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LOGIURATO v. ACTION

February 27, 1980

Albert LOGIURATO, Plaintiff,
v.
ACTION et al., Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: ROBINSON, JR.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Before the Court are Motions for Partial Summary Judgment and Summary Judgment in an action brought by Albert Logiurato against ACTION, et al. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants have deprived him of his First, Fifth, and Eighth Amendment rights by drugging, repatriating, and hospitalizing him against his will. Subject matter jurisdiction is initially based on 28 U.S.C. ยง 1331. See Davis v. Passman, 442 U.S. 228, 99 S. Ct. 2264, 60 L. Ed. 2d 846 (1979). The status of the parties may be summarized as follows:

 Plaintiff is an individual who served as a Peace Corps trainee in Costa Rica from January 1975 until March 24, 1975. Defendant ACTION is the umbrella agency managing the Peace Corps. Defendant Brown is the Director of ACTION. Defendant Payton is Director of the Peace Corps. Plaintiff is suing Brown and Payton in their official capacities, seeking expungement of Peace Corps records and declaratory relief. The above mentioned Defendants shall hereinafter be referred to as ACTION.

 Defendant Pardo was the Peace Corps Medical Officer in Costa Rica in 1975. He was responsible for providing usual medical services to all Peace Corps trainees and volunteers in Costa Rica, and his services were expected to require thirty (30) hours of work per week. Dr. Pardo is not a psychiatrist, and was and is a Costa Rican citizen.

 Defendant Hoffmaister is a Costa Rican psychiatrist who occasionally handled referrals of Peace Corps trainees and volunteers from Dr. Pardo. Defendant Stoll was the Director of Bastico in 1975. Bastico is a private corporation that trains Peace Corps volunteers. Defendant Stoll is an American, and currently resides in California.

 Defendant Lebensohn is a psychiatrist practicing in the District of Columbia. He is not a consultant to the Peace Corps, but accepts referrals from the Peace Corps when his practice permits. Dr. Lebensohn is on the staff of Defendant Sibley Memorial Hospital (Sibley), a private hospital located in the District of Columbia. Defendant Windsor was the Administrator of Sibley in 1975, and currently resides in South Carolina.

 The facts, for the purposes of the pending Motions, are straightforward. Plaintiff began serving as a Peace Corps trainee in January 1975. Soon after his arrival in Costa Rica, Plaintiff became embroiled in a dispute with Bastico regarding the Peace Corps training process. During the same period, the Peace Corps received complaints from the Costa Rican family providing room and board to Plaintiff. Quickly, Peace Corps and Bastico officials concluded that Plaintiff's attitude and behavior indicated that he was not suited for the Peace Corps. In mid-March of 1975 he was asked to resign and he did so shortly thereafter. At the time Logiurato tendered his resignation, he was offered a free medical checkup. Plaintiff accepted the offer, and on or about March 18, 1975, he was examined by Dr. Pardo. Pardo found Plaintiff's behavior to be extremely bizarre, and conjectured that Plaintiff might be psychotic. He asked Logiurato to return for further evaluation. On or about March 20 Logiurato was examined by Dr. Hoffmaister. When Plaintiff realized that he was undergoing a psychiatric examination, he bolted from Dr. Hoffmaister's office. Defendant Stoll, among others, gave chase and apprehended Plaintiff. Dr. Pardo, against Logiurato's wishes, administered thorazine, a powerful sedative. Plaintiff was kept in a hospital in Costa Rica under heavy sedation for two days, and was then sent to the District of Columbia for further evaluation. The decision to repatriate Logiurato was made by Dr. Pardo and Peace Corps officials in Washington. This decision was based in part on Dr. Hoffmaister's conclusion that Logiurato might possibly be a danger to himself or others.

 On or about March 22, 1975, Plaintiff, still under heavy sedation, was brought by Defendants Stoll and Pardo to Washington. The Peace Corps had arranged for examination of Plaintiff by Dr. Lebensohn, and Plaintiff was admitted to Sibley on or about March 22. Dr. Lebensohn thoroughly examined Logiurato, and he was released on March 24, 1975. Dr. Lebensohn found that Plaintiff was suffering from a mental disorder, but concluded that he was neither psychotic nor a danger to himself or others. Plaintiff's resignation was accepted by the Peace Corps on March 24, 1975.

 Plaintiff contends that the undisputed facts indicate that his First, Fifth, and Eighth Amendment rights were violated as a matter of law. Defendants vigorously contest this allegation and contend that (1) this Court lacks in personam jurisdiction over Defendants Pardo, Hoffmaister, and Stoll, (2) the statute of limitations has expired against all Defendants, (3) with the exception of ACTION, there was insufficient "state action" to support a finding that a constitutional tort was committed, (4) qualified immunity protects Defendants from suit in this case, (5) there has been no showing that Plaintiff's First, Fifth, or Eighth Amendment rights were violated, and (6) Plaintiff is not entitled to any remedy he seeks.

 I. In Personam Jurisdiction

 Defendants Pardo, Stoll and Hoffmaister allege that this Court lacks in personam jurisdiction over them because the District of Columbia does not have the minimum contacts required by International Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316, 66 S. Ct. 154, 158, 90 L. Ed. 95 (1945) and its progeny. Discussion of personal jurisdiction involves two basic queries, to wit: (1) does the Constitution grant the state the power (i. e. the jurisdiction *fn1" ) to affect legal interests through the judicial process, and (2) has the state given the Courts that requisite authority (i. e. the competence *fn2" ) to exercise this power.

 The instant case involves an allegedly ongoing constitutional tort; thus, unlike International Shoe and its progeny, state law is not in issue. Rather, the jurisdictional dispute hinges upon the power of a federal court to redress federal constitutional rights. This power is not limited by state boundaries. As the Court of Appeals stated in Briggs v. Goodwin, 186 U.S. App. D.C. 170, 569 F.2d 1, 9 (D.C.Cir.1977), rev'd. on other grounds sub nom. Stafford v. Briggs, 444 U.S. 527, 100 S. Ct. 774, 63 L. Ed. 2d 1 (1980).

 
Whether or not Article III mandated the creation of any inferior federal courts at all, it is a matter of general agreement that the discretion of Congress "as to the number, the character, (and) the territorial limits" of the inferior federal courts is not limited by the Constitution. Congress might have established only one such court, or a mere handful . . .

 Thus, federal courts have the jurisdiction to hear federal questions regardless of the territory where the federal question arose. Jurisdiction is, of course, limited by the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment. Due process requires "notice reasonably calculated . . . to apprise interested parties of the pendency of the action and afford them an opportunity to present their objections." Mullane v. Central Hanover Bank and Trust Co., 339 U.S. 306, 314, 70 S. Ct. 652, 657, 94 L. Ed. 865 (1950). Defendants have received ...


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