Jan 31, 2023  
2019-2020 Law Catalog 
2019-2020 Law Catalog [ARCHIVED BULLETIN]

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LAW 3706 - Civil Rights Litigation

This course focuses on the liability for state and federal government officials under 42 U.S.C. 1983 (and the line of cases beginning with Bivens) for violations of federal constitutional and statutory rights. The course will include a detailed analysis of Section 1983 (and other federal civil rights statutes) and the jurisprudence that has evolved in the area of civil rights law over the past century.  It will address both the practical realities of litigating cases in this area, and the theoretical justifications for broad or limited exposure of governments and government officials to civil liability.  Topics of study will include: determining the proper defendants in 1983 and Bivens cases (including questions of municipal and state liability), the kinds of legal claims that give rise to a cause of action, absolute and qualified immunity (and the statutory, doctrinal and theoretical justifications for both), other defenses that apply to civil rights claims, how damages are assessed, and when successful plaintiffs can recover attorneys’ fees. The course will review a wide range of substantive civil-rights violations, including substantive and procedural due process violations, equal protection violations, denial of free speech, excessive force, unlawful searches and seizures, and unlawful prison conditions.

Prerequisites & Notes

Credits: 2 or 3

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