1983 Civil Rights Litigation: What Justice Professionals Need to Know

1983 Civil Rights Litigation: What Justice Professionals Need to Know
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1 Module 1
Recorded on: 2020-07-07
Unit 1 Slide Deck: 1983 Civil Rights Litigation
Unit 2 Transcript:1983 Civil Rights Litigation
Unit 3 Workbook: 1983 Civil Rights Litigation
Unit 4 Recording: 1983 Civil Rights Litigation

Recent turn of events has the public looking at constitutional rights. It becomes a question of where do their fists end and our noses begin for those working in the government who are being subjected to public scrutiny, particularly law enforcement, over civil rights.

Joining us again to talk about 1983 Civil Rights Act is Justice Clearinghouse’s favorite legal resource, Rick Hodsdon. Rick is the Assistant County Attorney in Stillwater, Minnesota where he represents the county and its agencies. With more than 4 decades in the legal profession, he’s an expert in civil and criminal matters intersecting with the criminal justice arena where he handled management and personnel issues and employment law.

Specifics Rick went into on this discussion include:

  • An introduction to the 1983 Civil Rights Act – the sector it applies to, its history, and how it’s been used since its inception.
  • Dissecting the text of the statute, the type of conduct/policy where liability arises, and who can be held liable.
  • The three essential elements that must be present prove a 1983 action.
  • What it means to be acting under the color of law – the scope and limitation of when an employee is acting within their employment, and exceptions for off-duty circumstances.
  • Establishing the violation of constitutional rights by understanding the concepts of protected constitutional rights, deliberate indifference, and liability.
  • Reducing the potential for deliberate indifference by taking reasonable measures to protect people from harm.
  • Considerations to prove a person or organization’s liability.
  • Proving damages inflicted upon the plaintiff, the types of damages in 1983 cases, what injunctive relief seeks, and including attorney’s fees in damages.
  • Ways to prove alleged misconduct did not violate constitutional rights and assert qualified immunity.
  • A look into how loss of qualified immunity may potentially impact government agencies and the community.
  • Strategies to reduce liability and prevent 1983 actions through best practices, updated policies and procedures, and appropriate training on constitutional rights.

Webinar attendees had questions regarding:

  • The applicability of 1983 actions to probation
  • Statute of Limitations on and state versions of 1983 actions.
  • Related case laws on search of the passenger area.
  • Government agencies that get entangled in 1983 cases.
  • Civil standard as the plaintiff’s burden of proof.
  • Preventing potential liabilities by not just merely following orders.


Audience Comments

  • “Great presentation on Civil Rights in the workforce.” — Tangela
  • “Easy to understand. The speaker did a good job of explaining legal terms.” — Jonathan
  • “I like that cases were mentioned, and also the time allowed at the end of seminar for questions. It allowed me to get other perspectives.” — Rosenda
  • “So informative.” — Phyllis
  • “The importance of keeping policy and training current with case law and best practices.” — Ken
  • “It was a good overview presented in simple linear form with valuable case law. Thank you.” — Jeryl


** This webinar has been certified by the National Sheriffs' Association and may be eligible for Continuing Education Units through your POST. Please consult your local certification processes for additional details. Paid subscribers that attend will be able to download a jointly issued attendance certificate that includes the National Sheriffs' Association logo.
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