Home » Civil Rights » Can Coworkers Conspire for Purposes of Section 1983?

Translate

Categories

Archives

Subscribe

Subscribe to receive notifications of new posts by email.

Can Coworkers Conspire for Purposes of Section 1983?

It’s not unusual for civil rights actions to include claims that the defendants conspired to violate the plaintiff’s rights. Nahmod Law has an interesting post on an Eleventh Circuit case reversing a district court’s order denying coworkers qualified immunity for a § 1983 conspiracy claim. The reason was the Intracorporate Conspiracy Doctrine, which holds a corporation and its employees acting within the scope of their employment are a single actor. This negates the multiplicity of actors necessary for the formation of a conspiracy.
It is unclear if the Ninth Circuit would apply the Intracorporate Conspiracy Doctrine to bar civil rights conspiracy claims involving coworkers. In Portman v. Cnty. of Santa Clara, 995 F.2d 898 (9th Cir. 1993) it avoided the issue in the context of a § 1985 conspiracy claim. In Schmitz v. Mars, Inc., 261 F.Supp.2d 1226 (D. Or., 2003) Judge Brown applied the doctrine to a § 1985 conspiracy claim, which she dismissed. Judge Wake of the District of District of Arizona applied the doctrine in dismissing § 1983 conspiracy claims in Donahoe et al v. Arpaio et al. However, other district courts rejected its application to civil rights claims.