Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Price v. INS case brief

Price v. INS case brief summary
963 F.2d 836 (1991)

Plaintiff police officer appealed an order from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, denying his motion to reconsider the denial of his motion to amend his civil rights complaint brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C.S. §§ 1981 and 1983. Plaintiff also claimed that the trial court erred in dismissing his complaint against defendant city police department upon the ground of undue delay.

Plaintiff police officer brought a civil rights suit against defendant city police department under 42 U.S.C.S. §§ 1981 and 1983 after he was denied a promotion to assistant chief. Plaintiff, a black male, alleged that the process defendant used to evaluate applicants for the position was racially biased. Defendant brought a motion to dismiss, which the trial court granted. The trial court held that plaintiff had failed to plead facts indicative of a municipal policy of racial discrimination. However, the trial court did not indicate whether it was dismissing plaintiff's action or just his complaint. Plaintiff brought a motion asking the trial court to reconsider its denial of his motion for leave to amendment


  • On appeal, the court affirmed, finding that the evidence indicated that the trial court probably intended to dismiss only the complaint, not the action. 
  • Although normally the trial court should have granted leave to amend, because plaintiff's approach to his case was marked by delay and by an unwillingness, perhaps an inability, to furnish facts necessary to support his claims under §§ 1981 and 1983, the court found that dismissal was appropriate.

The court affirmed the trial court's denial of plaintiff police officer's motion to reconsider the denial of his motion to amend his complaint in a civil rights suit against defendant city police department. Because plaintiff failed to allege sufficient facts to show that defendant participated in a policy, practice, or custom of racial discrimination, he was not entitled to amend his complaint.

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