This casebook provides the most complete treatment available of constitutional tort actions under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Bivens. The elaborate doctrines of official immunity are examined in detail, as is the possibility of direct governmental liability under Monell v. Dept. of Social Services. The Fourth Edition also explores the relation of § 1983 to the Eleventh Amendment, qualified immunity, and the award of attorney’s fees. It also provides an introduction to actions under other Reconstruction Civil Rights Acts (§§ 1981, 1982, and 1985), under modern statutes such as Title VII and Title IX (which add sex discrimination to previously prohibited grounds of discrimination), and to structural reform litigation (usually undertaken in the form of class actions).

Imprint: Foundation Press
Series: University Casebook Series
Publication Date: 09/10/2018

John C. Jeffries Jr., University of Virginia School of Law

Pamela S. Karlan, Stanford Law School

Peter W. Low, University of Virginia School of Law

George A. Rutherglen, University of Virginia School of Law


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This edition reflects developments since publication of the Third Edition in 2013. Three of the most important are the Supreme Court’s recent explication of the defense of qualified immunity in Kisela v. Hughes, the developing application of laws against sex discrimination to discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and transgender status, and the varying regulatory guidance on claims of sexual harassment and sexual assault offered by the Obama and Trump Administrations to colleges and universities. Other important decisions of the Supreme Court decisions added to this edition are Van de Kamp v. Goldstein (2009) (on the scope of prosecutorial immunity); Ashcroft v. Iqbal (2009) (on the pleading requirements for civil rights cases); Pearson v. Callahan (2009) (on the sequence of decision in qualified immunity cases); Woodford v. Ngo (2006) (on exhaustion of state remedies as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act); Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes (2011) (on employment discrimination class actions under Title VII); and Brown v. Plata (2009) (on prison reform litigation). The continuing changes in civil rights law, which have made legal doctrine both more detailed and more challenging, necessitated a new edition to keep the treatment of this subject current.

Learn more about this series.