Case Briefing- Chapter 14, Wade V. Bethesda Hospital, 337 F. Supp 671 (1971) – Essay Example

Case Brief: Wade v. Bethesda Hospital, 337 F. Supp 671 (1971) Defendant Holland M. Gary is d in a five count complaint that alleges he “entered into a conspiracy” that “would cause the plaintiff to be sterilized in order to prevent plaintiff from bearing children.” The plaintiff alleges that this was a violation of her 14th Amendment rights-to life, liberty, and property, protected by due process of law and to equal protection of the laws. The plaintiff also alleges sterilization “constituted an assault and battery” and a deprivation of civil rights and a deprivation of her rights under the Constitution of the State of Ohio.
Gary, the defendant, alleges that he was acting within his jurisdiction as a judge and is protected by judicial immunity. Therefore, District Judge Kinneary writes, “The sole issue which this Court must determine is whether or not defendant Gary acted outside the scope of his jurisdiction when he ordered the plaintiff to submit to sterilization.”
Further, the court concludes unequivocally that neither statute nor practice “provided the defendant Gary with the authority to order plaintiff to submit to sterilization...”
The decision cites numerous instances were the courts affirmed “that sterilization was not within the general equity power of the court and that it was a matter to be dealt with by the legislature.” Also, it concludes that the legislature has considered sterilization and declined to proceed and pass a statute authorizing it, “some evidence that a radical action like sterilization does not meet with public approval.” Therefore in the absence of a specific statute the court concludes that “Gary acted wholly without jurisdiction in this matter.... [And] is not protected by the doctrine of judicial immunity.”