Section 1983 provides a federal remedy for individuals deprived of their civil rights by persons acting under color of state law. In Sebastion v. United States, the Eighth Circuit held the doctrine of respondeat superior "inapplicable to an action for deprivation of civil rights." Although numerous authorities support the Sebastion decision, exceptions to the general rule have been created. In Gronquist v. Gilster, plaintiff's motion for a new trial based on the court's failure to instruct the jury on vicarious liability was denied by the appellate court. This Note analyzes Gronquist to determine whether it should fall within an exception to the Sebastion holding. In addition, two alternative causes of action are suggested which might lead to recovery under similar factual circumstances.
II. The Gronquist Decision … A. The Facts … B. Plaintiff’s Contention … C. The Court’s Rejection … D. Analysis
III. Alternative Theories of Liability … A. Direct Action against the County for Violation of a Fourteenth Amendment Right … B. Section 1983 Action against the Deputy and a Pendent State Claim against the Sheriff
James E. Papik,
Section 1988: An Alternative to Vicarious Liability Under the Civil Rights Act of 1871: Gronquist v. Gilster, No. CV77-L-3 (D. Neb. Nov. 16, 1978),
58 Neb. L. Rev. 1156
Available at: http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/nlr/vol58/iss4/8