Parratt v. Taylor

LOCATION: Indiana State Employment Security Division

DOCKET NO.: 79-1734
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

CITATION: 451 US 527 (1981)
ARGUED: Mar 02, 1981
DECIDED: May 18, 1981

J. Kirk Brown - on behalf of the Petitioners
Kevin Colleran - on behalf of the Respondent, appointed by this Court

Facts of the case


Media for Parratt v. Taylor

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 02, 1981 in Parratt v. Taylor

Warren E. Burger:

We'll hear arguments next in Parratt and Lugenbill v. Taylor.

Mr. Brown, I think you may proceed when you are ready.

J. Kirk Brown:

Mr. Chief Justice and may it please the Court:

In my argument today I will address the petitioners, Mr. Robert Parratt and Mr. Francis Lugenbill, as the defendants.

I will refer to Mr. Taylor as the plaintiff.

These are the positions they originally occupied in this action.

As a bit of factual background, in April, 1975, the plaintiff was housed in a penal institution in the State of Nebraska of which Mr. Parratt was the warden and Mr. Lugenbill was the supervisor of the hobby counter, which is an internal organism which provides hobby goods for inmates at that institution.

The plaintiff ordered hobby material while he was a prisoner; money was deducted from his inmate account to pay the vendor for those goods.

Before the goods arrived the plaintiff violated the disciplinary rule and was placed in disciplinary segregation.

When the hobby materials arrived the plaintiff was still on disciplinary segregation and was not entitled to have them at that point in time.

The materials were signed into the institution by a Mr. Kosta and a Mr. Gero, as a part of their clerical duties at the hobby counter, and the material was held at the hobby counter for the plaintiff.

In June, 1975--

Harry A. Blackmun:

You say as a part of their clerical duties.

Doesn't your opposition claim that that was against prison regulations?

J. Kirk Brown:

--They do.

And I--

Harry A. Blackmun:

Do you agree?

J. Kirk Brown:

--Do I agree that it was against prison regulations?

No, I do not.

I think if you look at the answers to the interrogatories filed by defendant Parratt and defendant Lugenbill, they indicate that those signatures were affixed as part of their clerical duties.

I admit that this poses some problems at this point in time, particularly in view of the fact that this case was resolved against us on a motion for summary judgment.

But, in our opinion, there does appear to be some question with regard to that particular aspect of the case.

In June, 1975, the plaintiff was released from disciplinary segregation and requested that the hobby materials be provided him.

A search was made for them and they could not be found.

In October of 1975 the plaintiff filed his first complaint with the U.S. District Court and the District Court did not file the complaint and instructed him to return and seek a remedy with the Department of Correctional Services.

In November of '75 the plaintiff filed a second complaint.

This complaint was filed but dismissed prior to issuance of summons on the grounds that it was frivolous.

In March, 1976, a third complaint was filed and summons was issued.

In April, 1977, counsel was appointed.

In June, 1978, the plaintiff filed his motion for summary judgment, and in October of '78 a judgment was granted the plaintiff against these defendants.