The commonwealth officials cannot be liable under § 1983 for their own conduct in violating federal legislation or local law. Neither the Wagner-Peyser Act nor Puerto Rican Law #87 imposes a duty upon the Puerto Rican officials to enforce the federal statutory rights of migratory workers who accept employment in New Jersey. The abridgment of plaintiff's constitutional right to travel is claimed to arise from the denial of these same federal statutory rights. Therefore, plaintiff's constitutional rights also could not have been abridged by the Puerto Rican officials' own failure to enforce the Wagner-Peyser Act or local law.
Thus, any cause of action against the commonwealth officials under § 1983 must be based upon their participation in a conspiracy which resulted in unlawful conduct by the New Jersey defendants. The complaint sufficiently alleges that the New Jersey defendants, with whom the commonwealth officials conspired, deprived plaintiff of rights protected by an Act of Congress. Regardless of the validity of plaintiff's alternative constitutional argument, which need not be reached here,
plaintiff has stated a cause of action under § 1983 based upon the infringement of his Wagner-Peyser rights.
It has been held that the protection of § 1983 may be invoked even where relief is sought for deprivation of wholly statutory rights. Greenwood v. Peacock, 384 U.S. 808, 829-830, 86 S. Ct. 1800, 16 L. Ed. 2d 944 (1966); Dandridge v. Williams, 397 U.S. 471, 475, 90 S. Ct. 1153, 25 L. Ed. 2d 491 (1970). The Supreme Court, however, has expressly reserved judgment on the question of whether the scope of the jurisdictional statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1343(3), is coextensive with 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in actions based upon purely statutory rights. Hagans v. Lavine, 415 U.S. 528, 533-35, n. 5, 94 S. Ct. 1372, 39 L. Ed. 2d 577 (1974); Lynch v. Household Finance Corp., 405 U.S. 538, 543-544, 92 S. Ct. 1113, 31 L. Ed. 2d 424 (1972). § 1983 establishes a cause of action to redress deprivation of rights secured by the Constitution and "laws," while § 1343(3) provides jurisdiction for proceedings to redress deprivation of rights secured by the Constitution or "an Act of Congress providing for equal rights." An analysis of the legislative history, however, leads to the conclusion that this language was not intended to reduce the jurisdiction of federal district courts over § 1983 actions. Blue v. Craig, 505 F.2d 830 (4th Cir. 1974). Rather, the term "equal rights," which first appeared in the 1875 revision of the Civil Rights Act of 1871, had a broader meaning than it does today. Id. at 839. The purpose of the 1875 revision was not to effect substantive changes in the 1871 Act, but instead merely sought to divide it into separate jurisdictional and substantive statutes. Id. at 838, citing Herzer, Federal Jurisdiction Over Statutorily-Based Welfare Claims, 6 Harv. Civil Rights -- Civil Liberties L.Rev. 1, 7-8 (1970).
Moreover, it has been held that jurisdiction over cases involving the Wagner-Peyser Act can be based on 28 U.S.C. § 1343(4). In Gomez, supra, the court explained that claims growing out of the Wagner-Peyser Act give rise to a cause of action under § 1983. Jurisdiction, therefore, is established under 28 U.S.C. § 1343(4), since § 1983 is itself an "Act of Congress providing for the protection of civil rights." 417 F.2d at 580, n. 39. The Ninth Circuit in Blue v. Craig, supra, similarly found jurisdiction under § 1343(4) for a § 1983 action which was based upon the Social Security Act. The decision of the Supreme Court in Jones v. Alfred H. Mayer Co., 392 U.S. 409, 88 S. Ct. 2186, 20 L. Ed. 2d 1189 (1968) provides support for the view that statutes such as § 1983 are among those acts "providing for the protection of civil rights" within the meaning of § 1343(4). In Jones jurisdiction over a 42 U.S.C. § 1982 (1970) action, concerning discrimination in the sale and rental of property, was based upon § 1343(4). 392 U.S. at 412, n. 1, 88 S. Ct. 2186.
Thus, a judgment on the pleadings dismissing plaintiff's cause of action against the Puerto Rican officials under § 1983 would be improper.
III. PENDENT JURISDICTION OVER CLAIMS BASED ON VIOLATION OF PUERTO RICAN LAW.
The plaintiff further alleges that the commonwealth defendants have failed to comply with Puerto Rican Law #87, 29 L.P.R.A. §§ 526-534 and its implementing regulations. This legislation requires, inter alia, the establishment of minimum guarantees in the employment contracts of Puerto Rican migratory workers and the inspection and certification of the living conditions provided by their employers. It is within the power of this court, under United Mine Workers v. Gibbs, 383 U.S. 715, 86 S. Ct. 1130, 16 L. Ed. 2d 218 (1966), to assert pendent jurisdiction over the claims based on Puerto Rican law, since the federal claim is substantial enough to confer subject matter jurisdiction, and plaintiff's claims under both federal and Puerto Rican law are derived from a common nucleus of operative fact. Id. at 725, 86 S. Ct. 1130. But the Supreme Court has stressed that pendent jurisdiction is a "doctrine of discretion, not of plaintiff's right." Id. at 726, 86 S. Ct. at 1139.
The complaint seeks damages and the issuance of an order directing the commonwealth defendants to perform their duties in accordance with Law #87. The Supreme Court of Puerto Rico, however, has not considered the question of whether these statutory requirements subject the government officials to tort liability and mandatory injunctions or instead merely establish duties to be performed within their discretion. As Justice Brennan in Gibbs emphasized:
needless decisions of state law should be avoided both as a matter of comity and to promote justice between the parties, by procuring for them a surer-footed reading of applicable law. 383 U.S. at 726, 86 S. Ct. at 1139.