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4 PJI 6.4 | Third Circuit (US)
HB-PJI-CA03-04S0604 Download

4 PJI 6.4 | SECTION 1983 – MUNICIPALITIES – STATUTE, ORDINANCE OR REGULATION

In this case, there was a [statute] [ordinance] [regulation] that authorized the action which forms the basis for [plaintiff’s] claim. I instruct you to find that [municipality] caused the action at issue.
COMMENT It is clear that a municipality’s legislative action constitutes government policy. “No one has ever doubted... that a municipality may be liable under § 1983 for a single decision by its properly constituted legislative body – whether or not that body had taken similar action in the past or intended to do so in the future – because even a single decision by such a body unquestionably constitutes an act of official government policy.” Pembaur v. City of Cincinnati, 475 U.S. 469, 480 (1986). Likewise, if the legislative body delegates authority to a municipal agency or board, an action by that agency or board also constitutes government policy. See, e.g., Monell v. Department of Social Services of City of New York, 436 U.S. 658, 660-61 & n.2 (1978) (describing actions by Department of Social Services and Board of Education of the City of New York); id. at 694 (holding that “this case unquestionably involves official policy”).

On the other hand, where an ordinance is facially valid, the mere existence of the ordinance itself will not provide a basis for municipal liability for a claim concerning discriminatory enforcement. See Brown v. City of Pittsburgh, 586 F.3d 263, 292-94 (3d Cir. 2009).

(Last Updated July 2019)

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