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Civil Rights

WHAT TYPE OF CIVIL RIGHTS CASES DO WE HANDLE?

Constitutional law is a complex area of federal law because it deals with fundamental rights, or rights that the United States Supreme Court has held in the highest regard.  Some recognized fundamental rights include:

  • marriage

  • privacy

  • contraception

  • interstate travel.

  • procreation

  • custody of one's child(ren) 

  • voting 

Fourth Amendment Claims

A Fourth Amendment claim may exist where a state or federal officer seizes e.g. detains, physically harms, or ends the life of an individual without proper justification i.e. reasonable suspicion or probable cause.  The most difficult aspect of Fourth Amendment cases is qualified immunity.  Qualified immunity is a defense for officers that protects them from legal liability if their actions did not violate "clearly established" federal law.

 

Eighth Amendment Lawsuits

​The Eighth Amendment protects individuals who are incarcerated from being punished in cruel ways.  Courts have found that denial of medical treatment, denial of food or water, and/or denial of access to bathing facilities for extended periods of time can violate the Eighth Amendment.​

Section 1981 Claims

Our firm handles 42 U.S. Code § 1981 (Section 1981) claims.  Section 1981 prohibits discrimination in the creation of legal contracts (e.g. business contracts, leases, etc.).  Discrimination can occur in the denial of the contract opportunity, the performance of contract terms, or the cancellation or termination of a contract.  A denial of opportunity discriminatory matter may exist when a black owned vendor’s bid is not considered after the company discovers that the owner is a black woman.  One example of contract performance discrimination can occur in the banking context.  The banking relationship is typically governed by an account terms and conditions contract.  If the bank fails to provide those services in accordance with the contract (i.e. policies and procedures), and the reason for non-performance is discrimination, a Section 1981 claim may exist. Finally, a contract termination discrimination case could exist where a bakery rescinds the completion of a baking contract of 150 cupcakes after the owner discovers that the cupcakes will be used at a Juneteenth celebration.

 

The Fair Housing Act 

Our office also handles Fair Housing Act claims.  It is illegal to discriminate in the sale, rental, or other housing-related activities. The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability.  Some examples of illegal discrimination in the sale of real property include:

  • assessing higher APR rates for black or brown mortgage applicants who are otherwise qualified for a lower APR rate

  • refusing to provide reasonable accommodations to a tenant with disabilities

  • denying a rental application because the applicants are a same sex couple

  • filing an eviction after discovering a tenant practices the Muslim faith

  • declining an application from a family based on the number of children they have

  • retaliating against an individual after they complain of housing discrimination

If you believe you may have been discriminated in the sale or rental of a home, you can contact the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development or Metro Fair Housing Services to file a complaint.  They will ask for the details of your experience and may launch an investigation to determine if a violation of the Fair Housing Act has occurred.  You can also hire an attorney to file a lawsuit in federal court to seek compensatory, punitive, and attorney's fees.  

 

Hover over the images below to learn more about our different civil rights matters.

What's an example of a Section 1981 Case?

Discrimination in Banking Contracts

Our office has handled cases involving large banks who have discriminated against patrons trying to obtain money from their accounts.

What's an example of a Fair Housing violation?

Discrimination in the Rental, Sale, or Housing Related Services

  • charging a single parent more for rent because of the number of children he or she has

  •  'steering' a black family to certain neighborhoods to purchase a home

  • denying an individual with a disability reasonable accommodations 

Why are police misconduct cases so difficult to win?

Qualified Immunity

To make it to trial, the victim of police brutality (plaintiff), must prove that the Georgia Supreme Court, Eleventh Circuit, or United States Supreme Court has previously found that the officer's behavior violated the plaintiff's Fourth Amendment rights.