If you have been deprived of your civil rights, you may have a claim under Title 42, Section 1983 of the United States Code (42 U.S.C. 1983), often referred to simply as Section 1983. This law allows citizens to bring claims for violations of their constitutional and legal rights against government employees and officials, including law enforcement. If you believe your civil rights have been violated, speak with a Michigan civil rights attorney at NachtLaw. We can help you understand your legal options and pursue a 42 U.S.C. 1983 action. Contact our attorneys to discuss your case in a confidential consultation.
Higher Education University Due Process Claims
Whether you are a tenured professor or a graduate student, federal laws protect all university employees with basic due process rights. Any job termination must be based on a legitimate basis. At most universities, a so-called Disciplinary Review Committee (DRC) is responsible for preventing illegal job discrimination. If a DRC process is allowed to go forward without basic due process, federal and state law may provide a remedy for arbitrary and capricious decision-making.
Michigan Police Brutality And Excessive Force
If you believe that law enforcement has used excessive force or abused their power, or if you have been injured by police or another law enforcement officer in any way, you may have a claim for police brutality. This type of claim in particular allows you to seek redress if law enforcement used excessive force or abused their power during an arrest, stop or another part of their job. Excessive force could include violent actions such as assault or shootings. Claims may also be brought against law enforcement for other abuses of power such as corruption, false arrests, malicious prosecution, abuse of process and discrimination. Determining the permissibility of excessive force in such cases is dependent on the custodial status of the alleged victim. The possibilities are as follows:
- A free citizen
- The victim is a pretrial detainee — someone who has not yet been convicted but is believed to have committed a crime with probable cause
- A convicted criminal
For pretrial detainees, protection is provided by the 14th Amendment’s right to substantive due process. Incarcerated convicts derive their protection from the Eighth Amendment’s clause regarding cruel and unusual punishment. Free citizens are protected by the Fourth amendment’s search and seizure standard, as well as the 14th Amendment’s guarantees of liberty and “bodily integrity.” Lawsuits may be brought under 42 U.S.C. 1983. In determining whether an officer has used excessive force, courts additionally consider the following factors:
- Severity of the crime
- Whether the suspect poses an immediate threat to the safety of officers or others
- Whether he or she is actively resisting arrest or attempting to evade arrest by flight
- To what extent the officer knew, or should have known, the suspect’s rights were being violated
If you are concerned that police or law enforcement have abused their power or authority, or used excessive force, contact our attorneys at NachtLaw for a consultation. We can review your claim to determine if you are entitled to appropriate compensation for your injuries or other damages caused by police misconduct.
Other Civil Rights Constitutional Violations
42 U.S.C. 1983 protects individuals from any person who acts under the “color of law.” In addition to police, this could include other government agents, officials and employees as well as university employees and teachers. The law protects every citizen from violations of civil rights such as:
- Racial profiling and other forms of discrimination
- Harassment and verbal abuse
- Assault and other violent acts
- Violations of free speech and First Amendment rights
- Prosecutorial misconduct
NachtLaw — By Your Side
The attorneys at our firm will stand by your side and work to protect your civil and constitutional rights according to 42 U.S.C. 1983. Contact our Michigan civil rights attorneys to set up a consultation. With offices in Ann Arbor, Birmingham and Traverse City, NachtLaw serves clients throughout Michigan.