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APRIL 20-21, 2022

Liability arising out of §1983 claims continues to present challenges for courts across the country, and the Supreme Court has a large impact in this dynamic area of law.

Join us for this two-day virtual conference to get up-to-date on the latest cases, trends, and strategies affecting §1983 litigation. You'll have the opportunity to examine both the law of §1983 as well as the litigation strategies that underlie successful cases. Experts in the field address the most important issues and provide wisdom for you as you tackle this year’s cases, whether you represent plaintiffs or defendants. As always, the conference provides an analytical approach to problems and offers practical advice about how to solve them.

Eligible for 11.25 hours of general CLE credit, including 1.25 hours of ethics 

PROGRAM SCHEDULE DAY 1 - Wednesday, April 20, 2022
8:50am - 9:00am

Welcome and Introduction
Sheldon H. Nahmod, University Distinguished Professor of Law Emeritus, Chicago-Kent College of Law

9:00am - 10:15am

The Section 1983 Claim: The Basics
Sheldon H. Nahmod, University Distinguished Professor of Law Emeritus, Chicago-Kent College of Law

This session will discuss:

• Section 1983 and Fourteenth Amendment violations
• First Amendment retaliatory arrest claims

Fifth Amendment/Miranda claims

• Cause in fact: the Mt. Healthy burden-shift
• Proximate cause after Mendez
• Heck v. Humphrey and existing convictions
• Section 1983 malicious prosecution claims after Manuel

10:15am - 10:30am

10:30am - 11:45am

Individual Immunities
Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean and Jesse H. Choper Distinguished Professor of Law, University of California Berkeley, School of Law

Any time there is a claim for money damages under Section 1983 or Bivens, there always is an immunity defense, either absolute or qualified immunity.  What is the law as to each and what are the current cutting edge issues?

11:45am - 12:00pm

12:00pm - 1:15pm

Municipal Liability
Karen M. Blum, Professor Emerita and Research Professor of Law, Suffolk University Law School

In this session, Professor Blum will address the following:

  • Methods of Establishing Monell Liability
  • What’s an Official Policy and Whose Policy is it?
  • Municipal Liability Claims Post-Connick
  • Municipal Liability Absent Individual Liability
  • Impact of Qualified Immunity on Municipal Liability

1:15pm - 1:45pm

1:45pm - 3:00pm

Substantive Due Process
Rosalie B. Levinson, Professor of Law Emerita, Valparaiso University School of Law

In this session, Rosalie Levinson will address the following:

  • Incorporation of the Bill of Rights 
  • Protection of non-textual rights from arbitrary legislation
  • Protection from grossly excessive punitive damage awards
  • Protection against abuse of power by government officials 

3:00pm - 3:15pm

3:15pm - 4:30pm

The Supreme Court's Term: Recent and Forthcoming Decisions (Pre-Recorded Session)
Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean and Jesse H. Choper Distinguished Professor of Law, University of California Berkeley School of Law

The Supreme Court has an extraordinary number of potential blockbuster cases on its docket concerning topics such as abortion, federal jurisdiction, gun rights, and separation of church and state.  What are the most important cases for Section 1983 litigators from October Term 2020 and October Term 2021.


PROGRAM SCHEDULE DAY 2 - Thursday, April 21, 2022
9:00am - 10:15am

Religion Clauses, RFRA and RLUIPA
Sheldon H. Nahmod, University Distinguished Professor of Law Emeritus, Chicago-Kent College of Law

This session will discuss:

  • The Establishment Clause: prayer, religious displays, financial
  • support for education and the Court's renewed interest
  • The Free Exercise Clause: the all-important Smith (peyote) decision, the not-so-hidden return to strict scrutiny and the Covid-19 cases
  • Congressional responses to Smith: RLUIPA and RFRA
  • RFRA struck down as applied to state and local governments: City of Boerne
  • RFRA as applied to the federal government: the Hobby Lobby decision

10:15am - 10:30am

10:30am - 11:45am

Practical Considerations in Section 1983 Litigation
John B. Murphey, Partner, Odelson, Sterk, Murphey, Frazier & McGrath, Ltd.

This session will cover:

  • Case analysis from both plaintiff’s and defendant’s perspective
  • Discovery strategies
  • Settlement: Evaluation and considerations for settlement conferences
  • Qualified immunity – Is the motion available; when it is available; under what circumstances can the denial of a qualified immunity motion be appealed?
  • Pre-trial order and jury instruction issues
  • Trial strategies and evidence issues
  • Closing argument considerations
  • Post-trial motion practice

11:45am - 12:15pm

12:15pm - 1:30pm

Recent Trends in Employment Law
Jamie S. Franklin, Assistant Clinical Professor of Law and Supervisor of Litigation Clinic, Chicago-Kent College of Law

In this session, Jamie Franklin will address the following:

  • Shifting standards in proving discrimination cases
  • Summary judgment in employment cases
  • How arbitration agreements have changed employees’ rights
  • Class action waivers: here to stay
  • Section 1981 update

1:30pm - 1:45pm

1:45pm - 3:00pm

Attorney's Fees and Related Ethical Issues
Gerald M. Birnberg, Founding Partner, Williams, Birnberg & Andersen LLP

In this session, Gerald Birnberg will address the following:

  • Issues in recently decided Supreme Court  attorney’s fees cases (changes in law regarding nominal damages and impact on availability of fees; standards controlling awards to prevailing defendants; fees for modest injunctive relief without money damages; how reasonable fee is determined (lodestar)
  • Ethical issues in §1983 cases (including Rule  68 issues, conflicts of interest, frivolous claims)


Click here for information about our Speakers


This conference is eligible for up to 11.25 hours of General MCLE credit, 1.25 Ethics credit in 60-minute states, and 13.5 credits in 50-minutes states.

Credit hours are estimated and are subject to each state’s approval and credit rounding rules.

Chicago-Kent College of Law will seek accreditation for this conference in the following states: CA, IL, IN, MO, NY, OH, PA, TX, and WI.

States typically decide whether a program qualifies for MCLE credit in their jurisdiction 4-8 weeks after the program application is submitted. For many live events, credit approval is not received before the program.

TO RECEIVE CLE CREDIT: If you have met the participation requirements, you will receive a personalized CLE affidavit link from within 72 hours after you have confirmed your attendance in CE21, under the certificate tab. Please check your spam or junk folders if you do not receive an email. Please note only one affidavit link is needed for the entire virtual conference. Once you complete the affidavit, you will be able to download your certificate(s) of attendance and you will also receive them via email from


Early Registration:
through 4/5/22
Regular Registration:
4/6 - 4/20/22
Individual Rate: $450/person $525/person
Government Discount*: $400/person $400/Person
Chicago-Kent Alumni Rate*: $400/Person $400/Person


*To obtain the government discount, you must register with a government email address. CLICK HERE to request the government or Chicago-Kent alumni discount code.   

A special discount is available for all attendees who have attended this conference for 10 or more years, consecutively. CLICK HERE to request the special discount code.     





EMAIL: | PHONE: 312.906.5090

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