Although § 1983 is a federal statute allowing civil rights claims against the government, § 1988 provides that state law will supplement where federal law is silent. If your rights were violated, the civil rights attorneys at Miller Law Group can help you navigate the complexities of this area of law.
Under § 1988, the state law where the federal court sits will supplement federal law in a § 1983 suit. The most common application of state law is for the claim’s statute of limitations. While federal law does govern when the action accrues, § 1983 does not contain its own statute of limitations. Instead, federal courts will use the residual statute of limitations for personal injury actions in that state. This means that the statute of limitations for a § 1983 claim will vary from state to state. In North Carolina the residuary personal injury statute of limitations is three years from the time the claim accrues.
State law has also been applied in other areas. The Fourth Circuit has looked to state-based tolling doctrines in limitations issues. Also, the Supreme Court has held that issues of survivorship are governed by the venue’s state law.
Understanding when federal law applies to your civil rights case, and when state law applies is critical. If your rights were violated by the government, contact Miller Law Group today for a free consultation or call us at (919) 348-4361. Our civil rights attorneys can help you hold the government accountable.