State Court Sec. 1983 Litigation Impacts on Dual Judicial System

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

National Law Journal


Section 1983 litigation, dual judicial system, concurrent jurisdiction


State courts have emerged in recent years as the forum choice for an increasing number of litigants with Sec. 1983 claims against state or local governments and their employees.Part of the impetus for this trend has been a pair of 1980 U.S. Supreme Court decisions. In Martinez v. California, the court held that state courts have concurrent jurisdiction over Sec. 1983 actions, and in Maine v. Thiboutot, the court permitted awards of attorney fees to prevailing parties in state court Sec. 1983 actions.In ruling that state courts may entertain Sec. 1983 actions, the Supreme Court relied on the principle of concurrent jurisdiction under which state courts may exercise jurisdiction over federally created causes of action as long as Congress has not explicitly or implicitly made federal court jurisdiction exclusive.

This document is currently not available here.