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This monograph analyzes the fundamental issues that arise in litigation under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the statute for redressing constitutional and federal statutory violations, and the case law interpreting those issues. Research for this first edition concluded with the 1997-1998 Supreme Court term. For a more in-depth treatment of § 1983 lawsuits, one should consult two leading treatises: Section 1983 Litigation (3d ed. 1997), by Martin A. Schwartz and John E. Kirklin, and Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Litigation (4th ed. 1998), by Sheldon H. Nahmod. We would like to thank Judge Rya W. Zobel, director of the Federal Judicial Center, Judge Thomas F. Hogan (District of the District of Columbia), Judge Virginia M. Morgan (Eastern District of Michigan), and Magistrate Judge Jacob Hagopian (District of Rhode Island) for reviewing drafts of this manuscript. We also deeply appreciate the excellent editorial support from Kris Markarian of the FJC.