Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Urbano v. Board of Managers of New Jersey State Prison

decided: September 5, 1969.

ROBERT F. URBANO, APPELLANT,
v.
THE BOARD OF MANAGERS OF THE NEW JERSEY STATE PRISON



Van Dusen, Aldisert and Stahl, Circuit Judges.

Author: Stahl

Opinion OF THE COURT STAHL, Circuit Judge.

This is a diversity suit by appellant, Robert F. Urbano, an inmate in the New Jersey State Prison, against the Board of Managers of the State Prison.*fn1 The suit was brought in the form of a class action*fn2 on behalf of all of the inmates of the institution who are alleged to be beneficiaries of an inmate trust or welfare fund*fn3 claimed to have been established under two New Jersey statutes: N.J.S.A. 30:4-15, 30:4-67.1.*fn4

According to appellant, the primary sources of the "trust fund," which has evidently been in existence for at least twenty years, and possibly longer, have been from

(a) a compulsory deduction from prisoners' wages up to a maximum of $10,*fn5 and

(b) profits from the sale of goods at the prison commissary.*fn6

The fund may also have been the beneficiary of gifts from private individuals or groups*fn7 or from state appropriations. The record does not disclose the present value of the corpus of the trust fund.*fn8

In his complaint appellant charges the members of the Board of Managers of the New Jersey State Prison with "mismanagement, waste and expenditures contrary to * * * statutory provisions and not for the benefit of the inmate beneficiaries" and alleges that the benefits have not been "equally distributed among the beneficiaries as required by law." (App. 14a.)

Then, in his pro se brief, appellant Urbano claims that the members of the Board have used the trust fund moneys to cover "personal losses of officers from the Trust because the losses are attributed to the prisoners; subsidization of religious services * * *; purchase of airconditioners [sic] and other luxuries for private offices; use of confiscated food items intended for distribution to prisoners in the officers' mess of the prison * * *; etc." (Brief p. 13.)*fn9

Appellant has asked for extensive relief, set forth in the margin,*fn10 on allegations which, if true, are not insubstantial. However, we choose to affirm the lower court's dismissal of the complaint, but on a different basis, namely, abstention.

Decision of Lower Court

The district court dismissed the complaint on three alternative grounds.*fn11 First, the court held that "a suit seeking to control the performance of the official duties of state officials is, in substance, a suit against the State, and is therefore barred by the Eleventh Amendment to the United States Constitution."*fn12

We have some doubt concerning the appropriateness here of the application of the Eleventh Amendment. The conclusion that must be reached before the Eleventh Amendment may be interposed by appellant is that the state is the real party in interest. Ford Motor Co. v. Department of Treasury, 323 U.S. 459, 65 S. Ct. 347, 89 L. Ed. 389 (1945);*fn13 Harris v. Pennsylvania Turnpike Comm., 410 F.2d 1332, 1333 n. 1 (3d Cir. 1969); Citizens Committee for Hudson ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.