Civil Rights Complaint Form. This is a Utah form and can be use in District Court Federal.
Tags: Civil Rights Complaint, Utah Federal, District Court
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF UTAH INFORMATION FOR FILING A CIVIL RIGHTS COMPLAINT UNDER 42 U.S.C. SECTIONS 1983 AND 1985 Office of the Clerk of Court Last Modified 04/10/2014 American LegalNet, Inc. www.FormsWorkFlow.com INTRODUCTION This information packet is designed to help you file a civil rights complaint in federal court without the help of a trained and licensed attorney. In a civil rights complaint, you are alleging that your constitutional rights or privileges or immunities have been violated. The federal law under which a civil rights claim arises is 42 U.S.C. sections 1983 and 1985. (U.S.C. stands for "United States Code," which is a collection of all the federal laws in the country. The law under which a civil rights action is brought is located in sections 1983 and 1985 of title 42 of the United States Code.) When you represent yourself in a lawsuit you are known as a pro se litigant, or a person who is proceeding pro se. In order to start a lawsuit based on a claim of violation of your civil rights, you must prepare and file with the court what is known as a complaint. This packet of instructions is designed to help you prepare a civil rights complaint under 42 U.S.C. section 1983 and 1985. For information on how to actually file the complaint with the court after you have prepared it and how to proceed in your lawsuit, you should obtain and read the Pro Se Litigant Guide, which is available at the clerk's office of the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah, located in suite 150 of the Frank E. Moss U.S. Courthouse, 350 South Main in Salt Lake City, Utah, 84101. A sample complaint form is included in this packet to help you to prepare your complaint. Your complaint must be typewritten or legibly handwritten. All questions must be answered clearly in the correct space on the form. If you need extra space to answer a question, you may use additional pages of 8.5" x 11" size paper. The additional page(s) must be legible, and must indicate which question you are answering. If you are suing more than one person, you should state clearly which defendant you accuse of each act. PREPARING THE COMPLAINT 1. To assist a party appearing pro se in filing a civil rights complaint, the office of the clerk has prepared a complaint form, a copy of which is attached to this information packet. The instructions in this section correspond by name to the sections in the sample complaint form. 2. If you need more space than the sample complaint form provides to record details, you should use additional sheets the same size as the complaint. A. Caption and Heading: Before your case can be filed with the clerk's office, the first page of your complaint must have your name, address and telephone number at the top of the complaint as part of the heading. This is referred to as the case caption and heading. The case caption also must indicate the Division of the District of Utah in which the case originates. Determining this is relatively easy. Northern Division: If the defendant(s) reside in, or if the action on which the lawsuit is based 1 American LegalNet, Inc. www.FormsWorkFlow.com occurred in one of the following counties, it is a Northern Division case: Box Elder, Cache, Rich,Weber, Davis, or Morgan. Central Division: If the defendant(s) reside in, or if the action occurred in one of the following counties, it is a Central Division case: Beaver, Carbon, Daggett, Duchesne, Emery, Garfield, Grand, Iron, Juab, Kane, Millard, Piute, Salt Lake, San Juan, Sanpete, Sevier, Summit, Tooele, Uintah, Utah, Wasatch, Washington, or Wayne. In the caption, you must also add your name as the plaintiff and the names of the people you are naming as defendants on the lines provided. B. Jurisdiction: In this section, you inform the court why the case should be heard in federal court rather than state court or some other forum. Options: For a complaint alleging a violation of civil rights, you have two options: 1. If your action is generally one for a violation of civil rights, 42 U.S.C. § 1983 will normally be the basis for the claim. 2. Claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1985 are limited. Generally that section prohibits certain categories of conduct relating to two or more persons acting together, or in a conspiracy, as provided for in the statute itself. In most instances, you must show that the conspiracy was entered for a racial or class-based reason. Defendant's Relationship to the State: In order for your action to be heard in federal court under Section 1983, you must be able to show that the defendant(s), at the time the claims alleged in the complaint, were acting under the authority or color of state law. As you note the name of each defendant, you also should indicate whether that defendant under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 is a person who acted "under the color of state law." This generally means that the person is a state official, a state employee, or someone who was acting in the name of the state under authority granted by the state, county, city, or other non-federal government entity. Normally a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1985 requires class-based or racial hostility before it may proceed. Note: This is not a complete statement of the law on this subject; rather, it is intended to provide general guidance as you determine who to name as a defendant in your action. C. Parties: Next, you name the parties. As the person initiating the lawsuit, you are the plaintiff and must identify yourself as such. For each defendant named in your complaint, you should list their current address and a description of their employment. In addition, you should explain briefly how or in what capacity each defendant acted under authority given them by state or local government. D. Nature of the Case: This section requires a brief statement of (i) the civil right that you allege has been violated by the defendant(s), and (ii) a description of how the defendant(s) violated that right. 2 American LegalNet, Inc. www.FormsWorkFlow.com E. Cause of Action: In this section, you are required to provide specific details of precisely how your civil right allegedly was violated. This description should include references to relevant dates, times, and locations. It should explain to the court what happened by specifically describing each defendant's behavior or action and how that behavior or action -- or lack of action -resulted in the violation of your right. You are not required to cite other cases in the law o