Some Objections to Strict Liability for Constitutional Torts

29 Pages Posted: 24 Jun 2020

Date Written: June 17, 2020


Qualified immunity protects officials from damages for constitutional violations, unless they have violated “clearly established” rights. Local governments enjoy no immunity, but may not be sued on a vicarious liability theory for constitutional violations committed by their employees. Critics of the current regime would overturn of these rules, in order to vindicate constitutional rights and deter violations. This article argues that the costs of these reforms would outweigh the benefits.

Keywords: constitutional law, torts, qualified immunity, police brutality, excessive force, local government Section 1983, George Floyd, civil rights, strict liability, police officers

JEL Classification: K13, K19

Suggested Citation

Wells, Michael Lewis, Some Objections to Strict Liability for Constitutional Torts (June 17, 2020). Georgia Law Review, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN:

Michael Lewis Wells (Contact Author)

University of Georgia School of Law ( email )

225 Herty Drive
Athens, GA 30602
United States

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