IMG_1225Experienced Mississippi Section 1983 Lawyers

The lawyers at Danks, Miller & Cory have experience representing both plaintiffs and defendants in cases involving alleged 1983 violations.

What is 42 U.S.C. Section 1983?

42 U.S.C. Section 1983 (commonly referred to as “Section 1983”) is the federal law that makes it possible for an individual to bring a civil case against state and local governments, and their employees, for violating your constitutionally protected rights.

“State Action” and “Color of Law”

There are generally two initial requirements for a Section 1983 claim. First, the violation must be the result of state action. A potential plaintiff must show that their rights were violated as a result of state action. State, Municipal and County employees are state actors for purposes of Section 1983. Therefore, a police officer who uses excessive force is a state actor.

The second requirement is that the wrongful action must have been carried out under “color of law.” An action is “under color of law” when the actor takes the action while clothed in their official authority. Acting under color of law can be contrasted from a purely personal altercation that is unrelated to the alleged actor’s official authority or duties.


Section 1983 claims may be brought in either federal or state court. The right to file in federal court can be an advantage for a plaintiff when the case is high profile or political.

Fee Shifting

Under 42 U.S.C. Section 1988, parties who prevail under Section 1983 are entitled to reasonable attorneys’ fees. This fee shifting provision often makes it possible for the injured person to pursue cases which would otherwise not be cost-effective.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages may be recoverable in Section 1983 claims.

Qualified Immunity

State actors are only liable for violations of constitutional rights where those rights are “clearly established.” Overcoming the defense of qualified immunity is frequently one of the biggest hurdles in a Section 1983 case.

Speak With A Mississippi Civil Rights Lawyer

To discuss your legal needs and how we can help, contact us by email or call us at 601-957-3101. We offer free consultations on most cases.

Our office is located in downtown Jackson, just off I-55. Behind the building, parking is available.