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1983 Civil Rights Actions

Atlanta Lawyers Representing Parties in Civil Rights Lawsuits

The Federal Constitution and laws of the United States guarantee people certain civil rights. In other words, they grant people the right to equal protection and opportunities regardless of their religion, race, or any other characteristic. Civil rights are considered sacred; as such, federal law provides recourse for parties whose rights have been violated by people working on behalf of the state; specifically, they can pursue 1983 civil rights actions. If you believe a state official violated your civil rights, you have the right to seek compensation, and you should speak to an attorney as soon as possible. The skilled Atlanta civil rights attorneys of Poole Huffman take pride in helping people aggrieved by unjust acts in the pursuit of damages, and if you hire us, we will advocate aggressively on your behalf. Our lawyers frequently represent parties in civil rights actions in metro Atlanta, Decatur, and throughout Georgia.

Rights Afforded by 42 U.S.C. Section 1983

42 U.S.C. Section 1983 (section 1983) dictates that anyone who deprives a United States citizen or any other person subject to jurisdiction in the United States of the privileges, rights, or immunities afforded by the Federal Constitution or a United States law shall be liable to the injured party. Section 1983 only applies if the offending party acted under the color of a state law, ordinance, custom, regulation, or usage. In other words, the offending party must be a state employee working in their official capacity at the time the harm occurred. Section 1983 permits injured parties to pursue civil actions, suits in equity, and any other proceeding deemed proper. Injunctive relief is not available in cases arising out of harm caused by a judicial officer for acts undertaken in their official capacity, however, unless declaratory relief is unavailable or the officer violated a declaratory decree.

1983 Civil Rights Actions

Pursuant to section 1983, parties whose rights have been violated by state government employees can pursue 1983 civil rights actions. Notably, section 1983 only grants people the right to pursue claims against state employees; if the offending party was a federal employee, different rules apply.

In order to set forth a viable section 1983 claim, a plaintiff must assert that they were deprived of a right granted by federal law or the Federal Constitution and that the deprivation was brought about by a person acting under state law. Although 1983 civil rights actions involve state employees, they are typically filed in federal court.

Damages available in 1983 civil rights actions include compensatory damages and injunctive relief. In some instances, the judge or jury will grant the injured party punitive damages as well. Certain parties, like judges, state legislators, and prosecutors, are immune to section 1983 claims for monetary compensation. Additionally, in many cases, state officials will attempt to avoid liability by arguing they have qualified immunity. The defense will fail, though, if the plaintiff demonstrates that the defendant violated the plaintiff’s clearly defined civil rights.

Section 1983 does not set forth a statute of limitations, but the Supreme Court has ruled that the statute of limitations for pursuing personal injury actions in the state where the action is brought applies. Thus, for claims arising out of acts that occurred in Georgia claims, the statute of limitations is two years.

Meet with an Experienced Atlanta Attorney

Federal laws not only grant people civil rights, but they also provide avenues for seeking redress when their rights have been violated. If a state employee violated your civil rights, you could be owed substantial compensation, and it is in your best interest to meet with an attorney as soon as possible. The experienced Atlanta lawyers of Poole Huffman can advise you of your potential claims and help you to pursue the best legal outcome available under the facts of your case. We regularly represent people in civil rights matters in metro Atlanta, Decatur, and throughout Georgia. We also help injured parties pursue claims in cities throughout DeKalb, Cobb, Fulton, and Gwinnett Counties. You can reach us via our online form or at 404-373-4008 to set up a confidential and free consultation.

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