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This casebook emphasizes important circuit court decisions together with relevant Supreme Court case law. This enables students to see how principles articulated in Supreme Court decisions are implemented by lower courts. Constitutional Torts also addresses affirmative duties, constitutional tort actions in state courts, and attorney's fees. Further, this book is organized around the statutory language of section 1983, thereby driving home the crucial distinction between prima facie cases and constitutional tort immunities and defenses.
The Fourth Edition covers Supreme Court decisions from the past several years, including Minneci v. Pollard (chapter 1), Lane v. Franks and Plumhoff v. Rickard (chapter 3), Connick v. Thompson (chapter 5), Rehberg v. Paulk (chapter 7), Carroll v. Carman, Reichle v. Howards, Ashcroft v. Al-Kidd, Camreta v. Greene, Tolan v. Cotton, Ortiz v. Johnson and Filarsky v. Delia (chapter 8), Lefemine v. Wideman and Perdue v. Kenny A. (chapter 12). The circuit courts have been active over the past few years. We have extensively revised the notes to take account of the recent developments. This edition also welcomes Fred Smith as a coauthor.
Constitutional Torts studies circuit and district court decisions as crucial to understanding the developing law of § 1983, because (a) they show how general principles of law pronounced by the Supreme Court are actually applied; (b) the Supreme Court rarely visits some important aspects of the doctrine; and (c) in this dynamic area of the law, the lower courts are the first to identify new issues and new ways of approaching old problems.
At the same time, the materials continue to emphasize the "tort" aspects of § 1983 litigation, especially with regard to affirmative duties, causation, official immunity, and damages. These materials illuminate both the similarities and differences between constitutional torts and analogous principles developed in the common law tort setting. By studying both tort and constitutional principles, students learn how to argue for and against the application of common law tort principles to constitutional tort issues, and will come to understand both the theoretical and practical consequences of the constitutional underpinnings of the litigation.
Constitutional Torts provides a thorough treatment of compensatory damages, punitive damages, injunctive relief, and attorneys' fees. These materials not only explain the basic doctrine, but explore their strategic implications on the conduct of litigation.
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