Constitutional Law and Civil Rights

We have litigated matters in Virginia state and federal courts involving section 1983 claims against public officials, claims under the U.S. Constitution, and sovereign immunity claims under the Eleventh Amendment.

Our attorneys have tried civil rights cases involving constitutional issues including cases dealing with:

  • First Amendment—free speech, free press, freedom of religion, and retaliation.
  • Fourth Amendment—searches and seizures, use of force by law enforcement officers.
  • Fifth Amendment—takings claims, testimonial privileges, and (for federal defendants) substantive and procedural due process and equal protection claims.
  • Sixth Amendment—assistance of counsel and access to courts (Bounds v. Smith claims).
  • Eighth Amendment—excessive force, conditions of confinement, and medical care (Estelle v. Gamble claims).
  • Ninth Amendment—fundamental personal liberties.
  • Tenth Amendment—federalism claims and defenses;
  • Eleventh Amendment—sovereign immunity, and Ex parte Young claims,
  • Fourteenth Amendment—all incorporated Bill of Rights claims, liberty and property interest claims based on procedural and substantive due process, name-clearing hearings, equal protection, and conditions of confinement for arrestees and pre-trial detainees.

In addition to claims arising under the U. S. Constitution, actionable pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, our firm has handled statutory causes of action based on:

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (gender, race, sexual harassment, retaliation);
  • 42 U.S.C. § 1981;
  • Americans with Disabilities Act;
  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act; and
  • Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C § 1681 et seq.

Our attorneys have many published appellate cases, which either establish the controlling legal standard or address civil rights and constitutional issues of public importance, including  Figg v. Schroeder, 312 F.3d 625 (4th Cir. 2002); and Garraghty v. Com. of Va., Dept. of Corrections, 52 F.3d 1274 (4th Cir. 1995).