Civil Rights Litigation

The Civil Rights Litigation Clinic (CRLC) focuses on teaching the basic skills needed to be a civil rights lawyer. Students are involved in the litigation of pending cases involving a range of substantive issues under federal and California civil rights law. 

Students in CRLC
The Civil Rights Litigation Clinic and Criminal Justice Clinic won a major appellate victory in a case filed in February 2021 on behalf of local taxpayers against Orange County and Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer. Read more >

Students in the Civil Rights Litigation Clinic handle court hearings, depositions and other litigation events. The clinic uses the cases and weekly class sessions to teach the substance of civil rights law focusing on constitutional claims brought under 42 U.S.C. §1983 and similar California statutes.

The CRLC recently helped achieve three significant appellate victories. First, the Eleventh Circuit overturned summary judgment in a human rights case, Doe v. Chiquita, in which thousands of victims of extrajudicial execution in Colombia are seeking to hold Chiquita responsible for its involvement in the violence. The victory paved the way for jury trials starting in early 2024. Next, the California Court of Appeal issued a major published opinion allowing the CRLC’s challenge to the Orange County District Attorney’s DNA collection program to proceed. In this action, CRLC students, working in partnership with the Criminal Justice Clinic, are challenging the constitutionality of the DA’s collection of DNA from individuals in misdemeanor cases. Finally, the Ninth Circuit issued a broad-ranging opinion allowing a civil case under the Alien Tort Statute to proceed against Cisco for its alleged complicity in the Chinese government’s persecution of Falun Gong members.  

CRLC students also worked on many other cases over the past year, including challenges to police misconduct arising from the George Floyd protests in Los Angeles in 2020.

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