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Deshaney v. Winnebago County & the 'Blessings of Liberty'

Civil Rights Stories (Myriam Gilles & Risa Goluboff eds., Foundation Press, 2007), pp. 185-210

26 Pages Posted: 5 Mar 2013 Last revised: 6 Mar 2013

Lynda G. Dodd

The City University of New York (CUNY) - City College

Date Written: March 4, 2013

Abstract

This chapter offers a detailed portrait of the constitutional violations alleged in the DeShaney case, which involved a civil rights claim for damages against a county social worker and agency for failing to intervene to protect a young child, Joshua DeShaney, from his father’s physical abusive conduct. The chapter situates the case in the broader legal context of “failure to protect” claims under Section 1983 and provides a critical analysis of Justice Rehnquist’s bright-line distinction between state and private action.

Keywords: Section 1983, affirmative duties, civil rights, Rehnquist

JEL Classification: K39

Suggested Citation

Dodd, Lynda G., Deshaney v. Winnebago County & the 'Blessings of Liberty' (March 4, 2013). Civil Rights Stories (Myriam Gilles & Risa Goluboff eds., Foundation Press, 2007), pp. 185-210. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2228048

Lynda G. Dodd (Contact Author)

The City University of New York (CUNY) - City College ( email )

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