On Demand

An Introduction To Qualified Immunity In §1983 Civil Rights Litigation


Created on January 16, 2018




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

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