Wheeldin v. Wheeler - 373 U.S. 647 (1963)


U.S. Supreme Court

Wheeldin v. Wheeler, 373 U.S. 647 (1963)

Wheeldin v. Wheeler

No. 493

Argued April 23, 1963

Decided June 3, 1963

373 U.S. 647

Syllabus

Basing jurisdiction on 28 U.S.C. § 1331 and not alleging diversity of citizenship, petitioner Dawson brought suit in a Federal District Court against respondent, an investigator for the House Committee on Un-American Activities. Petitioner alleged that, without authorization from the Committee but acting under color of his office, respondent had caused a subpoena to appear as a witness before the Committee to be served on petitioner at his place of work, and that this caused him to lose his job and otherwise injured him. He sought damages and declaratory and injunctive relief. His reliance was on a claim of violation of the Fourth Amendment and of a statute authorizing issuance of subpoenas; but, so far as the complaint disclosed, he was neither arrested nor detained pursuant to the subpoena, he did not respond to the subpoena, nor was the subpoena used to cite him for contempt.

Held:

1. On the face of the complaint, the Federal Court had jurisdiction. P. 373 U. S. 649.

2. The facts alleged and conceded do not establish a violation of the Fourth Amendment; the provisions of the Civil Rights Act are inapplicable; Congress has not created a cause of action for abuse of the subpoena power by a federal officer, at least where the subpoena was never given effect; and the complaint failed to state a federal cause of action. Pp. 373 U. S. 649-652.

302 F.2d 36, affirmed.

Page 373 U. S. 648



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