When police officers or jail guards violate your rights, federal law provides that you shall be entitled to money damages through a Civil Rights lawsuit. The Civil Rights Act of 1871, commonly referred to as Section 1983, was enacted for the primary purpose to provide a civil remedy against the abuses that were being committed in the southern United States during that era. It specifically provides that every citizen of the United States has rights, privileges, and immunities that are secured by the United States Constitution. When these rights are violated, any person acting under the color of law, (i.e. government actors), the government shall be liable. Today, the Civil Rights Act is a powerful tool used to hold government officials responsible and protect its citizens who are in custody of law enforcement and most vulnerable to abuse. The team of police misconduct lawyers at Sandoval Firm can help you navigate the legal landscape, establish that police misconduct led to your injuries, and achieve the results you want.
Importantly, there is no cap or limit to your recovery of monetary damages. The United States Supreme Court has noted that the basic purpose of a Section 1983 damages award is to compensate the victims of misconduct. Therefore, there is no limit on the actual damages that may be awarded if they can be proven. Additional damages, called punitive damages may also be awarded to punish and deter official misconduct.
Civil rights claims may also be brought against private individuals or corporations when they act under color of law. The traditional definition of acting under color of state law requires that the defendant has exercised power possessed by virtue of state law and made possible only because the wrongdoer is clothed with the authority of the state. In New Mexico, this definition has proven to be important given the significant number of privately run correctional institutions. This also allows you to recover damages against a private doctor or health care agency that provides medical care in publicly run jails and institutions.
Section 1983 may also be used in addition to remedies under New Mexico state law. In New Mexico, government officials may be held liable for damages under the New Mexico Tort Claims Act. In one of our most recent case, the Dona Ana County Sheriffs office was held liable for negligently training and supervising its deputy which resulting in the wrongful death of our client. The family recovered significant funds for their loss and, most importantly, held the county responsible for its conduct.
We have also recovered millions on behalf of our clients and Richard Sandoval has been named a life-member of both the Million Dollar and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates forum . If you or a loved one has had your civil rights violated, call the Sandoval Firm for a free consultation.