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GIANNATTASIO v. STAMFORD YOUTH HOCKEY ASSN.

September 16, 1985

LOUIS GIANNATTASIO and MICHAEL GIANNATTASIO, Plaintiffs
v.
STAMFORD YOUTH HOCKEY ASSOCIATION, INC., FRANK L. CARLUCCI, WILLIAM MALLOY, JAMES MALLOY, WILLIAM J. ARNONE, and BRUNO GIORDANO, Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: EGINTON

WARREN W. EGINTON, U.S.D.J.

RULING ON DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS TO DISMISS

Defendants, Stamford Youth Hockey Association, Inc. (hereinafter "SYHA"), Frank L. Carlucci, William Malloy, James Malloy, William J. Arnone and Bruno Giordano have moved the court to dismiss this case pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1) for lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter and Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Plaintiffs claim that this case arises under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983 *fn1" of the Civil Rights Act and that jurisdiction is based upon 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1343 and 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1331. Plaintiffs further claim injunctive and declaratory relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2201 and 2202 as authorized by 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983.

 Plaintiffs are Michael and Louis Giannattasio who are suing both in their own right and as best friends in the names and rights of their minor sons, Michael, Jr. and Louis, Jr. Defendant SYHA is a non-stock corporation of the State of Connecticut. Defendant Carlucci is President of SYHA, a Director of SYHA and a member of the Rules and Discipline Committee of SYHA. Defendant William Malloy is Vice-President, a Director and a member of the Rules and Discipline Committee of SYHA. Defendant James Malloy is Secretary, a Director and a member of the Rules and Discipline Committee of SYHA. Defendant Arnone is Treasurer, a Director and a member of the Rules and Discipline Committee of SYHA. Defendant Giordano is Superintendent of the Board of Recreation of the City of Stamford.

 The facts of this case as enunciated in the plaintiffs' complaint establish that this controversy involves the suspension of the plaintiffs from all participation in the SYHA programs due to a series of altercations between the plaintiffs and the SYHA coaches. The defendants have moved to dismiss the complaint, asserting that the court has no jurisdiction in that the plaintiffs have failed to show the existence of either state action or a substantial federal question.

 DISCUSSION

 State action is the jurisdictional cornerstone to the granting of relief under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983. *fn2" State action is at its core a unitary concept. Under this concept the only issue is whether sufficient state contacts do, or do not, exist. If the court finds a sufficient quantum of state connections to a particular activity, then that activity will be subject to the strictures of the Fourteenth Amendment, even though performed by a private party. Several tests have been devised by the Supreme Court to determine whether a defendant's actions constitute "state" action of a type regulated by the Fourteenth Amendment.

 The "public function" doctrine holds that when private persons are engaged in the exercise of governmental functions their activities are subject to similar constitutional restrictions. In other words, the state cannot free itself from the limitations of the Constitution in the operation of its governmental functions merely by delegating certain functions to otherwise private individuals. See, e.g., Smith v. Allwright, 321 U.S. 649, 88 L. Ed. 987, 64 S. Ct. 757 (1944) (electoral process public function); Terry v. Adams, 345 U.S. 461, 97 L. Ed. 1152, 73 S. Ct. 809 (1953) (same); Marsh v. Alabama, 326 U.S. 501, 90 L. Ed. 265, 66 S. Ct. 276 (1946) (corporation which wholly owned and operated town served public functions). The public function concept has, however, been very narrowly construed. In four recent Supreme Court decisions it has been held that the function must be one which has traditionally be exclusively the domain of the state. "The required nexus may be present if the private entity has exercised powers that are 'traditionally the exclusive prerogative of the state.'" Blum v. Yaretsky, 457 U.S. 991, 1005, 73 L. Ed. 2d 534, 102 S. Ct. 2777 (1981) (quoting Jackson v. Metropolitan Edison Co., 419 U.S. 345, 42 L. Ed. 2d 477, 95 S. Ct. 449 (1974)). This exclusivity requirement was not met by a privately-owned utility licensed and regulated by the state, Jackson, a warehouseman's sale regulated by state statute, Flagg Brothers, Inc. v. Brooks, 436 U.S. 149, 56 L. Ed. 2d 185, 98 S. Ct. 1729 (1978); a private school which received most of its funding from state sources, Rendell-Baker v. Kohn, 457 U.S. 830, 73 L. Ed. 2d 418, 102 S. Ct. 2764 (1981); and a nursing home funded through state monies, Blum. The majorities of Jackson and Blum seem to impose still another requirement for application of the public function doctrine: that the activity be one which the state is required to provide by statute or by state constitution. Jackson, 419 U.S. at 353 ("But while the Pennsylvania statute imposes an obligation to furnish service on regulated utilities, it imposes no such obligation on the State."); Blum, 457 U.S. at 1011 ("The state constitutional provisions ... do no more than authorize the legislature to provide funds for the care of the needy.... They do not mandate the provision of any particular care . . . [The medicaid statute] does not require that the States provide the services themselves."). Thus no private sector ...


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