In these consolidated cases, Jarius Piphus and Silas Brisco (plaintiffs) were suspended from public schools without being given a hearing and/or opportunity to be heard on the merits of the suspensions. The district court held that the plaintiffs were suspended without procedural due process in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. However, the district court did not award the plaintiffs any damages. The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit reversed and remanded, holding that even if the suspensions were justified, the plaintiffs should be entitled to recover substantial “nonpunitive” damages. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.