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

July 6, 1983


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


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.

Section 1981

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.

Section 1982

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.

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