On Demand Audio

Law Enforcement Liability Under Section 1983: Critical Steps for the Trial Lawyer

(691 reviews)

Produced on April 11, 2019

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Course Information

Time 1h 31m
Difficulty Intermediate

Course Description

Whether you are on the plaintiff’s or the defense side, you must engage in critical decision making through the life of a Section 1983 case (and any case for that matter). Presenter Wayne Beyer, who is a  litigator, author, presenter, and former administrative appeals judge, will prepare you for the challenge. This practical webinar will take you through a high exposure death case and walk you through the fifteen critical decisions you and your opponent will have to make, including:

  • Case selection for the plaintiff

  • Discovery issues and expert retention for both sides

  • Timing and contents for dispositive motions

  • Best time to talk settlement

  • Pretrial motions on evidentiary issues

  • Selection of a jury that favors your side

  • Presentation and cross-examination of key witnesses

  • Winning a closing argument

  • Qualified immunity issue to the judge and jury

  • Structure of the special verdict form

  • Post-trial motion if you need to file one

  • Fee petition for the prevailing plaintiff

  • Background materials, checklists, tips, and forms to use in your practice

Learning Objectives:
  1. Examine the critical decisions that will need to be made during a Section 1983 case
  2. Acquire the skills you need to effectively navigate many of the pre- and post-trial issues you will encounter
  3. Identify best practices for success during trial, including how to conduct jury selection, discuss settlement, examine key witnesses, and deliver your closing argument
  4. Review the various forms you will need to use during the life of the trial

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 .


Wayne C. Beyer is a litigator, author, presenter, and former administrative appeals judge. He has been lead counsel in over 300 police misconduct cases, including dozens of jury trials, involving Fourth Amendment excessive force, false arrest, illegal search, fatal shootings, positional asphyxia, cell suicide, pursuits, failure to render medical assistance, failure to protect, First Amendment, malicious prosecution, and wrongful conviction. Beyer was an assistant attorney general for the District of Columbia (previously called assistant corporation counsel) and outside counsel to New Hampshire’s Property and Liability Insurance Trust. He has been a presenter at national programs for Georgetown University Law Center, Defense Research Institute, the American Bar Association and the Federal Judicial Center for District and Magistrate Judges, and more recently for numerous webinar providers. Beyer is the author of law review and magazine articles on police misconduct, including the 1,540-page treatise and handbook, Police Misconduct: A Practitioner’s Guide to Section 1983, available from Juris Publishing at http://www.jurispub.com/ Bookstore/United-States/Police-Misconduct.html. He is a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, National Sheriffs Association, and Police Executive Research Forum. He was an associate and partner at prominent New Hampshire law firms; chief of staff U.S. General Services Administration; and he rendered 750 final decisions on employment and labor issues for the Executive Branch of the United States Government as member, chairman, chief judge, U.S. Department of Labor Administrative Review Board and member Federal Labor Relations Authority. Beyer holds degrees from Dartmouth College, Harvard University, and Georgetown University Law Center.


Thomas M.



Knowledgeable on the law, and had great jury trial perspectives and suggestions!

Gary M.

Great guide to handling a 1983 case. Great examples. Easy to follow.

Joshua E.

loved the walkthrough of the presentation using the starting hypothetical.

Vasiliki N.

Very timely topic and information

Edward B.

very thorough presentation - enjoyed it a great deal - exceptional

Robert L.

Very comprehensive presentation of evidence and procedure in law enforcement liability trials under 42 U.S.C. sec. 1983

Rafael P.

Excelllent presentation.

stephen p.

Excellent Presentation!

Heather W.

Excellent and practical.

Bobby R.

One of the best CLE's I have attended

Simon Z.

Superb course with loads of content

Craig B.

Great ethics course for Pa and NYC attorneys; enjoyed immensley!

Joseph T.

Excellent presentation.

Carl K.

Exceptionally strong and qualified presenter. Thank you!

Christine D.

Engaging speaker - the 90 minutes went by fast

Anne M.

This course was great and attorney Beyer is brilliant. I will consider buying his book!!1!

Cynthia B.


Grant C.

Excellent summary

Melody E.

I liked the examples

Glenn T.

He was an exquisitely good speaker! Best I've seen all year and probably in several years! A man worth meeting in person.

David W.

Excellent presentation.

Joey J.

Great info

James E H.

Mr. Beyer's presentation was excellent! I have litigated several 1983 claims and am thrilled to have additional resources. Highly recommend this course .

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