New Orleans Criminal Defense and Personal Injury Attorneys, J.C. Lawrence and Associates, LLC

New Orleans Civil Rights Claims

Federal laws provide extensive protections to the citizens of the United States. Perhaps the most famous source of federal law is the U.S. Constitution. If a government official violates your constitutional rights, the law that allows you to seek a remedy for that violation is Title 42 of the United States Code, Section 1983. This code section, often referred to as “Section 1983,” provides the mechanism for enforcing the protections in the Constitution by allowing citizens to sue government officials who violate their constitutional rights.

In relevant part, Section 1983 states:

Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation . . . of any state or territory . . . causes . . . the deprivation of any rights, privileges or immunities secured by the Constitution . . . shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity or other proper proceeding for redress. . .”

Types of Civil Rights Section 1983 Claims

The Constitution provides numerous rights that must be respected by all government agents. Examples include:

  • The Fourth Amendment which protects you against unreasonable governmental search and seizure; and
  • The Eighth Amendment which protects you against cruel and unusual punishment.

If these rights or any other guarantees provided by the Constitution are violated, Section 1983 creates a legal right to file a lawsuit against the offending parties.

Examples of cases that have been brought under Section 1983 include:

  • Lawsuits against police officers for excessive use of force;
  • Lawsuits for unreasonable use of a Taser;
  • Damage to property or to individuals as a result of an illegal search;
  • Prison officials ignoring the medical needs of prisoners while incarcerated; and
  • Prison officials placing incarcerated individuals into dangerous situations, such as into shared jail cells with people who are likely to inflict serious harm.

In these and other situations, citizens whose civil rights were violated brought legal action against the offending police officers, sheriffs, deputies, prison guards, chiefs, wardens and others. In many cases, multiple defendants may be sued since the government agency responsible for an offending employee can be held liable for the employee’s wrongdoing. For example, if a police officer uses excessive force, the entire police department may be sued, or if a prison guard denies you medical treatment, the warden and the entire corrections system could be held liable for damages.

Why You Need a Civil Rights Section 1983 Lawyer

If your rights have been violated by a government official, you may have a Section 1983 civil rights claim. These cases can be extremely complex, not only in identifying all potential parties to the lawsuit but also in building a case and determining damages. To maximize your success, you need an experienced and qualified attorney who specializes in handling Section 1983 civil rights claims.

The New Orleans civil rights lawyers at J.C. Lawrence and Associates, LLC have represented many victims of constitutional rights violations. If you have had your rights stomped on by law enforcement or government agents, you need to take action to protect your rights and seek all available legal remedies. We will ensure that you follow all procedural requirements, present the proof you need, identify the correct defendants and help you obtain the justice you deserve. We are passionate advocates and have successfully obtained damages for victims including compensation for actual damages (e.g., medical costs, lost wages) as well as punitive damages designed to punish offenders.

Call us today or contact us through our online form to learn more.