Civil Rights Lawsuits: Section 1983
For the most part, civil rights lawsuits are brought under 42 U.S. Code § 1983, or as it is often more simply known, Section 1983. This section of federal law gives private individuals the right to sue government entities for certain constitutional violations. Some of the most notable examples include:
- Fourth Amendment Violations: This includes claims involving false arrests, unlawful detentions, and other forms of serious misconduct by law enforcement officers.
- Eighth Amendment Violations: This includes claims of cruel and unusual punishment, such as police or prison guard brutality.
- Fourteenth Amendment Violations: This includes claims in which an individual was unlawfully deprived of life, liberty, or property.
In many cases, Section 1983 is the only legal avenue available for victims and their families. To be clear, you do not have to be a U.S. citizen to be eligible to bring legal action under Section 1983.
Civil Rights Violations
Police misconduct cases are among the most common type of civil rights lawsuit. Police brutality is a serious problem in Oregon and throughout the United States. In far too many cases, law enforcement officers cause avoidable injuries or fatalities because they use excessive, unjustifiable force.
For example, in 2014, a 40-year-old man was awarded more than $560,000 in compensation after compelling evidence emerged that Portland Police Bureau (PPB) officers repeatedly punched and tasered him. Tragically, police misconduct can often result in deaths. In 2017, U.S. law enforcement officers killed more than 1,100 people. It is argued that many of those deaths could have been avoided if proper care had been taken.
Many Section 1983 lawsuits also involve prison abuse. Jailers have a basic responsibility to provide reasonably secure conditions for prisoners. Yet, in far too many cases, prisoners face serious safety risks. Prisoners may be injured by guards, sexually abused by prison staff, left in dangerous situations, or unlawfully deprived of necessary medical care. As an example, if your loved one dies in jail because they did not receive much needed medical treatment or attention, the government may be legally liable for that death. A full investigation must be conducted.
Sexual Misconduct & Child Abuse
The government is also responsible for any individual, child or adult, who is within their care. If a child is in a public school, a special education program, a juvenile center, or in a foster home, the government entity that is responsible for them has a duty to ensure that they are protected from harm. If you or your child has been the victim of abuse, sexual misconduct, molestation, or rape, please contact an experienced Portland, OR civil rights attorney immediately.
Civil Rights Violations: Wrongful Death Actions
At Johnston Law Firm, P.C., our Portland wrongful death attorney has extensive experience handling complex wrongful death lawsuits. If your family member was killed as a result of a civil rights violation, whether because of a law enforcement officer’s excessive force, a jailer’s negligence, child abuse, or any other form of misconduct, you need a skilled attorney by your side.
We understand that nothing will be able to make up for your loss. At the same time, we know how important it is to get justice for your family. Government officials and entities must be held accountable under the law, and your family needs to be able to recover the maximum available wrongful death compensation.
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