October 27, 2013

Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co. - 398 U.S. 144 (1970)

FACTS: Adickes was a white school teacher who was teaching at a Mississippi "Freedom School."  This case arises Kress's refusal to serve Adickes at its restaurant in Mississippi in 1964.  Adickes alleges violation of her constitutional rights under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment and seeks to recover damages under section 1983.

HISTORY: The district court directed a verdict for Kress on the count that Kress was denied equal protection not to be discriminated against.  They also granted a motion for summary judgment on the count alleging a conspiracy between Kress and the Hattiesburg police.  Court of Appeals affirmed.

ISSUE: Did the District Court err on directing the verdict and granting summary judgment?

HOLDING: Yes

RATIONALE:

Conspiracy:

1983 has two elements that require recovery:

1) P must prove that D deprived him of right secured by Constitution and laws of the U.S.

2) P must show D deprived him of that right by  acting under a state statute, regulation, law

Although lawsuit is by private party the petitioner could make out a violation of the 14th Amendment if she is able to prove that the Kress employee and the policeman entered into some type of conspiracy agreement.

Summary Judgment:

Court thinks respondent failed to carry its burden of showing the absence of any genuine issue of fact because for these purposes the material it lodged must be viewed in the light most favorable to the opposing party.

If the respondent had met this initial burden, rule 56(e) would then have required petitioner to have done more than simply rely on the contrary allegation in her complaint.

DISPOSITION: Reversed and remanded.