Title 42 of the U.S. Code, Section 1983, creates a civil action for depravation of a citizen’s civil rights in federal court. You can read the actual statute here. The language of the statute has been interpreted to allow victims of constitutional violations to sue state and local government officials for damages. In order to succeed on a Section 1983 claim, a plaintiff must show that: (1) the defendant acted under the color of state law, and (2) the defendant’s actions deprived the plaintiff of a right guaranteed by the Constitution. The Supreme Court has determined that not all constitutional violations will give rise to a Section 1983 claim. A proper claim under the law must be must be “sufficiently egregious” such that it “shock(s) the conscience” or amounts to “conduct that deliberately disregards fundamental rights”. Although Section 1983 can be used to bring a suit for a violation of a wide range of Constitutional Rights, at Wagner and Lynch we focus on those cases involving misconduct on the part of law enforcement. If you think your interaction with law enforcement may have resulted in a violation of your civil rights to the degree that the actions of the officer would shock the conscience of the average person, give us a call today and let us determine if you have an actionable case.