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9.1 Section 1983 Claim—Introductory Instruction

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This chapter is being reviewed in light of comments solicited by the Committee from the public.

9.1 SECTION 1983 CLAIMINTRODUCTORY INSTRUCTION

The plaintiff brings [his] [her] claim[s] under the federal statute, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, that provides that any person or persons who, under color of state 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.

Comment

See 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

The Committee notes that in the past decisions of the Supreme Court and the Ninth Circuit used 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 phrase "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 phrase "under color of state law").

Because recent Ninth Circuit case authority more frequently uses the phrase "under color of state law," rather that "under color of law," the Committee uses the phrase "under color of state law." See Planned Parenthood Ariz., Inc. v. Betlach, 727 F.3d 960, 966 (9th Cir.2013) ("Section 1983 creates a federal remedy against anyone who, under color of state law, deprives ‘any citizen of the United States … of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws."); OSU Student Alliance v. Ray, 699 F.3d 1053, 1061 (9th Cir.2013) (using phrase "color of state law"); Tsao v. Desert Palace, Inc., 698 F.3d 1128, 1138 (9th Cir.2012) (same); Hall v. City of L.A., 697 F.3d 1059, 1068 (9th Cir.2012) (same).