Letter To Publisher: Thanks But No Thanks

I am sending this letter to a publisher tomorrow. Read it and weep.

February 1, 2010


Dear Jeff:

Flattered though I am by your offer to let me participate in creation of the new book on model federal complaints, I have decided to pass. Although I have filed scores of suits arising under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 in my career, I am no longer confident that our federal courts have the will to face these cases with anything but a motive to derail them prior to trial. I rarely encourage lawyers calling me for advice about these cases to file them any longer.

In the past few years, the judiciary has become so hostile to federal civil rights complaints that the volume of actions I have filed is greatly diminished. Just last year, the Supreme Court put another nail in the coffin of 1983 practice by requiring heightened pleading rules. I now waste time responding to boilerplate motions to dismiss. See, Iqbal v. Ashcroft. I rarely file these complaints any longer, and when I do, I am rarely confident my case will make it to the jury: An emboldened judiciary grants qualified immunity with increasing encouragement from the Supreme Court. See, Scott v. Harris.

I was invited a few months back to contribute sample voir dire questions to another volume by a different publishing complany, and never did so. I am frankly not at all confident that 1983 writs are worth filing in all but the most egregious cases of misconduct. Those cases are few and far between. Frankly, I believe the hey day of 1983 litigation has passed.

I am hard pressed to know who to recommend in my stead. Perhaps .... He remains my mentor and what little I know in this area I learned from him.

I am returning the material you were kind enough to send to me. Thanks for thinking of me.


Sincerely,


NORMAN A. PATTIS

2 comments:

  Mike

6:07 PM

Sad, but true. I realized a couple of years ago that I'd never make a living doing only Section 1983 cases. It seems like Section 1983 violations are now the stuff of intentional torts. How many lawyers would hang a shingle doing only intentional torts?

  Dragonater

7:33 PM

How about a 1983 case where teh plaintiff videotaped a state trooper admitted he had no jurisdiction on federal property, but went ahead and made the arrest anyway? This fact of lack of state jurisdiction is confirmed on audiotape and by fed govt map to the plaintiff by the director of the national park. The attorney for the state dept of traffic engineering wrote a signed letter to the plaintiff stating the speed limit on that highway at the point of arrest did not comply with state/fed law, and thus was invalid for making a traffic stop. This state trooper is paid more that $100,000 annual salary, according to an open records act request by the largest newspaper in the state. The state criminal prosecution was dismissed with prejudice by the prosecutor before trial, without any probably cause hearing or testimony in court. Do you think the US Supreme Court would uphold a 1983 cased based on these facts of law?