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New York civil rights attorneysThe thought of suing the government is daunting, but to make the task less daunting, Congress passed Title 42 of the United States Code, which is part of the Civil Rights Act of 1871. A particular section of this law—namely, Section 1983—a allows an individual to sue a government official, employee or agent who violates his or her constitutional rights.

Of course, initiating legal action against any government entity or agent can be complex. It is important to speak with a skilled attorney so that you can get the guidance you need throughout the process.

What Does Section 1983 Cover?

Section 1983 claims are available as a means to obtain relief for a range of constitutional violations, which include the following:

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Bronx wrongful death lawyerWhen a person dies in a tragic accident, their immediate family usually faces significant expenses related to the victim’s post-accident medical care and costs related to their funeral and burial, along with the lifetime loss of the decedent’s income and services. If the fatal accident was another party’s fault, the victim’s next-of-kin can file a wrongful death lawsuit to obtain compensation for their financial losses. 

A wrongful death lawsuit is similar to a personal injury lawsuit. When a victim is injured through another party’s fault, the victim can file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party. If the injured person dies, their surviving family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit. 

Grounds for a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in New York

You can file a wrongful death lawsuit on the grounds that your family member was killed by:

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Brooklyn civil litigation lawyer judgment collectionIf you have a breach of contract dispute with a customer, business partner, or employer involving a substantial sum of money, you can file a lawsuit against them in New York civil court. After winning your case, you will have a court order called a judgment specifying the total amount the defendant must pay you, which may include interest, legal fees, and court costs on top of your specific financial damages. But how do you actually enforce the judgment and get the defendant to pay you--especially since the defendant’s refusal to pay you was what forced you to file a lawsuit in the first place? New York law provides a number of possible remedies, including garnishment of wages, liens, and seizure of property. These options are defined in the Laws of New York, Civil Practice Law and Rules, Article 52 - Enforcement of Money Judgments.

Finding the Debtor’s Assets

The first challenge is to determine what income and assets the debtor has that can be used to satisfy the judgment. Your attorney can ask the court for an information subpoena to be served on the debtor, their employer, their bank, or any other person or business that may have information on the debtor’s income and assets. The information subpoena is a court order that must be answered. 

Once you have the debtor’s financial information, you will need to hire an enforcement officer, either a county deputy sheriff or an independent marshal, to execute any of these procedures.

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NYC breach of contract lawyer

Contracts are a part of daily life, governing everything from our auto insurance to agreements with home improvement contractors. If you run a business, you have contracts with your suppliers as well as your customers and even your business partners. Most of the time, everything goes according to plan: one party delivers the expected goods or services and the other party pays on time. But when the other party to a contract fails to live up to their obligations, and you suffer a significant financial loss as a result, you may have to sue them for breach of contract to get what you rightfully deserve.

Breach of Contract in New York

In order to sue someone for breach of contract, you must be able to show the other party committed a material breach of the contract terms and that you suffered a monetary loss as a result. A material breach is a substantial failure to perform as agreed, one that significantly defeats the purpose of the original agreement. 

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New York City employment law attorney labor unionsIf you are a government employee covered by a union collective-bargaining agreement, such as a police officer or school teacher, you cannot be forced by law to join a union and pay union dues. Until recently, however, non-members could be required by New York state law, and by similar laws in 21 other states, to pay a significant percentage of the annual union dues in the form of “agency fees.” The reasoning was that non-members benefited from the union’s collective bargaining efforts and should contribute toward those costs.

The legality of mandatory agency fees was challenged in federal court in the case of Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31. Mark Janus is an employee of the state of Illinois who chose not to join the AFSCME because he opposes many of the union’s political positions. Nonetheless, he had been required to pay $535 per year to the union as an agency fee, which is about 78 percent of the annual dues paid by union members.  

Agency Fees Deprive Employees of the Right to Free Speech

In its June 2018 decision on the Janus case, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it is unconstitutional to require non-union members to pay agency fees. The Court held that the union’s collective bargaining activities and political speech are inextricably linked. Thus, agency fees violate an individual’s First Amendment right to free speech by “compelling them to subsidize [the union’s] private speech on matters of substantial public concern” including “education, child welfare, healthcare, and minority rights.” 

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Queens civil rights violation litigation lawyerThe use of physical force to control other people is part of the daily life of New York City police and corrections officers. They must break up fights, restrain arrestees, and handle people who are drunk, drugged, or violently resistant. In some cases, an officer must use extreme force, and the person being restrained may suffer serious injury. Such cases may result in a civil lawsuit arising from the claim that the police officer committed a federal civil rights violation by using excessive force.

However, the mere fact that an injury occurred is not, in itself, proof that an officer used excessive force. The difference between reasonable force and excessive force depends on the totality of the circumstances at the scene.

Consequences for Federal Civil Rights Violations

When a law enforcement or corrections officer is accused of using excessive force, the officer can face multiple consequences including:

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