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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2008

    Default How To File A Section 1983 Action

    My question involves civil rights in the State of: Tennessee

    OK, its just about impossible to find an attorney to represent you in a case where you have been done wrong by the police in my area ,so, i want to file my suit and go on pro-se.

    The problem is,im not sure WHERE to file my complaint and honestly i have no idea how to form the paperwork and summons.

    Do i just form it all out like i would a normal personal injury complaint? If so,where can i find models of this online?

    The paperwork would really be the only thing holding me back,and im working with days until the statute of limitations runs IF it starts to accrue from the time i was initially charged and not from the time of dismissal.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Toledo, OH

    Default Re: Section 1983 Action Need Help Filing

    What, exactly, happened that you want to sue?

    For forms and instructions, you need to contact the Clerk of Courts in your county. S/he can point you in the direction of resources that may help you plan out your case.
    I'm not a lawyer, but I play a researcher on the internet!
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007

    Default Re: Section 1983 Action Need Help Filing

    Quote Quoting JL2008
    View Post
    The paperwork would really be the only thing holding me back,and im working with days until the statute of limitations runs IF it starts to accrue from the time i was initially charged and not from the time of dismissal.

    Some courts, federal included, provide sample forms online. If you are not in this district, you have to fill in the appropriate one.

    The sample 1983 complaint they had listed was only for a person incarcerated.


    Although I know your frustration, trust me on that one, be advised, this is not something a Pro Se Plaintiff can handle effectively unless they have a great deal of legal knowlege.

    Persons acting under "color of law" as 1983 notes, have at minimum, if we are talking about the police, qualified immunity. Can you overcome this burden in court? It will certainly be plead!! IF, that's IF, you are successful in sustaining your complaint after a certain Motion to dimiss will be filed, then it gets maybe even more complicated, such as possibly the know how to impanel a jury.

    Are you familiar with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure PLUS the local Rules of that court??

    One sued, it is my opinion they will file a Rule 12 Motion to dimiss the case, possible a 12(b) 6: Failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted:

    Can you file an effective response if a dismissal motion is filed??

    I am not an attorney, but the link I provide is from the court itself, not "my description" of a Caption, summary etc. as anyone can see these forms online.

    Be cautious, as if you are dismissed it is more than likely the gov. will move for, ask the court, for an award of thier attorneys fees/costs.

    Although I can point you to a sample form, be advised, it is unlikely anyone here, including myself, can answer any "specific" questions to general procedure, as if I or they are wrong, and you may very well rely on it, it will certainly damage your case.

    If you are bent on filing it, I can only emphasize, you will have an extremely difficult legal battle, and times you will more than frustrated at not understanding legalities.

    I am not trying to talk you out of it, but I am just making a very positive point on what is in store proceeding Pro Se, especially in federal court!!

    Good luck,

    BOR (Bill of Rights)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007

    Default Re: How To File A Section 1983 Action

    Here is an example of a 1983 action filed by the ACLU on behalf of a police abuse victim. I linked it on this site before.

    You will note it sites venue and jurisdiction also, as in this sample form below from NY, BUT the TN Pro Se form does NOT list it, so you have to draft your final copy as you see fit.

    Read Title 28 and the listed sections for a little in the know!!

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