New York Abuse of State Power Lawyer
Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress, except that in any action brought against a judicial officer for an act or omission taken in such officer’s judicial capacity, injunctive relief shall not be granted unless a declaratory decree was violated or declaratory relief was unavailable. For the purposes of this section, any Act of Congress applicable exclusively to the District of Columbia shall be considered to be a statute of the District of Columbia.
Introduction and History
Section 1983 was enacted on April 20, 1871, as part of the Civil Rights Act of 1871, aka as the “Ku Klux Klan Act” because one of its primary purposes was to provide a civil remedy against the abuses that were being committed against ex-slaves in the southern states, especially by the “Ku Klux Klan.” Wilson v. Garcia, 471 U.S. 261, 276 (1985). The Act was intended to provide a private remedy for such violations of federal law, thus creating another species of tort liability.
Elements of a Section 1983 Claim
(i) Any “person” is subject to liability (ii) who acts under color of state law (iii) subjects or causes to be subjected (iv) any person to the deprivation of rights (v) shall be liable in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress
Important Jurisdictional Requirements
Only “persons” under the statute are subject to liability. Will v. Michigan Dept. of State Police, 491 U.S. 58 (1989). A state and its employee are not “persons” subject to suit, Id for damages, but the state and its employees can be sued for prospective or injunctive relief. A state employee can be sued in his individual capacity for damages. Municipalities and local governments are persons subject to being sued for damages and injunctive relief, Monell v. Dept. of Social Services of New York, 436 U.S. 658, 701 (1978) but the federal government is not. Bivens v. Six unknown Named Agents of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971). Employees of federal, Id state Hafer v. Melo, 502 U.S. 25 (1991) and local City of Oklahoma City v. Tuttle, 471 U.S. 808 (1985) governments can be sued in their individual capacities for damages, prospective or injunctive relief.
Although traditionally the actor is a government employee, private actors may also “clothed with the authority of state law” West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 49 (1988) such as a medical doctor providing healthcare to inmates. Id
Although there is no “state of mind” requirement, Parratt v. Taylor, 451 U.S. 527 (1981) there must be a causal connection between the actor’s actions and the resulting harm. Mt. Healthy City School Dist. Bd. Of Educ. V. Doyle, 429 U.S. 274, 285-287 (1977).
A plaintiff may prevail only if he/she can demonstrate that he/she was deprived of rights secured by the United States Constitution or federal statutes. Chapman v. Houston Welfare Rights Org., 441 U.S. 600, 617 (1979).
There is no requirement that the plaintiff sue in federal court because state courts have concurrent jurisdiction Howlett v. Rose, 496 U.S. 356 (1990) and the usual rule of exhaustion of administrative and judicial state remedies are not a prerequisite to a section 1983 action. Monroe v. Pape, 365 U.S. 167, 183 (1961). The existence of concurrent state remedies are not a bar to a section 1983 action. Zinermon v. Burch, 494 U.S. 113, 124 (1990).
If you feel that you’ve had your civil rights have been violated, or would like to have an attorney review your documents to ensure that your rights are protected, contact the New York Abuse of State Power Lawyer at The Sanders Firm, P.C., 800-371-4835, today.