*fn6
Accordingly, DeSitter's motion for summary judgment is granted, and
Stackhouse's motion for summary judgment is denied. It is so ordered.