Section 1983 Litigation
36 Pages Posted: 1 Jun 2014
Date Written: 1992
In the early 1990’s, the Supreme Court had been very active, one might say unusually active, in refining the law in § 1983 litigation. There were several important decisions rendered by the Court in the 1990-1991 Term in this field. The authors participate in a symposium discussion about some of these cases, including: Mireles v. Waco, which concerned judicial immunity; Hafer v. Melo, in which the issue was whether a state official who was carrying out her official responsibilities could be sued for damages in her personal capacity; Dennis v. Higgins, which held that Commerce Clause claims could be brought under § 1983; Wilson v. Seiter, in which the Court held that Eighth Amendment attacks upon prison conditions are governed by the deliberate indifference standard; Edmonson v. Leesville Concrete Co., where the Court held that a private civil litigant's exercise of a peremptory juror challenge, which was alleged to have been made on racial grounds, constituted "state action" within the meaning of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments; Burns v. Reed, which held that prosecutors were not absolutely immune for the advice that they gave to the police during the investigative stage of a criminal proceeding; Siegert v. Gilley, a case concerning qualified immunity; and West Virginia University Hospitals v. Casey, which held Court held that the fees that a plaintiff expends for services rendered by experts during both the pre-trial stage and the trial stage are not recoverable under the civil rights fee shifting statute contained in 42 U.S.C.§ 1988.
Keywords: Section 1983 litigation, U.S. Supreme Court, judicial immunity, absolute immunity, suit in personal capacity, Commerce Clause claims, Eighth Amendment claims, deliberate indifference standard, peremptory juror challenge, state action, fee-shifting statutes
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