Law 101

Civil Rights

Civil Rights topics cover a range of laws and issues, including lawsuits against government agencies for deprivation of rights under “color of law” (Section 1983 actions), and violations by the government or private actors of the Americans with Disabilities Act, employment discrimination and more.

Claims against the government

Claims against  government agencies must generally be submitted to the agency before a lawsuit can be filed, pursuant to the California Torts Claims Act and federal Federal Torts Claims Act (28 USC § 1346 and 28 USC §§ 2671-2680). Some agencies have forms for submitting claims; for other agencies, you may need to write up a claim in the form of a letter. Links to some federal, state and local agency forms are listed below.

Research Guides

The Law Librarians have created these research guides as an aid for those starting a legal research project. These guides recommend print and electronic resources that will help you find answers to your law-related questions. Many guides provide step-by-step information, as well as sample forms, for common legal procedures.

Online resources

preamble-u-s-constitution Getting Uncle Sam to Enforce Your Civil Rights U.S. Commission on Civil Rights: where and how to file a complaint
Section 1983 Outline (Ninth Circuit, 2011) Office of Staff Attorneys, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit


The Law Librarians created these pamphlets in response to frequently asked questions on subjects not appropriate for more substantive guides.