The Supreme Court of the United States decided one case this morning:
Los Angeles County v. Humphries, No. 09-350: The Court has previously held that in a case against a municipality brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violation of a person's constitutional rights, a municipality cannot be held liable for monetary damages solely for the acts of others; the municipality may be liable only “when execution of a government’s policy or custom . . . inflicts the injury.” Monell v. New York City Dept. of Social Services., 436 U.S. 658 (1978). In Humphries, the lower court concluded that Monell’s “policy or custom” requirement does not apply to claims for prospective relief, such as an injunction or declaratory judgment. Today, however, the Supreme Court reversed the lower court, and held that civil rights plaintiffs suing a municipal entity under § 1983 must show that their injury was caused by a municipal policy or custom to obtain prospective relief as well as damages. The Court explained that whether “an action or omission is a municipality’s ‘own’ has to do with the nature of the action or omission, not with the nature of the relief that is later sought in court.”
For the Court's opinion, click here.