You are here

9.1 Section 1983 Claim—Introductory Instruction

Printer-friendly version


The plaintiff brings [his] [her] claim[s] under the federal statute, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which provides that any person or persons who, under color of law, deprives another of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States shall be liable to the injured party.


See 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

The committee notes that decisions of the Supreme Court and the Ninth Circuit seem to use the phrases "under color of law" and "under color of state law" interchangeably. Compare, e.g., Livadas v. Bradshaw, 512 U.S. 107, 132 (1994), and Azer v. Connell, 306 F.3d 930, 935 (9th Cir.2002) (using "under color of law") with Nelson v. Campbell, 541 U.S. 637, 643 (2004), and Meyers v. Redwood City, 400 F.3d 765, 770 (9th Cir.2005) (using "under color of state law"). Because there is not any clear case authority to favor one phrase over the other, the committee uses only the statutory phrase "under color of law" in these instructions.