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Supreme Court of the United States
Argued January 10, 1978 ; March 28, 1978; Petition For Rehearing Denied June 5, 1978; As Amended
[*351] [***336] [**1101] MR. JUSTICE WHITE delivered the opinion of the Court.
This case requires us to consider the scope of a judge's immunity from damages liability when sued under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
The relevant facts underlying respondents' suit are not in dispute. On July 9, 1971, Ora Spitler McFarlin, the mother of respondent Linda Kay Spitler Sparkman, presented to Judge Harold D. Stump of the Circuit Court of DeKalb County, Ind., a document captioned "Petition To Have Tubal Ligation Performed On Minor and Indemnity Agreement." The document had been drafted by her attorney, a petitioner here. In this petition Mrs. McFarlin stated under oath that her daughter was 15 years of age and was "somewhat retarded," although she attended public school and had been promoted each year with her class. The petition further stated that Linda had been associating with "older youth or young men" and had stayed out overnight with them on several occasions. As a result of this behavior and Linda's mental capabilities, it was stated that it would be in the daughter's best interest if she underwent a tubal ligation in order "to prevent unfortunate circumstances…." In the same document Mrs. [****6] McFarlin also undertook to indemnify and hold harmless Dr. John Hines, who was to perform the operation, and the DeKalb Memorial Hospital, where the operation was to take place, against all causes of action that might arise as a result of the performance of the tubal ligation. 2
[****7] [*352] The [***337] [**1103] petition was approved by Judge Stump on the same day. He affixed his signature as "Judge, DeKalb Circuit Court," to the statement that he did "hereby approve the [*353] above Petition by affidavit form on behalf of Ora Spitler McFarlin, to have Tubal Ligation performed upon her minor daughter, Linda Spitler, subject to said Ora Spitler McFarlin covenanting and agreeing to indemnify and keep indemnified Dr. John Hines and the DeKalb Memorial Hospital from any matters or causes of action arising therefrom."
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435 U.S. 349 *; 98 S. Ct. 1099 **; 55 L. Ed. 2d 331 ***; 1978 U.S. LEXIS 74 ****
STUMP ET AL. v. SPARKMAN ET VIR
Prior History: CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SEVENTH CIRCUIT took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.
judicial act, sterilization, circuit court, judicial immunity, immunity, general jurisdiction, approve, cases, ligation, tubal, judicial capacity, proceedings, damages, rights, absolute immunity, daughter, factors, parties
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