At Eric Roy Law Firm, we believe that no one is above the law, and that includes law enforcement officials and other people who are in positions of power and authority. If you have had your civil rights violated and are looking for an aggressive advocate to stand up for you, turn to our firm. Our Las Vegas civil rights litigation lawyer, Eric Roy, is known for being a passionate and persistent legal advocate who knows how to deliver results. He is an accomplished trial attorney who has been widely recognized by our peers and clients alike.
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The Civil Rights Act of 1871 & Section 1983
This Congressional Act, established on April 20, 1871, is a federal law promulgated in the aftermath of the Civil War to protect southern blacks from the Ku Klux Klan; hence it was then commonly known as the Ku Klux Klan Act. Consequently, the purpose behind Section 1983 is to provide a civil remedy for violations of a person’s Constitutional civil rights.
The seminal case decided under 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983 by the United States Supreme Court was Monroe v. Pape. The Court ruled that a police officer was acting due to the state’s laws even though his actions were actually direct violations of the law. Through that ruling, the Court allowed liability to exist where a government official acted in such a way that abused or superseded their inherited power. Since the case’s closure, the related laws have since been fully expanded to protect victims of civil rights abuses.
You can expect to see the following aspects in claims pertaining to this Section:
- An officer representing the state or a local government can be individual sued for their actions that have violated the powers granted to them by that state. Local governments can also be held accountable to some extent, but the federal United States government cannot be sued for these reasons. What is described in S.1983 may also be applied to any legal situation that calls for similar legislation, despite the section not clearly stating this.
- The accused party must have caused some sort of harm stemming from the powers they have been granted by their position in the state or local government. Third parties can also be held individually accountable for similar actions if they abuse powers granted by the state, although they are not technically state officials.
- What the accused party has allegedly done must be sourced, in reasonable relation, to the powers they have been granted from their position. As a basic example, the government could have some liability responsibilities if they fail to train and monitor their appointed employees correctly. They must also prevent violations to occur whenever possible.
- Policymakers cannot be held individually accountable for violations caused by their proposed or enacted policies, unless they have a direct link to the damage that has been caused. There may be other repercussions, but not those held in individual court cases.
- S.1983 does not actually provide rights in and of itself. It does, however, create a guideline to protect and uphold other rights granted by the Constitution.
- The Fourteenth Amendment is most commonly brought up during S.1983 claims and due process disputes. When someone’s Constitutional rights are not respected and withdrawn without due process of the law, a statute is created.
- Action may be taken through an S.1983 claim without necessarily having to go through initial jurisdictions. Additionally, preexisting legal statutes in the state does not stop an S.1983 claim from being created. Essentially, if a civil right is being violated, the matter can escalate as far as it needs to in order to be fairly resolved.
- Damages related to such claims are meant to reward a victim who has felt the harm of misconduct, abuse, or neglect from government parties. The damages cannot cap, especially when considered punitive damages.
Possible Defenses in S.1983 Cases
The Eleventh Amendment might extend protection to states and their officials in federal courts, but smaller, local governmental bodies are not safeguarded. Any harm to constitutional rights stemming from their jurisdiction is liable to be judged. These small governments will be accountable first and foremost, and the punishments placed upon them will not flow onto individual officers, unless an officer is directly tied to the violations.
No Recovery, No Fee – Call (702) 423-3333
You have nothing to lose when you call our Las Vegas civil rights litigation lawyer at Eric Roy Law Firm. We work hard so you don’t have to. In fact, if we don’t win your case, then you do not pay us a penny. We fight for justice and we fight to win every single time.
Contact our firm to tell us about the violations you have suffered: (702) 423-3333.