A broad range of persons or entities may sue or be sued under the federal Civil Rights Acts. The federal Civil Rights Acts are used to enforce federal statutes and the United States Constitution against persons acting under the authority of state or local law. 42 U.S.C. § 1983 is the principal method used to enforce federal law and Constitutional guarantees against state and local officials and government. For example, a case brought under the Civil Rights Acts may allege that a person or entity has violated the plaintiff’s Constitutional rights to freedom of speech or religion under the First Amendment or equal treatment under the law under the Equal Protection Clause. In addition, certain employment discrimination claims may be brought against private persons and entities under 42 U.S.C. § 1981.
Civil rights cases employ a unique body of law that requires critical analysis and creative strategy. For example, allegations of wrongdoing in public employment or public contracts may give rise to a civil rights lawsuit and resolution of an immunities question may be the determinative issue in the case.
Rogers & Hardin attorneys have a long history of representing an array of clients in cases brought under the Civil Rights Acts, whether it be on behalf of a local government, agency, public official, private corporation or individual. Recently, Rogers & Hardin attorneys represented a local governmental entity and several public officials in a highly publicized jury trial in federal court involving alleged violations of 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981, 1983 and 1985. The majority of claims were dismissed prior to trial, including claims of conspiracy to violate the Civil Rights Acts and violation of the First Amendment and a largely successful verdict was obtained at trial.
In addition to actions under the federal Civil Rights Acts, Rogers & Hardin attorneys have represented clients in cases involving the Georgia Constitution. For example, a team of Rogers & Hardin attorneys successfully represented Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker in a suit brought by the Governor seeking to compel the Attorney General to dismiss an appeal pending in the United States Supreme Court. The case involved separation of powers issues.