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9.1 Section 1983 Claim—Introductory Instruction

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9.1 SECTION 1983 CLAIMINTRODUCTORY INSTRUCTION

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 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 

The Committee notes that 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 than "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 All. 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 Los Angeles, 697 F.3d 1059, 1068 (9th Cir.2012) (same).