CITY OF KENOSHA V. BRUNO, 412 U. S. 507 (1973)

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U.S. Supreme Court

City of Kenosha v. Bruno, 412 U.S. 507 (1973)

City of Kenosha v. Bruno

No. 72-658

Argued April 18, 1973

Decided June 11, 1973

412 U.S. 507


Appellees, who, apparently because of alleged nude dancing at their retail liquor establishments, were denied renewal of their one-year liquor licenses, brought suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for declaratory and injunctive relief against the cities of Racine and Kenosha. Appellees claimed deprivation of procedural due process arising from the cities' failure to hold full-blown adversary hearings before refusing to issue license renewals, and the unconstitutionality of the local licensing scheme. The Wisconsin Attorney General intervened as a party defendant in the proceedings. The cases were submitted on cross-motions for summary judgment and stipulations of fact. A three-judge District Court held that, in light of the "equitable nature" of the actions, it had jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1343, and the court declared the statutory scheme unconstitutional and enjoined its enforcement.


1. A city is not a "person" under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 where equitable relief is sought, any more than it is where damages are sought, Monroe v. Pape, 365 U. S. 167, 365 U. S. 187, and the District Court, therefore, erred in concluding that it had jurisdiction over the complaints under 28 U.S.C. § 1343 since only the two municipalities were named as defendants. Pp. 412 U. S. 511-513.

2. The District Court, on remand, should consider the jurisdictional questions presented by the State Attorney General's intervention and the availability of 28 U.S.C. § 1331 jurisdiction, as well as the decisions in Board of Regents v. Roth, 408 U. S. 564, and Perry v. Sindermann, 408 U. S. 593, which are germane to the due process issue, and the supervening decision in California v. LaRue, 409 U. S. 109, dealing with broad state authority over liquor distribution. Pp. 412 U. S. 513-515.

346 F.Supp. 43, vacated and remanded.

REHNQUIST, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which BURGER, C.J.,and BRENNAN, STEWART, WHITE, MARSHALL, BLACKMUN, and POWELL, JJ., joined. BRENNAN, J., filed a concurring opinion, in which MARSHALL, J., joined, post, p. 412 U. S. 516. DOUGLAS, J., filed an opinion dissenting in part, post, p. 412 U. S. 516.

Page 412 U. S. 508

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