Section 1983 in the Second Circuit
52 Pages Posted: 25 May 2014
Date Written: 1993
There is no more important area of civil litigation in the federal courts than actions brought under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983. Section 1983 authorizes individuals who assert violations of their federally protected rights to seek redress against those who acted under color of state law. A broad range of important federal constitutional claims are asserted under this statute.
Like the federal courts throughout the country, the Second Circuit handles a large number of Section 1983 cases presenting a wide range of claims and issues, many of which are complex and important. The major reported decisions rendered by the Second Circuit in 1992 focused primarily upon two areas, municipal liability and qualified immunity. This is not surprising as these are both highly significant issues frequently raising difficult, contentious questions.
Part I of this Article analyzes the Second Circuit court's municipal liability decisions. Part II then examines an important decision involving absolute immunity and its application to officials who initiate civil suits. Part III explores the court's complex qualified immunity decisional law. Finally, Part IV discusses other significant Section 1983 decisions, specifically those involving malicious prosecution claims, state action and punitive damages.
Keywords: Section 1983 litigation, Second Circuit federal courts, municipal liability, absolute immunity, qualified immunity, malicious prosecution claims, state action, punitive damages
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