What is it?

An individual has a viable claim against the government when she is able to prove that the government took action against her due to her exercise of a constitutional right. There are three basic things in all retaliation claims:

  • Constitutionally protected conduct
  • Retaliatory action sufficient to deter a person of ordinary firmness from exercising her constitutional rights; and
  • A causal link between the constitutionally protected conduct and the retaliatory act.

What is the consequence?

When a state actor retaliates against you because of your exercise of a constitutional right, you may seek:

  • An injunction (a court order designed to stop the civil rights violation)
  • Money for the injuries caused by the state actor
  • Punitive damages (relief designed to punish the state actor for the abuses)
  • Compensatory damages for emotional pain and suffering
  • Attorney fees (state actors pay when you prevail)