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MALONEY v. WASHINGTON

May 16, 1984

WILLIAM M. MALONEY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
HAROLD WASHINGTON, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS MAYOR OF THE CITY OF CHICAGO, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM ORDER

In the instant case, plaintiff alleges discrimination based on his race and political activities. Before the Court is the Motion of the various defendants to Strike and Dismiss the complaint. For the reasons stated herein, defendants' motion is granted in part and denied in part.

Plaintiff's complaint is in five counts alleging constitutional violations under 42 U.S.C. § 1981, 1983, 1985, and 2000d. Jurisdiction in this Court is based in 28 U.S.C. § 1343(3).

Prior to December 2, 1983, plaintiff held the positions of Resource Identification and Acquisition Coordinator, Organized Crime Division and Commander of the Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force Component in the Chicago Police Department. On the aforementioned date, plaintiff was demoted from his Coordinator position to the position of Sergeant. In addition, on December 29, 1983, plaintiff was demoted from his Drug Enforcement Administration Commander's position to the position of Sergeant in the Department's Twelfth District. Plaintiff alleges that these demotions resulted in a substantial reduction in plaintiff's salary and pension benefits and that in addition, the plaintiff suffered great humiliation and emotional distress.

COUNT I

Count I of the complaint is brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1981. It alleges as to both aspects of the demotion that defendants Washington and Rice "knowingly and intentionally and discriminatorily demoted the Plaintiff . . . because the Plaintiff is white." Defendants Washington and Rice are black. No other facts relating to the motivation behind the demotion are alleged.

The allegations contained in Count I are conclusory and therefore cannot support a well-pleaded claim for relief. The Seventh Circuit, in unequivocal language, has stated:

  To sufficiently state a cause of action the plaintiff
  must allege some facts that demonstrate that his race
  was the reason for the defendant's [action]. His
  failure to allege such facts rendered his
  discrimination claim under § 1981 or § 1985
  incomplete. (emphasis supplied)

Jafree v. Barber, 689 F.2d 640, 643 (7th Cir. 1982).

Because it fails to provide any facts whatsoever in support of the conclusory allegation of race discrimination, Count I must be dismissed for failure to state a claim.

COUNT II

In Count II, plaintiff asserts a claim based in 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The basis of that claim is that plaintiff, a registered Democrat, supported defendant Washington's opponent, Jane M. Byrne, in the Democratic Mayoral Primary Election and that, as a result, he was demoted from his positions.

In connection with this Count, defendant argues that the City of Chicago should be dismissed because the plaintiff has failed to allege that his demotion was the result of the implementation of a custom or policy. Under Monell v. Department of Social Services of the City of New York, 436 U.S. 658, 98 S.Ct. 2018, 56 L.Ed.2d 611 (1978), a municipality may be held liable as a "person" under § 1983, but only for unconstitutional action which either "implements or executes a policy statement . . ." or "constitutes a governmental `custom' . . ." Id. at 690-91, 98 S.Ct. at 2035-36. Under Monell, municipal liability may not be based on a theory of respondeat superior. Id.

As to the City of Chicago, no allegation of custom or policy is made in Count II. Indeed, the only assertion even remotely related to custom or policy is that by demoting plaintiff, defendants Washington and Rice implemented "the patronage custom of the Democratic party." Clearly, this allegation does not refer to a custom or ...


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