Shealey Law Firm in Columbia represents victims in Section 1983 claims. If your civil rights have been violated, contact us to discuss your situation.
A § 1983 civil rights attorney can represent you and stand up for justice when your rights have been violated. We assist people with evaluating what has happened, determining if they have a claim and responding to what has occurred. We can represent you in the entire process including investigating and building the case.
If your civil rights have been violated, you may receive financial compensation, an injunction to stop the injustice, or both.
Government officials rarely admit their mistakes or poor behavior. Our 42 U.S.C. § 1983 Civil Rights Attorneys in Columbia, SC attorneys are prepared to represent you as we seek justice for what has occurred.
We are trained and experienced litigators. We understand how important it is to stand up for civil rights and for the clients we represent. Contact Shealey Law Firm today for a consultation about your case.
What Does Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act Do?
- 1983 of the Civil Rights Act creates a cause of action for someone to sue based on a violation of civil rights. In other words, if the government infringes on someone’s civil rights, the victim can bring a lawsuit. The transgression is the legal grounds for the lawsuit, also called a cause of action.
Why is § 1983 of the Civil Rights Act important?
- 1983 gives victims important rights – and a remedy – when their civil rights are violated. Victims don’t have to tolerate discrimination. There is something they can do. They can file a lawsuit.
In addition to providing a remedy for victims, § 1983 works to reduce discrimination by creating a consequence for it. If government actors know that they may face a lawsuit, they may be less likely to engage in unlawful discrimination.
History of § 1983 of the Civil Rights Act
Lawmakers passed the Civil Rights Act in 1871, following the Civil War. Initially, the purpose of the law was to protect former slaves from discriminatory treatment by public officials. Over time, court rulings have expanded application of the law to cover rights violations in many contexts. For example, Brown v. Board of Education ended school segregation in the United States.
42 USC § 1983 says: 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.
Examples of 42 USC § 1983 Lawsuits
Most § 1983 lawsuits center around police misconduct. Here are some examples of events that may be grounds for a § 1983 lawsuit:
- Unlawfully stopping a vehicle
- Detaining a person without a reasonable belief that criminal activity is afoot
- False arrest
- Unreasonable search and seizure
- Targeting a specific person, harassment
- Assault and battery, police brutality
- Discrimination based on a protected class like race, religion or gender identity (may occur within management of the police department)
- Sexual assault
- Planting drugs on someone
- Falsely testifying against someone
- Stealing from a wallet or other property in law enforcement custody
- Tampering with evidence
- Malicious prosecution
- Coercing a confession
- Abuse or neglect in custody
Police misconduct is only one type of behavior that may be a violation of the law.
For example, Monell v. Department of Social Services of the City of New York was a case about women being forced to take a leave of absence from work during pregnancy. Gideon v. Wainwright affirmed that a person accused of a crime has the right to an attorney. Back v. Hastings on Hudson Un. Free Sch. Dist. centered around a woman who was denied tenure at her job after her supervisors made gender-based, discriminatory comments. Buchanan v. Worley invalidated a law mandating racial segregation in residential areas.
Courts have interpreted § 1983 in many contexts to protect the rights of individuals to be free from discrimination in society and public life.
Section 1983 Lawsuit FAQs
What is an example of a § 1983 action?
An example of a § 1983 action is police brutality. If the police use unnecessary force against a person, the person may have a legal claim under § 1983.
What does a § 1983 case require?
- 1983 requires that the victim have a civil right, the right is infringed on, the offender acted under color of a statute, ordinance, regulation or other authority and the authority was of a state or local government.
Does § 1983 create civil rights?
No. By itself, § 1983 does not create civil rights. Rather, it provides an enforcement mechanism and a remedy for violations of existing rights.
Does § 1983 apply to non-citizens?
Yes. Rights under § 1983 apply to citizens and non-citizens who may be present in the jurisdiction of the United States.
Contact Us to Learn How We Can Help
Our lawyers may assist you with:
- Understanding your civil rights
- Preparing the appropriate response when your rights have been infringed upon
- Preserving evidence
- Knowing the procedural steps to follow to bring a claim
- Valuing your case and the appropriate remedies
- Responding to the defense and how they try to fight accountability
- Using legal procedures to advance your case
- Presenting your case and fighting for justice
- Trial, court hearings and appeals
You need a legal team that you can trust. That’s what you can expect from Shealey Law Firm. We focus on people who are facing serious situations and injustices. We want to help protect your rights.
For your free consultation, and to start your case today, contact our civil rights attorneys in Columbia, SC.