Constitutional Issues & Claims

Public Employee Claims

Public employees have constitutional and civil rights claims under federal laws enacted as part of the Civil Rights Act of 1871, a Reconstruction Era Civil Rights Act.

Murray Law provides counsel and legal representation to public sector employees seeking to address and remedy deprivations of their constitutional and civil rights.

Any person alleging a claim against a public sector employer, involving a violation of civil rights and/or constitutional protections, by any a state, municipal, or county governmental entity, and/or officers of an entity, must evaluate the legal immunities available to potential defendants. An immunity defense protects a defendant from liability for a specific type of claim. In the context of lawsuits against state, county, and municipal employers and officers of these employers, the Eleventh Immunity of the United States Constitution is a common defense asserted by state, county, and municipal defendants.

Individuals with potential constitutional and civil rights claims relating to public sector employment are served by consulting with counsel early in the process to gain an understanding of their potential rights, claims, and remedies.

Section 1983 Claim

Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 [Section 1983], individuals have the right to assert a claim seeking to enforce rights provided by the United States Constitution, in the context of government employment.

Examples of Section 1983 claims include:

  • A violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. A person may assert discrimination based on race or gender, including racial and sexual harassment.
  • A violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. A person may assert that he or she has been deprived of property or liberty in employment without due process of law.
  • A violation of the rights protected by the First Amendment, including violations of the freedoms of speech, expression, association, and religion, in the context of public employment.

In a lawsuit asserting a Section 1983 claim, the claimant may seek monetary damages for lost wages, emotional pain and suffering, and an award of punitive damages. A prevailing party claim may recover an award of reasonable attorney fees.

Section 1985 Claims

Section 1985, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. Section 1985, provides a cause of action for damages caused by conspiracies aimed at injuring a person in his/her person or property, or to deny him or her a federal right or privilege. Any person injured or deprived of a right by a violation of Section 1985, may have a claim for recovery of damages.

Section 1985(2)

A Section 1985(2) claim addresses conspiracies aimed at obstructing justice by intimidating a party, witness, or juror, through impeding, hindering, obstructing, or defeating the due course of justice.

A Section 1985(2) claim may be asserted against persons who conspire to impede, hinder, obstruct, or defeat, the due course of justice where the persons conspire to:

  1. Deny to any citizen the equal protection of the laws; or
  2. Injure him or her, or his or her property, for lawfully enforcing or attempting to enforce the right of any person, or class of persons, to the equal protection of law.
Section 1985(3)

The general elements of a Section 1985(3) claim are:

  1. A conspiracy;
  2. For the purpose of depriving, either directly or indirectly, any person or class of persons the equal protection of the laws;
  3. Any act in furtherance of the conspiracy; and
  4. Causing another person injury to person or property.
Section 1986 Claim

Section 1986 is a companion claim to a Section 1985 claim. Section 1986 provides a claim for damages against any person:

  1. Who had knowledge of the wrongs in a Section 1985 conspiracy and the power to prevent the acts;
  2. Failed to prevent the wrongful acts from being committed; and thereby
  3. Caused injury to the claimant’s person or property or deprived the claimant of having or exercising any right or privilege of a citizen of the United States.

Murray Law seeks to provide public employees with meaningful counsel and effective representation concerning violations and deprivations of constitutional and civil rights. Please call Steven Murray at 720-600-6642.

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