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Civil Rights Litigation Part V: State Action by Private Parties

(820 reviews)

Produced on July 29, 2016

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$ 89 Constitutional, Litigation, Civil Rights, and Public Interest In Stock
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Course Information

Time 62 minutes
Difficulty Advanced

Course Description

In this course, the fifth of a multi-part series on litigating civil rights cases, Ameer Benno, a New York City-based civil rights attorney, discusses the circumstances under which private parties can be held to be state actors under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He covers the tests for determining whether a private party is acting with the authority of state law, the doctrine of respondeat superior, and types of damages available against private entities that are held to be state actors under Section 1983.  

Learning Objectives:

  1. Review the elements of a Section 1983 claim
  2. Understand the state action requirement under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
  3. Identify the various tests for determining whether a private party is acting with the authority of state law
  4. Grasp to what extent the doctrine of respondeat superior applies to private entities that are deemed to be state actors under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
  5. Recognize the types of damages available against private entities that are held to be state actors under Section 1983

Credit Information

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Ameer Benno

Block O'Toole & Murphy, LLP

An experienced trial and appellate lawyer, Ameer Benno litigates civil rights and personal injury matters for Block O'Toole & Murphy, LLP. Ameer takes great pride in seeking justice for those who have been injured by the wrongdoing of others. His personal injury cases include premises liability, motor vehicle accidents, product liability, and construction accident cases. In his civil rights practice, Mr. Benno champions the rights of individuals who have been subjected to governmental abuses of authority. These cases range from police misconduct matters to prisoner rights cases, from unjust conviction claims to employment discrimination matters.

Ameer began his legal career as an Assistant District Attorney at the esteemed Manhattan District Attorney's Office, where he served for several years in both the trial division and the appeals bureau. Upon leaving government service, Mr. Benno worked at premier civil litigation law firms where he focused on representing plaintiffs in personal injury and civil rights matters in both state and federal courts.

Mr. Benno is admitted to the New York and Connecticut state bars, and is admitted to practice in the federal courts of the Southern, Eastern, Northern, and Western Districts of New York, as well as to the United States Courts of Appeals for the Second and Third Circuits. He is also admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court.

From 2006 through 2012, Mr. Benno was an adjunct professor at New York Law School, where he taught Appellate Advocacy and Legal Reasoning and Writing. Mr. Benno regularly lectures for bar associations and continuing legal education providers on topics having to do with trial practice, civil rights litigation, Constitutional law, and the U.S. Supreme Court.

Mr. Benno has been named to The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 and has been named a New York Metro Super Lawyer every year since 2012 in the area of civil rights law. Mr. Benno has also been selected for membership in the National Association of Distinguished Counsel as one of the “Nation’s Top Attorneys.” These are invitation-only organizations composed of the premier trial lawyers from each state who meet stringent qualifications. Mr. Benno is rated 10.0, the highest rating given, by the online lawyer rating service Avvo.com.

Ameer serves on the Civil Rights Committee, Federal Courts Committee, and Appellate Law Committee of the Nassau County Bar Association. He is a member of the National Police Accountability Project, the First Amendment Lawyers Association, the New York State Trial Lawyers Association (where he chairs the Civil Right Committee), and the Brooklyn Bar Association. He sits on the board of directors of the New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers and is vice president of the Nassau Lawyers’ Association of Long Island.

In addition to his membership in professional organizations, Mr. Benno is a civic leader. He is the president of the Merrick-Bellmore Jewish Community Council, the board of directors of the Merrick Jewish Centre, and as a member of the Nassau County Police Commissioner's Community Council for the 19th Legislative District.  He is a member of the Nassau County Police Reserves, the Bellmore Kiwanis, the Bellmore Lions Club, and the Bellmore Historical Society.  He proudly serves as a First Lieutenant in the New York Guard. 

Ameer is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins University and Cornell Law School. He lives in Bellmore, NY with his wife, Gayle, and three daughters.


Marc G.

One of the best Lawline presenters.

William B.

Mr. Benno is an excellent CLE presenter.

Mayo B.

Great course

Amy M.

Great speaker!

Samuel W.

One of the better presenters. High Energy

Jake R.

Excellent presenter - dynamic, methodical, organized and he speaks in plain English, which even lawyers appreciate!

Benjamin P.

Extremely strong, organized and informative presentation in a complex area.

Katherine P.

Action - packed presentation! Well done.

Bernard R.

Outstanding lecturer. I may not practice in Fed. Ct. but this mat.l allows me to talk about it intelligently.

Shannon P.

Great course - very engaging. I would absolutely take another course led by Ameer. Thank you!

Diane E.

lecture was informative

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