injury and that the Ordinance does not require such proof. He also alleges that relevant medical information submitted by his doctors was not presented to the Board. Finally, he contends that defendant Dr. Weider, a doctor on the medical panel, submitted his report to the Board's executive director, and altered his conclusion subsequently to Amanto's detriment. Allegedly, Dr. Weider backdated his report and presented the revised version to the Board which was never told of Weider's changed opinion or conclusion.
After the Board's unfavorable decision, Amanto requested an evidentiary hearing before the Board to present additional testimony and to cross-examine one of the Board's physicians in connection with his challenges to the first proceeding. The hearing was granted on the condition that he first undergo a psychiatric examination by a member of the medical panel. Amanto took exception to the requirement, maintaining that it was just further evidence of the conspiracy to deprive him of his benefits and refused to be examined. The Board deferred the hearing subject to his compliance. Amanto then brought his suit.
To state a cause of action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege that the defendants acted under color of state law and that their conduct deprived him of some right or privilege protected by the Constitution of the United States. See Baker v. McCollan, 443 U.S. 137, 140, 61 L. Ed. 2d 433, 99 S. Ct. 2689 (1979); Phillips v. Trello, 502 F.2d 1000, 1004 (3d Cir. 1974). Here, Amanto contends that he has a protected property interest in the disability benefits.
Plaintiff may indeed have a protected right to an impartial determination of his eligibility for benefits under the governing ordinance.
However, his due process property deprivation claims are premature because his application is still under review. Amanto has been granted the second or additional hearing he demanded. After that hearing, the medical panel will make a recommendation to the Board pursuant to section 112.2 of the Ordinance. Plaintiff's claims during the first proceeding may well be resolved or mooted as a result of the proposed hearing.
Plaintiff asserts that he is not required to exhaust all state remedies before filing suit under section 1983. However, the issue of exhaustion does not have to be addressed because the question here is one of ripeness, not exhaustion. Amanto has been granted a hearing to review the Board's decision and his challenges to that decision. There must at least be some definitive administrative determination resulting in a denial or deprivation of due process before he can raise such a claim. Until there is a final decision which has practical impact on a litigant, it is not ripe for adjudication. Abbott Laboratories v. Gardner, 387 U.S. 136, 148-54, 18 L. Ed. 2d 681, 87 S. Ct. 1507 (1967); United States ex rel. Ricketts v. Lightcap, 567 F.2d 1226, 1232 (3d Cir. 1977) (dictum) (usual ripeness standard applies in section 1983 cases). The basic rationale underlying the ripeness standard as articulated by the Supreme Court is to "prevent the courts, through avoidance of premature adjudication, from entangling themselves in abstract disagreements over administrative policies, and also to protect the agencies from judicial interference until an administrative decision has been formalized and its effects felt in a concrete way by the challenging parties." Abbott, 387 U.S. at 148-49.
The parties agree that Amanto is entitled to a full and fair hearing on his application. The only bar to Amanto being accorded this comprehensive review is his own refusal to comply with the Board's condition that he undergo a psychiatric examination. Under the applicable regulations, the Board is squarely within its authority to require him to submit to such an examination. Sections 117.1 and 117.2 of the Ordinance authorize the Board to employ physicians to conduct medical examinations in order to evaluate an employee's physical or mental condition pursuant to section 206.1(a). A psychiatric examination falls within the ambit of medical examinations which would aid the Board in evaluating an applicant's physical or mental condition, particularly in a case such as this where there is an issue as to the subjective nature of plaintiff's complaints.
Plaintiff does not assert that the regulations themselves are violative of due process, nor does he assert that the Board is acting beyond its authority under the regulations by requiring a psychiatric examination. But for Amanto's refusal to comply with a valid request by the Board, he would receive the due process hearing which he seeks.
Accordingly, the court finds that plaintiff has failed to state a claim cognizable under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and his complaint must be dismissed.
An appropriate order follows.
AND NOW, this 29th day of July, 1982, it is hereby ORDERED that plaintiff's complaint is DISMISSED without prejudice for the reasons set forth in the accompanying memorandum opinion.