Read this article about some important civil rights claim tips. Then contact Civil Rights Attorneys at Smith & Green today.
Affording a Civil Rights Claim
As with any type of case, there’s always the question of, “Can I afford this?” One of the unique things about civil rights litigation is that you have more options as it relates to paying for it, unlike in a criminal case. You can’t take a criminal case on a contingency; it’s against the ethics rules. Civil rights is a little different. You have more flexibility.
In our office, generally there are some type of contingency component to a civil rights case. Sometimes there’s a little fee up front to mitigate some of the costs in printing and filing and experts and all of that stuff, but it’s minimal compared to the amount that would be pursued in litigation. Every case is different – it depends on the strength of the case – but we have so many more options. It depends on the evidence, for one. In civil rights litigation, if you are successful, under some statutes, there are what we call fee-shifting provisions, where the lawyer can ask the judge to order the other person be responsible for their attorneys’ fees and sometimes it’s statutorily required that the other person is responsible for your legal fees upon the successful litigation of the case.
You want to sit and talk with a lawyer. Every case is different. Sometimes there’s a little retainer up front; sometimes there’s a payment plan towards that retainer, and then the rest is handled with contingency, but every case is different. It depends on the strength of the case.
Retaliation From Suing an Officer
Oftentimes, citizens are afraid to confront police officers in the sense of suing them or the police department because they are afraid that other officers will retaliate against them. Retaliation can come in many forms. You could call the police and need somebody to respond to your house for somebody breaking in, and the police are slow to respond or neglectful in their response because they know you sued one of their buddies or you sued their department. Can they retaliate against me? Well, sure. Is it lawful for them to retaliate against you? No. If we’re representing you, they hope they don’t retaliate against you because they’re going to be facing a lawsuit just like their buddies are. It is against the law. You have a right to litigate these matters in court, and you should be able to do so without the interference of other police officers. Can they? Sure, if they want to. Is it a good idea that they do? No, especially not if we happen to be representing you – and not just us, any competent attorney. They won’t allow that at all. If you feel like that is happening to you or that it’s going to happen to you, and you have concerns with that – especially folks that live in small towns – have a conversation with your lawyer and discuss that with them so they can keep an eye out for that, to make sure that while you are pursuing your civil rights, you are protected and that you are not being harassed or retaliated against by fellow police officers.
Suing the Police
When discussing the facts of their case with clients to determine whether or not they can sue the police department in the city that they lived in, clients often get nervous. You get that question, “Can I sue the police department?” The answer, unequivocally, is yes. You can sue the police department, yes. You can sue the individual officer, yes. You can sue the folks that trained or failed to train these folks, yes. You can sue folks that have upheld and instituted policies for government entities that have violated your civil rights. There are a number of people that can fall in the chain of folks that are being sued that could be potential defendants in a lawsuit. Again, this is something that you’re going to want to sit and talk with your attorney about because they will determine with you who to sue, who needs to be added into this complaint and for what reasons. Yes, you can sue a police department. Yes, you can sue the sheriff’s department. Yes, you can sue the governor. Yes, you can sue the mayor. It depends on the facts of your case, so you’re going to need to talk with an attorney because there are a number of remedies in their official capacity and sometimes in their individual capacity. Call the office. We’ll talk with you about it, see what and who needs to be sued – or some competent attorney that will go over the facts of your case with you. Again, it will be determined by the facts of your case and the controlling law related to that area of civil rights.
Have you or a loved one been involved in a civil rights case and have questions? Contact experienced Phoenix Civil Rights Attorneys at Smith & Green today for a legal consultation. Like Us on Facebook