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1983 Civil Rights Cases

1983 Civil Rights Lawsuits

Manchester, New Hampshire 1983 Civil Rights Lawyers

42 U.S.C. 1983 allows you to file a lawsuit against the government when your most important civil rights have been violated by a government employee or someone who was acting under the color of state law. Civil rights violations are carried out by bad actors in the criminal justice system and other governmental agencies each day. If your civil rights have been violated, then it is time to think about taking legal action to set things right.

The Russell Friedman Law Group, LLP in Manchester, New Hampshire can help you understand your rights as someone who has been abused, infringed upon, or otherwise harmed due to a violation of your civil rights. It is important to note that the civil rights considered in Section 1983 lawsuits are federally protected and are not guaranteed by New Hampshire. The legal distinction there is important, and you need to work with a law firm that understands it as well as we do.

1983 civil rights lawsuits usually allege a violation of the claimant’s rights under the:

  • First Amendment: Right to free speech, expression, and assembly
  • Fourth Amendment: Right to protection from unreasonable searches and seizures
  • Eighth Amendment: Right to protection from “cruel and unusual” punishments
  • Fourteenth Amendment: Right to a fair legal process

A successful Section 1983 lawsuit can reward you with monetary damages and help to ensure the same violation never occurs to another. For these reasons and more, it is so important for you to at least explore your legal options after your think your civil rights have been violated.

Were your civil rights violated by law enforcement, a court, or another member of the government? Call (603) 716-9415 or contact us online right now.

What Actions Violate 1983 Civil Rights?

Typically, 1983 civil rights violation lawsuits that are heard by a federal court involve allegations of abuse carried out by a member of the criminal justice system. Although anyone can infringe upon your rights, criminal justice system members have the most power to actually violate or remove your rights without due cause. In all 1983 civil rights lawsuits, the alleged violation must have been conducted by someone operating under the authority given to them by some sort of governmental agency or position.

Examples of behaviors or actions that might call for a 1983 lawsuit are:

  • Excessive use of force and police brutality
  • Unwarranted searches of private property
  • Unreasonable criminal sentences
  • Unexplained court orders
  • Physical abuse carried out by prison guards
  • Coercing defendants to testify against themselves

Color of Law & Civil Rights Violations

For a 1983 lawsuit to gain traction, the civil rights violation must have been committed by someone who was acting “under color of law.” When someone acts using the authority given to them by the state or the federal government, or if they act in a way that is meant to convince people that such authority is being used, they are acting under color of law and can violate your civil rights.

For example, a police officer who is in uniform or on-duty is perceived to always be acting under color of law due to the standards and expectations set by their job position. However, off-duty police officers can also operate under color of law if they attempt to use elements of their job to coerce, control, or abuse someone, like saying “I am a police officer,” and then acting with undue authority.

Defendants & Damages in Section 1983 Lawsuits

Due to the nature of a Section 1983 lawsuit, the defendants are usually:

  • Individual government employees, like a police officer
  • People who aid and abet those who violate civil rights
  • Entire government entities or agencies

Depending on what rights were violated and what parties are the defendants in your lawsuit, the damages you can secure will vary. If you were physically injured, then you can sue for compensation that pays for your medical bills. If you were unable to work due to your injuries or false incarceration, then you can sue for lost wages. In most 1983 lawsuits, you can sue for monetary damages that acknowledge your pain, suffering, and unjust loss of civil rights.

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