Letter To Publisher: Read It And Weep

This will be mailed tomorrow. It speaks for itself, and it speaks volumes about the status of litigation arising under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983.

February 1, 2010

Dear Jeff:

Flattered though I am by your offer to let me participate in creation of the new book on model federal complaints, I have decided to pass. Although I have filed scores of suits arising under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 in my career, I am no longer confident that our federal courts have the will to face these cases with anything but a motive to derail them prior to trial. I rarely encourage lawyers calling me for advice about these cases to file them any longer.

In the past few years, the judiciary has become so hostile to federal civil rights complaints that the volume of actions I have filed is greatly diminished. Just last year, the Supreme Court put another nail in the coffin of 1983 practice by requiring heightened pleading rules. I now routinely waste time responding to boilerplate motions to dismiss. See, Iqbal v. Ashcroft. I rarely file these complaints any longer, and when I do, I am rarely confident my case will make it to the jury: An emboldened judiciary grants qualified immunity with increasing encouragement from the Supreme Court. See, Scott v. Harris.

I was invited a few months back to contribute sample voir dire questions for another book to a another publisher, and never did so. I am frankly not at all confident that these writs are worth filing in all but the most egregious cases of misconduct. Those cases are few and far between. Frankly, I believe the hey day of 1983 litigation has passed.

I am hard pressed to know who to recommend in my stead. Perhaps .... He remains my mentor and what little I know in this area I learned from him.

I am returning the material you were kind enough to send to me. Thanks for thinking of me.



Comments: (4)

  • Thanks for posting this letter. You have confirmed...
    Thanks for posting this letter. You have confirmed my worst fears and the fears of others equally concerned with a judiciary that has been effectively rolled-back so-called civil rights and liberties in Amerika to the point where they are meaningless jargon, easily ignored by the 'authorities'. If the 'Bill of Rights' means anything at all, but cannot be enforced by government, well then they may as well not exist. De facto, they do not exist. And everything we were taught in school, including 'law' school, is a bald-@ssed lie and meaningless gibberish.
    When will we begin to hold miscreant officials accountable?
    That is my take on it, posted repeatedly over the past few years on a variety of web sites and forums, using my real name. I did not discover these truths in college; I did not read about them in the N.Y. Times Magazine or see it on cable TV news. I confronted these issues head-on in my own real-life, CT legal situations which were handled grotesquely, outrageously and un-Konstitutionally. That is affirmative.
    See "Civil Rights Suit Seeks $10M..." in yesterday's New Haven Register, by Randall Beach.
    Posted on February 4, 2010 at 1:26 am by William Doriss
  • You know, it's kind of bizzare. I'm a 1L in CA and...
    You know, it's kind of bizzare. I'm a 1L in CA and I just finished discussing Aschroft and Iqbal and I have to say I was a little surprised to see the SC take the stance they did. It seemed to me like a complete reversal of the kinds of practices that the justice system had tried to stray from. You, however, put a different light to the matter. I'm glad I came across your post.
    Posted on February 5, 2010 at 7:41 pm by Alex
  • Alex:
    Enjoy law school!
    Enjoy law school!
    Posted on February 6, 2010 at 5:55 am by Norm Pattis
  • Of course, I meant to say Ashcroft and Twombly... ...
    Of course, I meant to say Ashcroft and Twombly... sorry, it's hard to keep track of names sometimes. And thanks, Norm!
    Posted on February 7, 2010 at 3:44 pm by Alex

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