Hofstra Law Review


Suits against government officials have increased enormously in recent years. In fiscal year 1960 the Administrative Office of the United States Courts reported 247 civil rights cases' filed in federal district courts. By fiscal year 1970 there were 3,985 such suits, an increase of 1,614%, and by fiscal year 1976, the figure had grown to 12,329, an increase of 4,991% over 1960. These figures include both civil rights suits against state officials under 42 U.S.C. § 19835 and actions against federal officials for constitutional torts after the Supreme Court's decision in Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. The Administrative Office further reports that an additional 7,460 civil rights suits were brought by prisoners against state and federal prison officials. The total of 19,789 cases was the largest category of civil litigation in the federal district courts, comprising 15% of the total filings in 1976.

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