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Mashel Law Represents Persons Whose Civil Rights Have Been Violated

The Constitution of the United States of America guarantees the citizens of this great country freedom from overreaching and abusive conduct by our federal, state and local governments and those who work for them. Unfortunately, too often we learn of instances where private citizens have been the victims of police brutality, unlawful imprisonment, malicious prosecution, or the unlawful taking of property. The attorneys at Mashel Law are ready to fight to vindicate and obtain damages for economic loss and personal injury caused by the unconstitutional deprivation of your rights.

The Fourth Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution promise, respectively:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizure, shall not be violated...”
“No state...shall...deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny any person within its jurisdiction equal protection of the laws...”

The Eighth Amendment of our U.S. Constitution provides:

“Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”

Similarly, the New Jersey State Constitution guarantees those living, working or entering into New Jersey the right to be free of the government destroying their civil rights. Article I, paragraph 1 of the State Constitution provides that:

“All persons are by nature free and independent, and have certain natural and unalienable rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, of acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and of pursuing and obtaining safety and happiness.”

Likewise, Article I, paragraph 5 and paragraph 12 of the New Jersey State Constitution respectively provide:

“No person shall be denied the enjoyment of any civil or military right, nor be discriminated against in the exercise of any civil or military right...”
“Cruel and unusual punishment shall not be inflicted.”

42 U.S.C. § 1983 attaches individual liability to those working for or on behalf of a government entity who see fit to deny a private citizen his or her constitutional rights:

“Every person who ... subjects, or causes to be subjected, any ... person ... to the deprivation of any rights ... secured by the Constitution ... shall be liable to the party injured.”

42 U.S.C. § 1983 Amnesty America v. Town of West Hartford, 361 F.3d 113, 124-25 (2d Cir. 2004).

A local city or municipality may also be held liable under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for the violation of a person’s civil rights. In Monell v. Department of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658, 690 (1978), the United States Supreme Court established that local governing bodies can be sued directly under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for monetary, declaratory, or injunctive relief when the action that is alleged to be unconstitutional implements or executes a policy statement, ordinance, regulation, or decision officially adopted and promulgated by that body’s officers.

A prevailing plaintiff under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 is entitled to fair and reasonable compensatory damages for economic loss and personal injuries. Punitive damages are available under the statute against individual defendants. A prevailing party is also entitled to an award of reasonable attorney fees and costs.

Violations of the New Jersey Civil Rights Act

New Jersey has its own civil rights act aptly called The New Jersey Civil Rights Act (“CRA”). CRA prohibits all persons “acting under color of law” from depriving any other person of “any substantive rights, privileges or immunities secured by the Constitution or laws of this State, or whose exercise or enjoyment of those substantive rights, privileges or immunities has been interfered with or attempted to be interfered with, by threats, intimidation or coercion.” N.J.S.A. 10:6-2(c). The purpose of the private CRA cause of action is “assuring a state law cause of action for violations of state and federal constitutional rights and to fill any gaps in state statutory anti-discrimination protection.” Tumpson v. Farina, 431 N.J. Super. 164, 181 (App. Div. 2013) (quoting Owens v. Feigin, 194 N.J. 607, 611 (2008) (holding tort claims notice does not apply to CRA claims)). There are two types of claims under the CRA: (1) a claim where one is “deprived of a right”; and (2), a claim where one's “rights are interfered with by threats, intimidation, coercion or force”. Id. at 181-82.

If you believe your civil rights have been violated by a public entity or an agent, representative or employee thereof call the lawyers at Mashel Law (732) 536-6161 for help or fill out the contact form on this page.

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