What is it?
An individual has a viable claim against the government when she is able to prove that the government took action against her due to her exercise of a constitutional right. There are three basic things in all retaliation claims:
- Constitutionally protected conduct
- Retaliatory action sufficient to deter a person of ordinary firmness from exercising her constitutional rights; and
- A causal link between the constitutionally protected conduct and the retaliatory act.
What is the consequence?
When a state actor retaliates against you because of your exercise of a constitutional right, you may seek:
- An injunction (a court order designed to stop the civil rights violation)
- Money for the injuries caused by the state actor
- Punitive damages (relief designed to punish the state actor for the abuses)
- Compensatory damages for emotional pain and suffering
- Attorney fees (state actors pay when you prevail)