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Felder v. Casey

United States Supreme Court
487 U.S. 131 (1988)


Bobby Felder (plaintiff) was arrested by police officers in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Felder brought a civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (§ 1983) in a Wisconsin state court against certain police officers and the city of Milwaukee (defendants), alleging racially motivated police brutality. Although Felder satisfied Wisconsin’s applicable statute of limitations, the defendants moved to dismiss because Felder failed to comply with the additional requirements in Wisconsin’s notice-of-claim statute. The notice-of-claim statute provided that a plaintiff must follow certain time-sensitive procedures before bringing any suit against a municipality or its officers in state court. Because Felder did not adhere to these additional procedural rules prior to suing the city of Milwaukee and certain of its police officers, the state court granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss. Felder appealed on the grounds that Wisconsin’s notice-of-claim statute is preempted in this case by § 1983.

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