Law 908 - Suing the Police

Joanna C. Schwartz

Joanna C. Schwartz

Professor of Law
B.A. Brown University, 1994
J.D. Yale, 2000
UCLA Faculty Since 2006
Course Description:

This two-credit course offers an overview of key doctrines (including municipal liability, qualified immunity, and supervisory liability), remedies (including damages and injunctive relief), and class action requirements and limitations that come to play when litigating against law enforcement.  During class sessions, students will additionally engage in several exercises involving legal research, litigation planning, oral argument, and judicial decision-making.  To understand these aspects of doctrine and practice, we will read judicial opinions, briefs and other litigation materials, and scholarly work, and repeatedly consider their application to several police misconduct cases pending or recently litigated in the Central District of California. 

Course Learning Outcomes:


If we do our work well together, you should emerge from this course with:

● an understanding of various doctrines critical to the litigation of civil rights cases--both the ways in which the doctrines have been broadly defined by the Supreme Court and some examples of lower court applications of the doctrine;

● an understanding of the policy goals that animate civil rights doctrines, and the ways in which those doctrines further and inhibit those goals;

● an understanding of the ways in which lawyers deploy procedural rules as part of their litigation strategy, and the consequences of various strategic choices;  

● the ability to think strategically about how to frame and pursue a police misconduct civil rights action; and

● the ability to work collaboratively with classmates on exercises exploring various aspects of civil litigation.

Course Information:
​Faculty Term Course Section ​Schedule ​Units Requisite Satisfies SAW
Joanna Schwartz 20S 908 LEC 1 Unscheduled 2.0 Yes No
  Prerequisite: Law 145. Civil Procedure. Course meets 1/6 - 1/10 and 1/13 - 1/15 from 1:30 - 4:45pm in room 2357.