On Demand Audio

An Introduction To Qualified Immunity In §1983 Civil Rights Litigation

(642 reviews)

Produced on January 16, 2018

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$ 89 Civil Rights and Public Interest Law In Stock
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Course Information

Time 60 minutes
Difficulty Intermediate

Course Description

In many circumstances where it is undisputed that an individual’s constitutional rights have been violated, constitutional tortfeasors may nevertheless be shielded from liability by the doctrine of qualified immunity. In principle, the doctrine of qualified immunity shields governmental actors from exposures that may arise from the good faith execution of their sworn duties. In practice, qualified immunity may be used by defendants to defeat otherwise meritorious cases on picayune technicalities of pleading and proof.

In this course, we will explore the contours of the qualified immunity doctrine as applied today in Federal Courts, and provide guidance on how to assess, plead and develop effective §1983 cases that are optimized to overcome potential qualified immunity defenses. We will discuss examples of qualified immunity defenses invoked by law enforcement in various cases, and provide talking points for explaining the complexities of qualified immunity to laypersons. The program, presented by Samuel B. Cohen, noted New York §1983 practitioner, will provide practitioners with key insights into qualified immunity issues in §1983 litigation, and tips for practical engagement on qualified immunity issues in a variety of contexts.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Introduce the qualified immunity doctrine
  2. Gain an overview of qualified immunity applications over time
  3. Review recent jurisprudence and scholarship on qualified immunity
  4. Provide a framework for assessing and addressing qualified immunity issues arising in §1983 litigation practice

Credit Information

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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.


Richard G.

excellent presentation by an real expert

John Jeffrey M.


Paul N.

Prof. Cohen is one of your very best presenters.

Keith B.

Very well explained and presented. Knowledgeable Professor in this field of law. Quite excellent.

Kastle L.

I took the CLE in preparation of a QI Motion. Program provided a useful framework.

Rodrick W.

I would highly recommend this course. It's one of the best presentations that I have seen on Lawline in the civil rights area. Would look for other courses by this instructor.

Joey J.

Very knowledgeable!!! Well done !!!

margaret o.

Samuel Cohen is a fabulous instructor.

Bonnie H.

Good introduction

Donald B.

Excellent presentation.

Joyce K.

Really excellent grasp of the material!

Patrick K.


francis m.

He was great. I've lost cases on immunity in the past and his explanations really made the landscape clearer.

James T.

Some examples of objections special jury questions

Ilyssa F.

Sam Cohen is great!

Darryl B.

I like this one. More civil rights courses, please.

Anita W.

Glad I found this site!

Rebecca W.

I thought the instructor was excellent.

Carolyn P.


Marla T.

Interesting and well presented, Thanks

Christopher M.

The speaker did a fantastic job. I hope he has more videos on Lawline.

Angie R.

Thorough, easy to follow, highly recommend

Jeffrey H.


Lisa W.

Written materials are useful. Specifically enjoy Nathan Burney's qualified immunity cartoon.

Kathleen P.

Thank you for ending on time!

Kerry L.

Knowledgable presenter. Cracked a couple of funny jokes too.

Dennis G.

Very well done!

Kathleen G.

Excellent presentation.

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