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Section 1983 Lawyers

The lawyers at Danks, Miller & Cory have represented both plaintiffs and defendants in cases where 1983 violations were alleged.

What is 42 U.S.C. Section 1983?

42 U.S.C. Section 1983 (commonly referred to as “Section 1983”) is the federal law that makes it possible for an individual to bring a civil case against state and local governments, and their employees, for violating your constitutionally protected rights.

“State Action” and “Color of Law”

There are two requirements for a Section 1983 claim. First, the alleged wrongdoing must be the result of state action. State, Municipal and County employees are state actors for purposes of Section 1983. Therefore, a police officer who uses excessive force.

The second requirement is that the alleged wrongdoing must have been done under “color of law.” This means that the action was taken while clothed in official authority. This can be contrasted from a purely personal altercation unrelated to an official’s authority or duties.


Section 1983 claims may be brought in either federal or state court.

Fee Shifting

Under 42 U.S.C. Section 1988, parties who prevail under Section 1983 are entitled to reasonable attorneys’ fees. This fee shifting provision often makes it possible for the injured person to pursue cases which would otherwise not be cost-effective.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages may be recoverable in Section 1983 claims.

Qualified Immunity

State actors are only liable for violations of constitutional rights where those rights are “clearly established.” Overcoming the defense of qualified immunity is frequently one of the biggest hurdles in a Section 1983 case.

Contact Us

To discuss your specific situation and how we can help, contact us by email or call us at 601-957-3101.