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Section 1983


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A local government is said to have an unconstitutional policy when it fails to train its employees, and the failure to train amounts to deliberate indifference to an obvious need for such training, and the failure train will likely result in the employee making a wrong decision.[28]  An unconstitutional policy may also exist if an isolated action of a government employee is dictated by a "final policymaker,"[29] or if the authorized policymaker approves a subordinate's decision and the basis for it.[30]  However, a supervisor can only be liable in his individual capacity if he directly participates in causing the harm--relying upon respondeat superior is insufficient.[31]  The Supreme Court has rejected the notion that a plaintiff must meet a heightened pleading standard to state a claim against a municipality for an unconstitutional custom or policy.

So, if a sheriff admitted under oath that he had just returned from "training" in the MMA but never read the law? Or if this same group of LEO met in the PA's office prior to the unwarranted search and authorizing it fully, would that be "participation"?

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Close. Section 1983 is when a unit of government, through it's deliberate indifference to the substantial needs of a citizen, violates their substantive constitutional rights. It is a VERY HIGH standard. You practically have to show deliberate intent to violate a person's rights by failing to properly train, or having policies etc. Think Bill-bad and his MM policies.


The leading case on 1983 (at least back in the day when I was still practicing) was a prison rape case. They put a transexual who was halfway through a sex change- she/he/it had full breasts, an hourglass figure etc. They put her/him/it into the general prison population and stood back while the rapes and beatings commenced. THAT is deliberate indifference.


However, sitting at the guard station watching TV with your feet up on the console blocking the closed circuit prison TV that your are supposed to be monitoring while ignoring the screams of a rape victim are "merely allegations of negligence" and the government is immune from negligence or even gross negligence.


Hope that helps...

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