Section 1983 Claims

Atlanta Section 1983 Attorneys

Tough representation when your civil rights are violated in Georgia


Section 1983 of Title 42 of the US Code (the Civil Rights Act of 1871) allows everyday citizens to hold government entities accountable when that entity, or someone acting on behalf of a governmental entity, violates their rights. If your Constitutional rights are violated, Section 1983 gives you an opportunity to seek damages for the harms and losses you sustained. 

At Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP, our Atlanta civil rights attorneys have a strong record of successfully helping individuals when their Constitutional and statutory rights are violated. We’re ready to challenge the police, the federal government, the state of Georgia, federal agencies, and state agencies when they violate your civil rights. We will explain when, where, and how you can file a Section 1983 claim – and what damages you can seek.

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What are the requirements for filing a Section 1983 claim?


Section 1983 is a short statute that states:

Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress…

Who can file a Section 1983 claim in Atlanta?


Many Section 1983 civil rights claims involve police misconduct, but Section 1983 claims can also include employee rights, and many other types of civil rights. Section 1983 is the procedural part of your claim. The specific Constitutional provision or law is the reason you can file your claim. The key requirements for filing a Section 1983 complaint are:

  • Someone subjected the victim (the person filing the complaint) to conduct “under the color of state law.”
  • The conduct deprived that person of rights, privileges, or immunities guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution or federal law.

Who are the defendants in a Section 1983 claim?

Atlanta Section 1983 Attorneys

Our Atlanta Section 1983 attorneys file lawsuits against anyone who qualifies as a “person” and that person violated your Constitutional rights. Who can be held responsible under Section 1983 is complicated. Generally, a state (such as Georgia) or the federal government cannot be named as defendants because of the doctrine of sovereign immunity, which essentially means the government cannot be sued without its own permission. State agents, however, can be personally sued. 

However, local and municipal governments can be named as defendants. Employees and agents of local governments can be named as defendants in their personal and official capacities. Employees of Georgia (and other states) can be named as defendants personally. 

Counties and local municipalities including cities, towns, and villages can be named as defendants. So, too, can law enforcement personnel, probation officers, prison guards, and elected officials.

What does the phrase “under color of law” mean?

“Color of law” applies when a person is exercising his/her authority (granted by the government) and the conduct appears as if the government authorized it, even if the person is abusing their authority. Generally, employment is not the only factor. A person who isn’t a government employee may be acting under color of state law.

Some of the signs, for example, that an officer was acting under color of state law, include displaying a police badge, stating they’re a police officer, showing a gun, or acting like an arrest is being made. Our Atlanta Section 1983 lawyers have the experience and skills to show the people who deprived you of your rights were acting under the color of state law.

What types of Section 1983 claims do your Atlanta attorneys handle?

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Most Section 1983 claims are based on a violation of your US Constitutional rights:

  • The First Amendment protects your right to freedom of speech, press, assembly, petition, and religion.
  • The Fourth Amendment protects you from unreasonable searches and seizures, warrants issued without probable cause, and excessive force during an arrest.
  • The Fifth Amendment protects your right not to self-incriminate yourself and your private property from being taken by the government unless it’s for a fair price.
  • The Eighth Amendment protects you from cruel and unusual punishment and excessive bail.
  • The Fourteenth Amendment provides for due process and equal protection.

Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP represents individuals whose Constitutional rights have been violated in any way. Some of the types of claims we handle include:

  • The use of excessive force or unreasonable force by the police
  • A random search of your home without a warrant
  • Violations of your due process or equal protection rights
  • Malicious prosecution
  • Violations of your right to assemble, protest, or otherwise engage in protected speech
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What remedies and damages can I seek in a Section 1983 claim?


Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP seeks all the damages Section 1983 and the corresponding federal laws permit including:

  • Compensation for your medical bills
  • Lost wages and lost benefits
  • Pain and suffering
  • Injunctive relief
  • Legal fees and costs
  • Punitive damages (when applicable)

Please know that some officials such as prosecutors, judges, and state legislators may be immune from Section 1983 lawsuits. Some defendants may be able to argue that they are not liable provided certain conditions apply, such as that your rights weren’t actually violated or that a reasonable officer would not have known that his or her conduct violated your rights.

Is there a time limit for filing a Section 1983 claim?

There are time limits for filing your Section 1983 claim that depend on various factors such as the type of wrongful conduct. The best course of action is to contact our Atlanta civil rights attorneys as soon as possible.

Do you have a Section 1983 attorney near me?

Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP is based in Atlanta. Our law office is located at 600 Peachtree St. NE, Suite 3900. We also speak with clients by phone and through video consultations by appointment. We proudly serve clients throughout Georgia, including in Athens, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, and Savannah.

Our Atlanta Section 1983 attorneys are respected by former employees, law firms, and legal rating organizations such as The Best Law Firms 2022, Super Lawyers®, AV Preeminent® Rating by Martindale-Hubbell®, and Georgia Trend Legal Elite for our strong record of success fighting for civil rights victims.

Call our Atlanta civil rights attorneys to learn more about Section 1983 claims

The police and other government officials have a duty to respect your civil rights. When those rights are violated, Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP is ready to challenge the government officials, the municipalities, and governmental agencies for violating your rights. We seek compensation for your financial and personal damages. To schedule a consultation with an Atlanta civil rights lawyer, call us or contact us today.