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Hughes v. Ranger Fuel Corp.

Citation: 2 ELR 20577
No. No. 72-1022, 467 F.2d 6/(4th Cir., 09/26/1972)

The Fourth Circuit affirms the district court's dismissal of the case for lack of federal jurisdiction. Plaintiffs allege assault and battery committed by defendants as plaintiffs were attempting to obtain photographic evidence of an alleged violation of the 1899 Refuse Act by defendant strip mining company. Plaintiffs' theory of action is based upon 42 U.S.C. § 1985 (3) and 28 U.S.C. § 1342, dealing with deprivation of civil rights and district court jurisdiction over state-regulated utility rates, respectively. Plaintiffs do not allege diversity of citizenship. Discussing at length Griffin v. Breckenridge, 403 U.S. 88, in which § 1985 (3) was held applicable to private conspiracies as well as those under color of state law, the court concludes that § 1985 (3) requires a pattern of purposeful discrimination against members of a class or race, which is not shown here. The question of whether environmentalists as a group would qualify as such a class is left open.

Counsel for Plaintiffs-Appellants
John L. Boettner, Jr.
Legal Aid Society
1026 Quarrier St.
Charleston, W. Va. 25301

Counsel for Defendants-Appellees
William T. O'Farrell
1601 Kanawha Valley Bldg.
Charleston, W. Va. 25322

Robert B. Sayre
P.O. Box 1777
Beckley, W. Va. 25801