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SAMPSON v. VILLAGE DISCOUNT OUTLET

August 11, 1993

JACOB SAMPSON, Plaintiff,
v.
VILLAGE DISCOUNT OUTLET, INC., WILLIAM R. STINNETT, JOSE HIMANIS, SAID AZIM, MATT DOE and ELBA ROE, Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: CHARLES RONALD NORGLE, SR.

 CHARLES R. NORGLE, SR., District Judge:

 Before the court is the motion of defendants Village Discount Outlet, Inc. ("Village Discount") and William Stinnett ("Stinnett") to dismiss the complaint filed by plaintiff Jacob Sampson ("Sampson"). For the following reasons, the motion is granted.

 FACTS

 Sampson has filed a three-count complaint, alleging "racially motivated false arrest," "intimidation," and "company's racial policy." These claims are predicated upon unspecified violations of 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981, 1983, 1985(2) and (3), and 1986. Reviewing Sampson's complaint in a light most favorable to him, his claims appear to be as follows: (1) on October 30, 1992, defendants Jose Himanis ("Himanis"), Said Azim ("Azim"), and Elba Roe ("Roe"), employees of Village Discount, conspired to detain Sampson at Village Discount because of his Jewish faith; (2) Sampson suffered intimidation when he was told by defendant Roe that he would be crushed "like a worm" if he ever tried to complain about the October 30 incident; and (3) Stinnett, president of Village Discount, approved of his employees' misconduct, which indicates the existence of a racially motivated policy toward Jews by Village Discount. Sampson is silent regarding his own actions.

 On a motion to dismiss, all well-pleaded factual allegations are taken as true. Johnson v. Martin, 943 F.2d 15, 16 (7th Cir. 1991); Perkins v. Silverstein, 939 F.2d 463, 466 (7th Cir. 1991). All reasonable inferences to be drawn from those allegations are also accepted as true. Meriwether v. Faulkner, 821 F.2d 408, 410 (7th Cir.), cert. denied, 484 U.S. 935, 98 L. Ed. 2d 269, 108 S. Ct. 311 (1987). The complaint need not specify the correct legal theory nor point to the right statute. Bartholet v. Reishauer A.G., 953 F.2d 1073, 1078 (7th Cir. 1992). The court must construe the pleadings liberally, and mere vagueness or lack of detail alone does not constitute sufficient grounds to dismiss a complaint. Strauss v. Chicago, 760 F.2d 765, 767 (7th Cir. 1985). Furthermore, pro se complaints are to be liberally construed, and pro se civil rights complaints may be dismissed only "if it is beyond doubt that there is no set of facts under which the plaintiff could obtain relief." Wilson v. Civil Town of Clayton, 839 F.2d 375, 378 (7th Cir. 1988).

 Although Sampson has filed the instant case pro se, he is no stranger to the practice of law. Since 1983 Sampson has filed eight complaints in the Northern District of Illinois, all pro se, all alleging violations of the Civil Rights Act, and all alleging animus based on Sampson's Jewishness. *fn1" Sampson's familiarity with civil procedure in the courts of this district is evidenced by a motion to withdraw filed by an attorney appointed by Judge Marovitz in one of Sampson's prior lawsuits. In his motion to withdraw, which was granted by Judge Marovitz, the attorney stated:

 
The plaintiff has proven himself to be a very intelligent and aggressive litigant, who is very familiar with civil procedure and methods of legal research, and who is personally engaged as a pro se litigant in several other cases in both the Northern District of Illinois and the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois. [The attorney believes] that the plaintiff is quite able, and indeed willing to look after his own interests as a pro se litigant.

 Despite his apparent familiarity with the courts of this district, Sampson is nonetheless a pro se litigant. To the extent he has filed the instant suit based on facts which he has not previously litigated, his complaint shall be afforded the liberal construction guaranteed to less experienced pro se plaintiffs. Even liberally interpreted, however, Sampson's complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted by a federal court.

 Sampson's first count alleges "racially motivated false arrest," in which Himanis, a security officer of Village Discount, "grabbed, pushed, bruised and handcuffed [Sampson], with profanity: 'I will show to you F . . . Jew, who I am!' and kept [Sampson] locked to steel bars for about an hour, in the presence and incouragement [sic] of the store manager [Azim] and his assistant [Roe] . . . ." According to Sampson, the conduct of Himanis, Azim, and Roe "indicated a premeditated conspiracy to lure, intimidate and terrorize some customers, racially motivated," which purportedly forms an inchoate § 1981 violation.

 Section 1981(a) provides:

 
All persons within the jurisdiction of the United States shall have the same right in every State and Territory to make and enforce contracts, to sue, be parties, give evidence, and to the full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings for the security of persons and property as is enjoyed by white citizens, and shall be subject to like punishment, pains, penalties, taxes, licenses, and exactions of every kind, and to no other.

 To demonstrate a violation of individual rights protected by § 1981, Sampson must show that he was unlawfully denied, by the defendants, one of the rights protected by this statute. Two rights are enumerated within § 1981: the right to enjoy the benefits and privileges of contractual relationships, together with all attendant characteristics thereof, and the right to enforce such contracts without impediment to judicial process. Patterson v. McLean Credit Union, 491 U.S. 164, 105 L. Ed. 2d 132, 109 S. Ct. 2363 (1989); see Runyon v. McCrary, 427 U.S. 160, 195 n.5, 49 L. Ed. 2d 415, 96 S. Ct. 2586 (1976) (dissenting opinion) (the grant of the rights "to sue," "be parties," and to "give evidence" accomplish nothing more than the removal of legal disabilities to sue, be a party, testify or enforce a contract); McKnight v. General Motors Corp., 908 F.2d 104, 111-12 (7th Cir. 1990) (section 1981 punishes "efforts to impede access to the courts or obstruct nonjudicial methods of adjudicating disputes about the force of binding obligations, as well as discrimination by private entities, such as labor unions, in enforcing the terms of a contract"); Bush v. Commonwealth Edison Co., 732 F. Supp. 895 (N.D. Ill. 1990), aff'd, 990 F.2d 928 (7th Cir. 1993). Neither of these rights were allegedly violated by the defendants. Sampson has alleged that while in the Village Discount store he was wrongfully detained because he is Jewish. While this type of behavior, if true, is reprehensible, it is not actionable under § 1981. Sampson has not been denied, because of ...


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