On Demand Audio

An Introduction to §1983 Civil Rights Pleading Practice

(794 reviews)

Produced on January 23, 2017

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$ 59 Constitutional Law, Civil Rights, and Public Interest Law In Stock
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Course Information

Time 60 minutes
Difficulty Beginner

Course Description

Following the Supreme Court’s decisions in Bell Atlantic v. Twombly and Ashcroft v. Iqbal, the former federal “notice" pleading standard has been supplanted by so-called “plausibility” pleading. This new standard presents unique challenges in the civil rights context, where government actors may hold critical sources of information that may not be available to litigants in advance of initiating suit. Municipalities and other state actors have been quick to adapt to this favorable new standard, and FRCP 12 motion practice is common in §1983 litigation today.

In this course, we will explore the intricacies of plausibility pleading in the context of §1983 actions, and give practitioners an introduction to the claims, defenses, and core constitutional concepts that underlay §1983 litigation in both police and corrections cases. We will explore critical differences between §1983 practice and more conventional common law litigation, and identify policy concerns that attorneys should be aware of in §1983 practice.

This course, presented by Samuel B. Cohen, noted New York §1983 practitioner, will provide practitioners with tools to create durable, persuasive §1983 pleadings that have the best chances of surviving FRCP 12 review, while preserving critical issues for discovery against both individual and supervisory defendants.

Learning Objectives: 
  1. Introduction to practical “plausibility” pleading for §1983 practitioners
  2. Overview of common §1983 claims and defenses

  3. Skills for “Rule 12 Proofing” §1983 pleadings
  4. Explore policy considerations that may be relevant to §1983 practice

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 .


Samuel B. Cohen

Samuel B. Cohen Law

Samuel B. Cohen is an attorney and counselor at law, admitted to practice in the State Courts of New York, the Federal Southern and Eastern District Courts for New York, and the Federal Second Circuit Court of Appeals. He received his Juris Doctor degree from Brooklyn Law School, and a Bachelor of Arts in the Social Sciences from Hampshire College.

Samuel began his legal career as a litigation paralegal at the law firm Jaffe & Asher LLP, and served as the legal affairs director for the New York Dance Parade during law school, where he conducted independent studies in intellectual property issues, and received an award for research work in mixed for-profit/non-profit entities. Hired first as a clerk and then as an associate by prominent New York attorney Wylie M. Stecklow, Samuel discovered an aptitude and passion for civil rights litigation, and quickly rose to prominence among the civil rights bar.

Samuel lives with his wife, their devoted Boston Terrier “The Frances,” and two black cats, “Biggie” and “Puck.” He is an avid traveler and reader who enjoys finding interesting street art and exploring new places.


Michael N.


Scott T.

Not the course I expected it to be! However, it was still VERY interesting and informative, and Mr. Cohen is a truly excellent presenter of the material.

John S.

This speaker was excellent.

David A.

I enjoyed this and very helpful

Lynne T.

Thank you

Vera S.


Jamel O.

Great presenter!

Mark S. P.

clear and concise

James R.

Thank you. Was a good and informative program.

Tommy M.

Excellent and engaging discussion

Timothy D.


John M.

Enjoyed the presentation!

Steve S.

Good course

amy l.

Best CLE I've watched in a long time, thank you!

John M.

Excellent speaker, excellent materials. Very informative.

Elisa A.

Narrow topic, but well-presented and informative.

Marvin S.

very good

Robert K.

Excellent and very helpfull

Amy S.

Very clear & detailed presentation.

Barry R.

Excellent program

Philip R. G.

Excellent speaker

Ronna H.

I highly recommend Mr. Cohen as a seminar lecturer in this very difficult-to-summarize field.

Suzanne M.

Great speaker, good perspectives.

Daniel O.

Good presentation.

Heather R.

Cohen is always an excellent teacher.

John N.

very informative

Charleen J.

Really good speaker.

Raymond G.

Excellent speaker

Joseph L.

Outstanding course. Very useful, great speaker.

Robert P.


Julie A. B.

A lively and insightful introduction to §1983 civil rights pleading theory and practice. The program is comparable to observing the images from the Hubble telescope: it’s the night sky we think we know so well, and it’s something we’ve never seen before. An essential program that may be the difference between knowing something about pleading practice and succeeding in this field. As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. Cohen, a noted and respected New York §1983 practitioner, continues to sharpen me.

Michael S.

Excellent presentation!

Maria B.

Very informative and interesting.

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