On Demand Audio

A Primer on Section 1983 Police Misconduct Litigation

(1k+ reviews)

Produced on January 22, 2019

Taught by
$ 59 Civil Rights, Public Interest, and Anti-Racism Library In Stock
Get started now

$299 / year - Access to this Course and 1,500+ Lawline courses


Course Information

Time 1h 1m
Difficulty Beginner

Course Description

In this program, Jessica Massimi, a New York City-based civil rights attorney handling Section 1983 and employment discrimination cases, provides an overview of 1983 litigation against the police.

The course will provide instruction on the importance of identifying the proper parties; conditions precedent to filing suit; applicable time limitations for each claim; identifying the documents to obtain in discovery; litigating cases and taking depositions to defeat summary judgment motions in false arrest, malicious prosecution, denial of fair trial, and excessive force cases; how to defeat common defenses asserted in these cases (i.e. qualified immunity); and the differences in litigating these cases in state court versus federal court (including the differences in summary judgment motion practice and in taking depositions in federal court versus state court). Massimi will also discuss attorney's fees (when they are available and how to make your motion). Finally, the course includes a discussion of expert disclosures in federal court, and how to combat attempts to circumvent rules regarding experts.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Identify the proper defendants, claims, venue, time limitations, and conditions precedent to filing suit
  2. Review the proper documents to obtain during discovery in a basic 1983 case
  3. Depose each defendant properly
  4. Oppose summary judgment motions in state and federal court
  5. Assess the available relief with respect to each claim, including potential attorney’s fees

Credit Information

After completing this course, Lawline will report your attendance information to {{ accredMasterState.state.name }}. Please ensure your license number is filled out in your profile to ensure timely reporting. For more information, see our {{ accredMasterState.state.name }} CLE Requirements page . After completing this course, {{ accredMasterState.state.name }} attorneys self-report their attendance and CLE compliance. For more information on how to report your CLE courses, see our {{ accredMasterState.state.name }} CLE Requirements FAQ .


Jessica Massimi

Phillips & Associates

Jessica Massimi is a New York City civil rights attorney focusing on employment discrimination cases that arise out of violations of the New York City Human Rights Law, the New York State Human Rights Law, Title VII, § 1981, Americans with Disabilities Act, and Family Medical Leave Act.

Some of the cases that Jessica handles include those based on sexual harassment, pregnancy discrimination, and disability discrimination. Jessica can assist workers with claims based on Title VII. This is an anti-discrimination law that protects employees of employers with at least 15 employees from being subjected to adverse treatment based on certain protected traits, which include sex, race, national origin, and religion. Adverse treatment is defined broadly and can include actions such as termination, demotion, or a failure to promote an employee when a similarly situated employee without the protected trait is promoted. For example, an employer cannot withhold a promotion from a woman who has performed just as well as a man whom the employer promotes, just because the employee is a woman. If your employer is too small to be covered by Title VII, you can potentially bring a claim under the New York City Human Rights Law, which provides similar protections to employers with four or more employees.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal agency that is responsible for enforcing Title VII. Before you bring a discrimination claim, you must go through the process of filing a charge with the EEOC. There are strict time limits for filing your complaint, so it is best to consult an attorney right away. If you prevail in your claim against your employer, some of the available remedies may include compensatory damages, punitive damages, reinstatement, and attorneys' fees and costs.

Jessica also has tremendous experience litigating police misconduct cases against the City of New York and the New York City Police Department. Jessica believes strongly in protecting the constitutional and civil rights of New York City residents.

Jessica has a long-standing commitment to civil rights. Following her law school graduation, Jessica worked as an associate at two different New York firms, where she gained substantial experience in civil rights litigation, particularly excessive force cases involving severe injuries, false arrest, malicious prosecution, denial of fair trial, and wrongful conviction. Collectively, Jessica has managed and aggressively advanced more than 175 cases with multiple plaintiffs, taking them through initial conferences, depositions, discovery disputes, settlement conferences, fee motions, dispositive motions, and trial.

Jessica was voted a Super Lawyer rising star in the area of civil rights litigation from 2016-2018. She is a proud member of the National Police Accountability Project. Jessica is also the Chair of the Civil Rights Section of the Southern District of New York chapter of the Federal Bar Association

Jessica is admitted to the bar in New York State and the United States District Courts for Southern, Eastern, and Western Districts of New York. She has substantial experience litigating cases in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and elsewhere in New York City.

When the police overstep their authority and use excessive force while making an arrest or investigating a crime, the result can be serious injuries, permanent disability, or even a wrongful death. Excessive force means that a police officer used more force than necessary to carry out law enforcement duties. Excessive force may include police shootings, beating or slamming someone down so hard that a serious injury occurs, using a stun gun repeatedly, chemical agents and pepper spray, or using a chokehold.

The standard for excessive force is what amount of force would be used by a reasonable law enforcement officer under the same circumstances. If excessive force is found, this can lead to both criminal and civil charges brought under the Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution. A civil suit may be brought against the individual police officer as well as the City of New York.

Just as police must respect the rights of citizens, employers must respect the rights of workers to be free from discrimination and harassment in the workplace. Multiple federal laws are aimed at eliminating workplace discrimination and harassment on the basis of race, gender, pregnancy, age, national origin, disability, religion, or sexual orientation. In addition to the rights provided by federal laws, rights associated with additional protected characteristics are granted to workers in New York City and State.



Very good program, with lots of practical advice and supporting legal authority.

Stacie M.

great overview

Michael R.


Sydney O.

great job! Very useful!

Carol M.

very detailed presentation

Autumn W.

Very clear to understand.

Tracie K.

I appreciated how she explained the limitations of the seminar upfront. Great seminar.

Richard N.

I thought this was a great course. The information was invaluable.

Richard C.

Thank you. Good course.

Frances M.

Excellent course.

Michael D.

excellent case citations provided

Edward B.

thoughtful and timely presentation; good course materials

Lydia C.

Very informative

John F G.

presenter stays on point and delivers as promised.

Stephanie A.

Interesting CLE

Howard B.

Very helpful.

Karine F.

Thank you for this topic.

Steven M.

Instructor did a good job. Thank you.

Otis G.

I appreciated her talking about her own experience

Geoffrey K.

Very knowledgeable speaker and very good materials.

john l.

She was good. It helped.

Mark S.


Daniel G.

Instructor had a great outline.

kenneth k.

great materials

Carrie B.

Very clear delivery.

James M.

Thanks for a great presentation - very informative.

Tommy M.

Excellent supplementary documents

Daniel G.

Very well done course.

Tim P.

Nice Presentation.

Emanuele P.

Informative on issues I haven't come across before

karen T.

Fantastic content

David S.

Well-prepared, well-organized, and well-focused. She used her hour very well.

James E.

Another good course.

Dwight S.

Very well done.

Arthur R.

Presenter did an excellent job in presenting the material whicih is highly complexed.

Michael A.

The speaker was very effective and well prepared.

Clifford Y.

very good-- both the law and application to cases

James O.

Excellent overview.


Good presentation

Erin B.

Thanks for this course.

Houman D.

Great Speaker! I enjoy the program! Thank you!

R. Christopher R.

Very interesting seminar.

Michael J.

Great course. The instructor was very knowledgeable and the material was very relevant to my area of practice.

Load More