circulated castigating these two employees.
Defendants contend that the foregoing allegations are insufficient to state a Section 1983 claim under the holding of Brown v. Sielaff, 474 F.2d 826 (3d Cir. 1973). Although defendants' argument is somewhat more persuasive here than with respect to plaintiff's other claims, I nevertheless am constrained again to disagree. In Brown, a state prisoner's sole contention that the state corrections commissioner had attempted to conceal abuse by prison guards was held to be insufficiently precise to constitute an allegation of a Constitutional deprivation sustained by the prisoner at the hands of the commissioner. In the present case, however, plaintiff has alleged with a substantial degree of particularity a concerted effort to silence two employees favorably disposed to plaintiff and an investigative "hearing" wherein evidence unfavorable to the defendants was not received. While I believe the allegations of a conspiracy to deprive plaintiff of her right to due process might equally appropriately fall within the purview of the Civil Rights Act of 1861, 42 U.S.C. § 1985(3); Picking v. Pennsylvania R. Co., 151 F.2d 240 (3d Cir. 1945), rehearing denied 152 F.2d 753, overruled in part Bauers v. Heisel, 361 F.2d 581 (3d Cir. 1966), cert. denied 386 U.S. 1021, 87 S. Ct. 1367, 18 L. Ed. 2d 457 (1967), I must conclude that plaintiffs allegations against the defendants individually state a cause of action under Section 1983.
III. Failure to Plead With Specificity
Defendants' second broad argument is that plaintiff's allegations lack the factual specificity required to state a claim under Section 1983 in the Third Circuit. In Negrich v. Hohn, 379 F.2d 213 (3d Cir. 1967), the Court of Appeals adopted the rule that complaints in civil rights cases must be specifically pleaded in order to avoid a motion to dismiss. See also Kauffman v. Moss, 420 F.2d 1270 (3d Cir. 1970). After a careful review of plaintiff's contentions as recited at length in Part II of this opinion, I am persuaded that her allegations are of sufficient particularity to withstand defendants' attack. On this ground, too, defendants' motion is denied.
IV. Immunity of Judge Montemuro from Liability Under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
In her complaint and memorandum in opposition to defendants' motion to dismiss, plaintiff contends that Judge Montemuro engaged in a campaign to conceal the true facts of her treatment during her detention at the Center by failing to investigate her complaint and then by presiding over some sort of sham "hearing" into her allegations.
In response to these charges, Judge Montemuro contends that he possesses complete judicial immunity from liability for damages arising from plaintiff's allegations, and alternatively he asserts that he has no responsibility whatsoever over the Youth Study Center other than as a member of the Board of Judges which appoints the Board of Managers for the Center. Plaintiff, in her memorandum in opposition to the present motion relies upon Judge Montemuro's alternative theory, and argues that he therefore is not immune from liability insofar as he undertook any extrajudicial action to conceal the beating incident. Adopting defendants' first theory, I disagree.
Although the perimeters of the doctrine of judicial immunity are not limitless, see, e.g., Gregory v. Thompson, 500 F.2d 59 (9th Cir. 1974); Lucarell v. McNair, 453 F.2d 836, 838 (6th Cir. 1972), they are broad indeed. In Pierson v. Ray, 386 U.S. 547, 87 S. Ct. 1213, 18 L. Ed. 2d 288 (1967), the Supreme Court consciously decided that as a matter of public policy, judges should be immune from damage suits under Section 1983 for actions taken within the course of their judicial duties, even when such actions are alleged to be malicious or corrupt. As Chief Justice Warren explained in Pierson:
Few doctrines were more solidly established at common law than the immunity of judges from liability for damages for acts committed within their judicial jurisdiction, as this court recognized when it adopted the doctrine, in Bradley v. Fisher, 80 U.S. 335, 13 Wall. 335, 20 L. Ed. 646 (1872). This immunity applies even when the judge is accused of acting maliciously and corruptly, and it "is not for the protection or benefit of a malicious or corrupt judge, but for the benefit of the public, whose interest it is that judges should be at liberty to exercise their functions with independence and without fear of consequences." ( Scott v. Stansfield, L.R. 3 Ex. 220, 223 (1868), quoted in Bradley v. Fisher, supra, 349, note, at 350.) . . .
386 U.S. at 553-54, 87 S. Ct. at 1217-18.
So extensive is the doctrine that a judge loses his immunity from actions for damages only when he acts in the clear absence of jurisdiction, Bradley v. Fisher, 80 U.S. (13 Wall.) 335, 20 L. Ed. 646 (1872); Lynch v. Johnson, 420 F.2d 818 (6th Cir. 1970), or pursues non-judicial activities, Bauers v. Heisel, 361 F.2d 581 (3d Cir. 1966), cert. denied, 386 U.S. 1021, 87 S. Ct. 1367, 18 L. Ed. 2d 457 (1967). The courts of this Circuit have on numerous occasions applied the doctrine in actions for damages, as contrasted with actions seeking equitable relief, against state judges under the Civil Rights Act. See, e.g., Gaito v. Strauss, 249 F. Supp. 923 (W.D. Pa. 1966), aff'd., 368 F.2d 787 (3d Cir. 1966); Hamilton v. Jamieson, 355 F. Supp. 290 (E.D. Pa. 1973).
In the only paragraph of her complaint which alleges wrongful conduct on the part of Judge Montemuro, Miss Thompson contends that he and defendant Montone "actively engaged in efforts to conceal the true facts surrounding the above described events and have refused to investigate openly, impartially, and thoroughly the said events." Apparently fearing that this charge alone was insufficient in and of itself to state a cause of action against Judge Montemuro, see Brown v. Sielaff, supra, plaintiff in her memorandum alluded to a hearing, allegedly presided over by the judge, concerning these incidents. Plaintiff contends that Judge Montemuro neglected to summon certain crucial witnesses to attend, among them the two employees of the Center who had written to the mayor.
Even if the allegation of such a hearing were to be incorporated by amendment into the original complaint, it would be fatally defective for ignoring the judicial responsibility of Judge Montemuro, as Administrative Judge of the Family Court Division, over the welfare of plaintiff as a ward of the court. In this regard, any hearing held by Judge Montemuro plainly would be one of the "precise functions" of judges, cloaked with judicial immunity, to which our Court of Appeals referred in Safeguard Mutual Insurance Co. v. Miller, 472 F.2d 732, 733 (3d Cir. 1973).
Moreover, even should Judge Montemuro have some administrative duties in connection with the Center, a number of cases in this Circuit make clear that no liability can be predicated against him on a theory of respondeat superior for acts committed by others. See, e.g., Ammlung v. City of Chester, 355 F. Supp. 1300, 1305-06 (E.D. Pa. 1973); Hamilton v. Jamieson, 355 F. Supp. 290, 294 (E.D. Pa. 1973). The complaint will, therefore, be dismissed as to Judge Montemuro.
V. Immunity of Defendants Montone and Palmer
Defendants Montone and Palmer, the executive director and supervisor of the Youth Study Center, respectively, assert that they are immune from liability in the present action under the doctrine of judicial or quasi-judicial immunity. I disagree.
Although, as previously noted, the immunity of the judiciary is solidly established, it is equally clear that the doctrine ought not to be applied broadly and indiscriminately, but only to the extent necessary to effectuate its purpose, Doe v. McMillan, 412 U.S. 306, 310-25, 93 S. Ct. 2018, 2028-29, 36 L. Ed. 2d 912 (1973); Barr v. Matteo, 360 U.S. 564, 573, 79 S. Ct. 1335, 1340, 3 L. Ed. 2d 1434 (1959), i.e. "to insulate judges from intimidation that might rob them of the independence so crucial to the public's interest in principled and fearless decisionmaking," Gregory v. Thompson, supra at 5.
Public officials are not immune simply because they operate in a discretionary situation; they may be held liable when they act in bad faith or in a manner which is arbitrary, fanciful, or clearly unreasonable. Littleton v. Berbling, 468 F.2d 389, 412 (7th Cir. 1972), vacated and remanded on other grounds sub nom. Spomer v. Littleton, 414 U.S. 514, 94 S. Ct. 685, 38 L. Ed. 2d 694 (1974); O'Brien v. Galloway, 362 F. Supp. 901 (D. Del. 1973).
Rather than by judicial or quasi-judicial immunity, Montone and Palmer would seem rather to be shielded, if at all, by the immunity sometimes afforded to executive and administrative personnel. Of this immunity the Supreme Court recently has stated:
[A] qualified immunity is available to officers of the executive branch of Government, the variation dependent upon the scope of discretion and responsibilities of the office and all the circumstances as they reasonably appeared at the time of the action on which liability is sought to be based. It is the existence of reasonable grounds for the belief formed at the time and in light of all the circumstances, coupled with good faith belief, that affords basis for qualified immunity of executive officers for acts performed in the course of official conduct.