Fall 2014 Course Schedule

Government Liability (LAW-873-001)

Meets: 01:30 PM - 02:50 PM (TTh) - Room 527

Enrolled: 13 / Limit: 18

Administrator Access


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This course will examine the theoretical and practical considerations that arise in cases alleging civil liability on the part of governments, or employees of governments. It will begin with an analysis of the basic doctrinal limitation on governmental liability C the sovereign immunity doctrine – and will discuss both the historical and theoretical development of the doctrine, and its most important representation in our legal system: the Eleventh Amendment to the United States Constitution. The course will then focus on three important exceptions to the basic sovereign immunity doctrine: the Federal Tort Claims Act, Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act of 1871, and the line of cases, beginning with Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, which allow for claims alleging the commission of constitutional torts by federal government officials. In addition to its focus on the development of the sovereign immunity doctrine and the impact of these three main exceptions, we will also address the most important practical considerations that arise in civil cases involving the government, and the major strategic issues that must be addressed by litigators on both sides of these cases. We will also focus on the potential for successful solo and small firm practice for attorneys in this area.

Textbooks and Other Materials

The textbook information on this page was provided by the instructor. Students should use this information when considering purchases from the AU Campus Store or other vendors. Students may check to determine if books are currently available for purchase online.

Sisk, Litigating with the Federal Government
(Second Edition, Foundation Press 2007)
ISBN: 9781599411811

Jeffries, Karlan, Low, Rutherglen
Civil Rights Actions: Enforcing the Constitution
(Foundation Press 2013)
ISBN: 9781609302757

First Class Readings

Not available at this time.


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