August 2014 Bar Bulletin
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August 2014 Bar Bulletin

Section 1983 Civil Rights Litigation

By Kim Ositis
Assistant Law Librarian


In keeping with this month's theme of Litigation, I'm going to profile some of the resources we have available at our Seattle library on the topic of Section 1983 civil rights litigation. We have learned to be sure to tell our new interns that if a patron asks for the "1983 books," he's really looking for a specific part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, not books that were published in the year 1983.

Resources specific to Section 1983 litigation are found generally in the KF 1325 call number area. The Nutshell series is a great place to start if you don't know that much about a topic or are looking for a book that won't cause back strain if you toss it in your beach bag. Check out Section 1983 Litigation in a Nutshell by Michael Collins (KF 1325 .C58 C65 2011) for a good overview.

A brand new book to the library is the 2014 Handbook of Section 1983 Litigation by David W. Lee, published this past May (KF 1325 .C58 H36 2014).

A relatively new resource that is specific to Washington is the Washington Civil Rights Deskbook edited by Hardeep S. Rekhi (RES KF 1325 .C58 W37). Another Washington CLE resource is Civil Rights in Washington State, published by the WSBA in 2011 (KF 1306 .C64 C58 2011).

The Practicing Law Institute publishes many annual CLE publications. One of them is the three-volume Annual Section 1983 Civil Rights Litigation set (KF 1325 .C58 R43). Another PLI publication is Section 1983 Civil Rights Litigation, 2013: New Developments & Strategies (KF 1325 .C58 S435 2013).

For forms, look at the Section 1983 Litigation Forms by John W. Witt, et al. (KF 1325 .C58 W57 1994). The slim, 1994 main volume is accompanied by a beefy 2014 softbound supplement.

On the topic of forms, the Western District of Washington's website hosts a fillable .pdf version of a Civil Rights Complaint under 42 USC 1983 for plaintiffs who are not in custody:

Originally written in 2002, Section 1983 Outline was updated by the Office of Staff Attorneys for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in 2011 (KF 1325 .C58 S43 2011).

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