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Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co.

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Brief Fact Summary.

Petitioner sued Respondent for conspiracy after she was refused service and then arrested in the company of her students. Respondent moved for summary judgment.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

Summary judgment requires the moving party to bear the burden of showing the absence of a genuine issue of material fact, viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party.

Points of Law - Legal Principles in this Case for Law Students.

Deeply embedded traditional ways of carrying out state policy are often tougher and truer law than the dead words of the written text.

View Full Point of Law

Sandra Adickes (Petitioner), a white school teacher, was arrested in S.H. Kress & Co. (Respondent) after being refused service for being in the company of her black students. Petitioner filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, claiming in part that Respondent had worked in conspiracy with the police to arrest her. Respondent moved for summary judgment.


Did the district court properly grant summary judgment for the Respondent?


No, the district court erred by granting summary judgment for the Respondent. The case is reversed and remanded.


The Court found that summary judgment was improper because Respondent failed to carry its burden of showing the absence of any genuine issue of fact. Because Respondent failed to foreclose the possibility that there was a police officer in the restaurant who spoke with the waitress about refusing to serve Petitioner, Petitioner was not required to provide additional evidence proving that the police officer was in fact there. Instead, simply relying on the contrary allegations was sufficient to survive summary judgment.

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