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How does Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress violate ones Civil Rights under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983.?

Seattle, WA |

After reading the following case: Naeem v. McKesson Drug Co., No. 95 C 5425, I would like to know how treating someone badly, or causing Severe Emotional Distress Violates their Civil Rights? Is extortion, blackmail, or emotional distress inflicted upon an especially vulnerable pregnant woman also a Civil Right Violation? Please Explain. I am not getting it. I thought Civil Rights were about what happened in the 1960´s.

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Best Answer

Civil rights are rights granted to all citizens to be free from outrageous or disproportionate government conduct. The civil rights in the 60s were for fairer laws regarding race. But civil rights are still very much alive today. Race sometimes, but any outrageous action by a government agent (police officer, bureaucrat, municipality, etc.) can be a civil rights violation.

42 U.S.C. 1983 permits a government agent to be sued for monetary remedies if they allegedly committed a civil rights violation. It's a big deal because normally the government has sovereign immunity from suit.

It's important to note that the case you provided happened in the 7th Circuit, in Illinois, so is not binding law on Washington and our 9th Circuit. Nevertheless the concept of a tort against a citizen by a government agent could have 1983 legs anywhere in the country. Whether your particular case can in fact result in a lawsuit is impossible to answer with the facts provided.

If and until you and I sign an Agreement for Legal Services, I am not your attorney. These answers are provided for informational and/or novelty purposes.



What about a Tort by one individual ciitizen against another citizen (not government agent). Person A was living in Canada whilst person B was in the USA, person B uses the mail and email to blackmail Person A. Hypothetical, the incident crossed three nations, two states, violated a few laws and two international treaties. I know this is pretty general information, and it is okay to give me an answer for Academic purposes only here.


In a tort case, the issues of duty, breach of duty, and proximate cause of damages are separate from the issue of the extent of the damages.

[In accordance with the Avvo community guidelines, this communication does not constitute "legal advice", nor does it form an attorney-client relationship.]