The opinion of the court was delivered by: Getzendanner, District Judge:
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
This action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for deprivation of civil
rights is currently before the court on the motion of
defendants Steven L. Weidenbach and Robert B. Benstein to
dismiss for failure to state a claim. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6).
For the reasons stated below, the motion is granted.
For purposes of the present motion, the court accepts the
well-pleaded allegations of plaintiff's complaint as true.
Plaintiff Kenneth LeCuyer is an Illinois citizen. Defendants
Steven L. Weidenbach and Robert B. Benstein are conservation
officers employed by the State of Illinois who were at all
times pertinent to the events underlying plaintiff's complaint
acting within the scope of their duties.
On October 4, 1982, at approximately 6:45 p.m., plaintiff was
operating a Kawasaki motorcycle in Silver Springs State Park in
Kendall County, Illinois. As he approached the Fox Road exit,
defendant Benstein intentionally and without justification
stopped his vehicle in front of the exit so as to block
plaintiff's egress out of the park. Nonetheless, plaintiff
turned onto Fox Road and proceeded east in the eastbound lane.
Defendant Weidenbach then, intentionally and without
justification, drove his vehicle in front of plaintiff so as
to cause a collision and inflict personal injury on the
plaintiff. At no time during the course of these events did
either defendant use any official lights or signals to indicate
that they were attempting to stop plaintiff. Plaintiff was
subsequently found guilty, after a jury trial, of reckless
driving for going eastward in the westbound lane of Fox Road.
Plaintiff's complaint states that the above acts of defendants
violated his first, fourth, and fourteenth amendment rights.
Plaintiff has alleged no facts to suggest that defendants
abridged his freedom of expression or subjected him to an
unlawful search and seizure. Perhaps in recognition of this
deficiency. plaintiff's brief ignores these potential claims,
and argues only that the defendants deprived him of liberty
without due process of law by intentionally blocking his path
and causing him personal injury. Accordingly, the court
confines its discussion to this latter allegation.
The defendants' principal argument for dismissal is that
plaintiff has alleged no more than a common law tort for which
state law provides constitutionally adequate post-deprivation
remedies, and that no due process violation can therefore be
shown. Defendants rely on Parratt v. Taylor, 451 U.S. 527,
101 S.Ct. 1908, 68 L.Ed.2d 420 (1981), in which a state
prisoner alleged that the negligence of state officials in
losing a hobby kit he had ordered through the mails had
deprived him of property without due process of law. The
Supreme Court reversed a grant of summary judgment in the
prisoner's favor, and held that the due process clause of the
fourteenth amendment is not violated when a state official
negligently deprives an individual of property, provided that
the state makes available a meaningful postdeprivation remedy.
The Court in Parratt reasoned that where a loss of property
is occasioned by the random and unauthorized act of a state
employee, rather than through an established state procedure,
the state cannot predict in advance when the loss will occur.
451 U.S. at 541, 101 S.Ct. at 1916. Since a prior hearing is
either impossible or impracticable under such circumstances,
the Court concluded that postdeprivation remedies provide all
the process that is due.
The decision in Parratt generated conflicting decisions and
scholarly controversy over its applicability to intentional
acts and to deprivations of liberty. Although the Seventh
Circuit has applied Parratt to some state-inflicted liberty
deprivations, State Bank of St. Charles v. Camic,
712 F.2d 1140, 1147 (7th Cir.), cert. denied, ___ U.S. ___, 104 S.Ct.
491, 78 L.Ed.2d 686 (1983); Wolf-Lillie v. Sonquist,
699 F.2d 864, 871 (7th Cir. 1983); Ellis v. Hamilton, 669 F.2d 510,
515 (7th Cir.), cert. denied, 459 U.S. 1069, 103 S.Ct. 488,
74 L.Ed.2d 631 (1982), it has also suggested in dicta that
postdeprivation process may not be constitutionally adequate to
remedy cases involving intentional misconduct of state
officials. Jackson v. City of Joliet, 715 F.2d 1200, 1202
(7th Cir. 1983), cert. denied, ___ U.S. ___, 104 S.Ct. 1325,
79 L.Ed.2d 720 (1984); State Bank of St. Charles, 712 F.2d at
1147-48. Plaintiff argues that Parratt has no applicability
to either intentional acts or liberty deprivations, and that
intentional encroachments on liberty by state officers are
constitutionally impermissible no matter what procedural
protections the state provides.
The court cannot accept either of these arguments. Plaintiff's
contention that Parratt has no applicability to intentional
acts, while arguably supported by dicta in this circuit, was
squarely rejected by the Supreme Court last year in Hudson v.
Palmer, ___ U.S. ___, 104 S.Ct. 3194, 82 L.Ed.2d 393 (1984).
The reasoning of the court is instructive:
If negligent deprivations of property do not violate the Due
Process Clause because pre-deprivation process is
impracticable, it follows that intentional deprivations do
not violate that Clause provided, of course, that adequate
state post-deprivation remedies are available. Accordingly,
we hold that an unauthorized intentional deprivation of
property by a state employee does not constitute a violation
of the procedural requirements of the Due Process Clause of
the Fourteenth Amendment if a meaningful postdeprivation
remedy for the loss is available. For intentional, as for
negligent deprivations of property by state employees, the
State's action is not complete until and unless it provides
or refuses to provide a suitable postdeprivation remedy.
Neither Parratt nor Hudson dealt with liberty deprivations.
Even were this court not bound by applicable Seventh Circuit
precedent applying Parratt to liberty cases, see, e.g.,
Wolf-Lillie, 699 F.2d at 871, plaintiff's argument would fail.
The reasoning of Hudson indicates without doubt that any
rigid distinction between "liberty" and "property," like that
between negligent and intentional deprivations, is meaningless
insofar as the practicability of affording predeprivation
process is concerned. It would be anomalous, for example, to
uphold a § 1983 claim for a state-caused automobile collision
simply because the accident resulted in death or personal
injury as opposed to mere property damage. The state can no
more anticipate and control random and unauthorized
deprivations of liberty than it can anticipate similarly
unauthorized property deprivations. The difference in injury is
entirely unforeseen, and therefore irrelevant in determining
the degree of procedural protections constitutionally required.
The conclusion that Parratt applies to liberty as well as
property deprivations is further implicit in that opinion's
citation and discussion of Ingraham v. Wright, 430 U.S. 651,
97 S.Ct. 1401, 51 L.Ed.2d 711 (1977). In Ingraham, the Court
had held the administering of corporal punishment in schools
without a prior hearing was not constitutionally impermissible
on the ground that the state's common-law postdeprivation
remedies provided all the process that was due. The Court in
Parratt noted that its analysis was "quite consistent" with
that in Ingraham, even though the earlier case had involved
both an intentional act and a deprivation of liberty.
Parratt, 451 ...