Monell v. Department of Social Services of the City of New York

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Monell v. Department of Social Services of the City of New York
Seal of the United States Supreme Court.svg
Argued November 2, 1977
Decided June 6, 1978
Full case name Jane Monell et al., Petitioners, v. Department of Social Services of the City of New York et al.
Citations 436 U.S. 658 (more)
98 S.Ct. 2018, 56 L.Ed.2d 611
Holding
Municipalities can be held liable for violations of Constitutional rights through 42 U.S.C. §1983 actions.
Court membership
Case opinions
Majority Brennan, joined by Stewart, White, Marshall, Blackmun, and Powell.
Concurrence Powell
Concurrence Stevens
Dissent Rehnquist, joined by Burger
Laws applied
Fourteenth Amendment, Section 1 of the "Civil Rights Act" of April 20, 1871

Monell v. Department of Social Services[1] is an opinion given by the United States Supreme Court in which the Court overrules Monroe v. Pape in holding that a local government is a "person" subject to suit under Section 1983 of Title 42 of the United States Code: civil action for deprivation of rights.[2]

Facts[edit]

The case began in July 1971 as a challenge to the New York City Board of Education's forced maternity leave policies. In a different lawsuit in 1978, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that cities were liable for damages under the Civil Rights Act. Following the decision, New York settled for $375,500, to be divided among all women employees placed on forced maternity leave from July 1968 to the time of the case being filed. New York increased the money available for compensations to $11 million after an unexpectedly large response from women to notices announcing the settlement. The claims were paid in the fall of 1981.[3]

Judgment[edit]

The United States Supreme Court held that a local government is a "person" that can be sued under Section 1983 of Title 42 of the United States Code: civil action for deprivation of rights.[2]

Significance[edit]

This resolution created a precedent that for the first time established local government monetary accountability for unconstitutional acts and created the right to obtain damages from municipalities in such cases.

References[edit]