Consumer Protection Laws

1. NYS Insurance Law

NYCRR216.6C 216.0 Preamble

  1. Section 2601 of the Insurance Law prohibits insurers doing business in this State from engaging in unfair claims settlement practices and provides that, if any insurer performs any of the acts or practices pro-scribed by that section without just cause and with such frequency as to indicate a general business practice, then those acts shall constitute unfair claims settlement practices. This Part contains claim practice rules, which insurers must apply to the processing of all first- and third-party claims arising under policies subject to this Part. In addition, specific rules are provided for the processing of first-party motor vehicle physical damage claims and third-party property damage claims arising under motor vehicle liability insurance con-tracts.
  2. This Part is issued for the purpose of defining certain minimum standards, which, if violated without just cause and with such frequency as to indicate a general business practice, would constitute unfair claims settlement practices. This Part is not exclusive, and other acts, not herein specified, may also be found to constitute such practices.
  3. Section 3411(i) of the Insurance Law has been implemented by section 216.7 of this Part.
  4. Section 3412 of the Insurance Law has been implemented by section 216.8 of this Part.
  5. Claim practice principles to be followed by all insurers.
    1. Have as your basic goal the prompt and fair settlement of all claims.
    2. Assist the claimant in the processing of a claim.
    3. Do not demand verification of facts unless there are good reasons to do so. When verification of facts is necessary, it should be done as expeditiously as possible.
    4. Clearly inform the claimant of the insurer's position regarding any disputed matter.
    5. Respond promptly, when response is indicated, to all communications from insured’s, claimants, attorneys and any other interested persons.
    6. Every insurer shall distribute copies of this regulation to every person directly responsible for the supervision, handling and settlement of claims subject to this regulation, and every insurer shall satisfy itself that all such personnel are thoroughly conversant with, and are complying with, this regulation.

Section statutory authority: Insurance Law, § 2601, § 3411, § 3412 Statutory authority: Insurance Law, §§ 201, 301, 305(a), 2601, 2610, 3411, 3412 Repealed and added 216.0 on 5/12/82; amended 216.0(a) on 10/01/84; amended 216.0(c) on 10/01/84; amended 216.0(d) on 10/01/84.

§ 216.1 Definitions
The definitions set forth in this section shall govern the construction of the terms used in this Part.

  1. Agent shall mean any person, firm, association or corporation authorized to act as the representative of an insurer and licensed pursuant to the provisions of article 21 of the Insurance Law. With respect to group life and group accident and health policies, the group policyholder shall be the agent of the insurer to the extent such policyholder has been authorized to act on behalf of such insurer.
  2. Claimant shall mean any person who attempts to obtain a benefit from an insurer.
  3. Investigation shall mean any procedure adopted by an insurer to determine whether to accept
    or reject a claim.
  4. Business day shall mean a day other than Saturday, Sunday or a New York State legal holiday.
  5. Notice of claim shall mean any notification, whether in writing or otherwise, to an insurer or its agent, by any claimant who reasonably apprises the insurer of the facts pertinent to a claim.

Section statutory authority: Insurance Law, § A21
Statutory authority: Insurance Law, §§ 201, 301, 305(a), 2601, 2610, 3411, 3412
Repealed and added 216.1 on 5/12/82; amended 216.1(a) on 10/01/84.

§ 216.2 Applicability

This Part shall apply to all insurers licensed to do business in this State.

  1. It shall not be applicable to policies of workers' compensation insurance issued pursuant to the provisions of section 1113(a) (15) of the Insurance Law; credit insurance issued pursuant to the provisions of section 1113(a) (17); title insurance issued pursuant to the provisions of section 1113(a) (18); inland marine insurance issued pursuant to the provisions of section 1113(a) (20); unless such insurance is subject to the pro-visions of section 3425 of the Insurance Law; and ocean marine insurance issued pursuant to the provisions of section 1113(a) (20) and (21). 3
  2. Subdivisions (a) and (b) of section 216.6 of this Part shall not be applicable to policies of life insurance written pursuant to the provisions of section 1113(a) (1) of the Insurance Law. Subdivision (b) of section 216.6 of this Part shall not be applicable to accident and health policies written pursuant to the provisions of section 1113(a) (3) and the provisions of article 43 of the Insurance Law.
  3. Sections 216.4 and 216.5 and subdivision (c) of section 216.6 of this Part shall not be applicable to policies of accident and health insurance written pursuant to the provisions of section 1113(a)(3) and the provisions of article 43 of the Insurance Law, where the claimant is neither a policyholder, a certificate holder under a policy of group insurance, nor a relative or member of the household of such policy or certificate holder.
  4. Subdivision (b) of section 216.3, subdivision (b) of section 216.4 and subdivision (a) of section 216.5 of this Part shall not be applicable to policies of insurance where the claimant is represented by a public adjuster or a person acting in the capacity of a public adjuster pursuant to the provisions of article 21 of the Insurance Law.

Section statutory authority: Insurance Law, § 1113, § 3425, § A43, § A21
Statutory authority: Insurance Law, §§ 201, 301, 305(a), 2601, 2610, 3411, 3412
Repealed and added 216.2 on 5/12/82; amended 216.2 on 10/01/84.

§ 216.3 Misrepresentation of policy provisions

  1. No insurer shall knowingly misrepresent to a claimant the terms, benefits or advantages of the insurance policy pertinent to the claim.
  2. No insurer shall deny any element of a claim on the grounds of a specific policy provision, condition or exclusion unless reference to such provision, condition or exclusion is made in writing.
  3. Any payment, settlement or offer of settlement which, without explanation, does not include all amounts which should be included according to the claim filed by the claimant and investigated by the insurer shall, provided it is within the policy limits, be deemed to be a communication which misrepresents a pertinent policy provision.

Statutory authority: Insurance Law, §§ 201, 301, 305(a), 2601, 2610, 3411, 3412
Repealed and added 216.3 on 8/15/82.

§ 216.4 Failure to acknowledge pertinent communications

  1. Every insurer, upon notification of a claim, shall, within 15 business days, acknowledge the receipt of such notice. Such acknowledgment may be in writing. If an acknowledgment is made by other means, an appropriate notation shall be made in the claim file of the insurer. Notification given to an agent of an insurer shall be notification to the insurer. If notification is given to an agent of an insurer, such agent may acknowledge receipt of such notice. Unless otherwise provided by law or contract, notice to an agent of an insurer shall not be notice to the insurer if such agent notifies the claimant that the agent is not authorized to receive notices of claims.
  2. An appropriate reply shall be made within 15 business days on all other pertinent communications. 4
  3. Every insurer shall establish an internal department specifically designated to investigate and resolve complaints filed with the Insurance Department and to take action necessitated as a result of its complaint investigation findings. Such internal department is to operate in a staff capacity to the entire company with authority to question and change the position taken in individual instances or company practices generally. Responsibility for such department is to be vested in a corporate officer who is also to be entrusted with the duty of executing the Insurance Department's directives. If the Insurance Department requests the appearance of an insurer representative to discuss a pending matter, the individual whom the company sends shall be authorized to make any determination warranted after all the facts are elicited at such conference. Each insurer must furnish the superintendent with the name and title of the corporate officer responsible for its internal consumer services department.
  4. Every insurer, upon receipt of any inquiry from the Insurance Department respecting a claim, shall, within 10 business days, furnish the department with the available information requested respecting the claim.
  5. As part of its complaint handling function, an insurer's consumer services department shall maintain an ongoing central log to register and monitor all complaint activity.

Statutory authority: Insurance Law, §§ 201, 301, 305(a), 2601, 2610, 3411, 3412
Repealed and added 216.4 on 5/12/82; amended 216.4 on 10/01/84.

§ 216.5 Standards for prompt investigation of claims

  1. Every insurer shall establish procedures to commence an investigation of any claim filed by a claim-ant, or by a claimant's authorized representative, within 15 business days of receipt of notice of claim. An insurer shall furnish to every claimant, or claimant's authorized representative, a notification of all items, statements and forms, if any, which the insurer reasonably believes will be required of the claimant, within 15 business days of receiving notice of the claim. A claim filed with an agent of an insurer shall be deemed to have been filed with the insurer unless, consistent with law or contract, such agent notifies the person filing the claim that the agent is not authorized to receive notices of claim.
  2. Where there is a reasonable basis, supported by specific information available for review by Insurance Department examiners, which the claimant has fraudulently caused or contributed to the loss, the insurer is relieved from the requirements of this Part. The provisions of this Part are suspended for the period required to investigate the alleged fraudulent aspects of the claim. The insurer must submit the report required by Part 86 (Insurance Frauds Bureau) of this Title when an insurer determines that a loss is suspect.

§ 216.6 Standards for prompt, fair and equitable settlements

  1. In any case where there is no dispute as to coverage, it shall be the duty of every insurer to offer claimants, or their authorized representatives, amounts which are fair and reasonable as shown by its investigation of the claim, providing the amounts so offered are within policy limits and in accordance with the policy provisions.
  2. Actual cash value, unless otherwise specifically defined by law or policy, means the lesser of the amounts for which the claimant can reasonably be expected to:
    1. Repair the property to its condition immediately prior to the loss; or
    2. Replace it with an item substantially identical to the item damaged. Such amount shall include all monies paid or payable as sales taxes on the item repaired or replaced. This shall not be construed to pre-vent an insurer from issuing a policy insuring against physical damage to property, where the amount of damages to be paid in the event of a total loss to the property is a specified dollar amount.
  3. Within 15 business days after receipt by the insurer of a properly executed proof of loss and/or receipt of all items, statements and forms which the insurer requested from the claimant, the claimant, or the claim-ant's authorized representative, shall be advised in writing of the acceptance or rejection of the claim by the insurer. When the insurer suspects that the claim involves arson, the foregoing 15 business days shall be read as 30 business days pursuant to section 2601 of the Insurance Law. If the insurer needs more time to deter-mine whether the claim should be accepted or rejected, it shall so notify the claimant, or the claimant's authorized representative, within 15 business days after receipt of such proof of loss, or requested information. Such notification shall include the reasons additional time is needed for investigation. If the claim remains unsettled, unless the matter is in litigation or arbitration, the insurer shall, 90 days from the date of the initial letter setting forth the need for further time to investigate, and every 90 days thereafter, send to the claimant, or the claimant's authorized representative, a letter setting forth the reasons additional time is needed for investigation. If the claim is accepted, in whole or in part, the claimant, or the claimant's authorized representative, shall be advised in writing of the amount offered. In any case where the claim is rejected, the insurer shall notify the claimant, or the claimant's authorized representative, in writing, of any applicable policy pro-vision limiting the claimant's right to sue the insurer.
  4. The company shall inform the claimant in writing as soon as it is determined that there was no policy in force or that it is disclaiming liability because of a breach of policy provisions by the policyholder. The insurer must also explain its specific reasons for disclaiming coverage.
  5. In any case where there is no dispute as to one or more elements of a claim, payment for such element(s) shall be made notwithstanding the existence of disputes as to other elements of the claim where such payment can be made without prejudice to either party.
  6. Every insurer shall pay any amount finally agreed upon in settlement of all or part of any claim not later than five business days from the receipt of such agreement by the insurer, or from the date of the performance by the claimant of any condition set by such agreement, whichever is later, except as provided in section 331 of the Insurance Law as respects liens by tax districts on fire insurance proceeds.

2. Sherman Anti-Trust Act. Clayton Act

In 1890 it was very obvious that the free enterprise system in America was working well at providing employment and security for most in America. The big problem became that a few entities managed to acquire too much power and wealth, the result of this; it was damaging the very thing our constitution had promised us, a free and open country with opportunities for all. Not only did a few large industries, banks, and other interests come to dominate the market to the extent that harmed the economy, but also these entities worked closely with each other. The Sherman Act and President Teddy Roosevelt’s trust busting, prohibited monopolies that abused the system. If there was one act that really assured the growth of the middle class in America it was this one. Small people could dream big, could begin businesses, and or employment, and enjoy the benefits of a controlled free enterprise system. In addition to this act The Clayton Act was attached to it. If a monopoly did not adhere to the Sherman Act there were substantial fines. If a monopoly was really bad The Clayton Act would kick in and the criminal monopoly would pay triple damages.

It took a while, but The Sherman Act really changed the course of America. This act still exists, in 2012, it is still needed, and it has never been repealed. The problem is our federal government no longer pursues violators. When was the last time you read about a bank, an industrial concern, or most importantly, and insurance company being indicted or investigated for violations of this act?

We Americans pay for congressmen and many government agencies to support our Constitution and all the Federal Acts that come as a result of our Constitution. We Americans pay to have our rights defended. We are not getting our money’s worth. Antitrust Act (Sherman Act,[1] July 2, 1890, ch. 647, 26 Stat. 209, 15 U.S.C. § 1-7) was the first United States Federal statute to limit cartels and monopolies. It falls under antitrust law.

The Act provides: "Every contract, combination in the form of trust or otherwise, or conspiracy, in restraint of trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, is declared to be illegal".[2] The Act also provides: "Every person who shall monopolize, or attempt to monopolize, or combine or conspire with any other person or persons, to monopolize any part of the trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, shall be deemed guilty of a felony [. . . ]"[3] The Act put responsibility upon government attorneys and district courts to pursue and investigate trusts, companies and organizations suspected of violating the Act. The Clayton Act (1914) extended the right to sue under the antitrust laws to "any person who shall be injured in his business or property by reason of anything forbidden in the antitrust laws."[4] Under the Clayton Act, private parties may sue in U.S. district court and should they prevail, they may be awarded treble damages and the cost of suit, including reasonable attorney's fees. [5]

History

The Sherman Act was passed in 1890 and was named after its author, Senator John Sherman, an Ohio Republican, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. After passing in the Senate on April 8, 1890 by a vote of 51-1, the legislation passed unanimously (242- 0) in the House of Representatives on June 20, 1890, and was then signed into law by President Benjamin Harrison on July 2, 1890.[6]

The Sherman Act was not specifically intended to prevent the dominance of an industry by a specific company, despite misconceptions to the contrary. According to Senator George Hoar, an author of the bill, any company that "got the whole business because nobody could do it as well as he could" would not be in violation of the act. The law attempts to prevent the artificial raising of prices by restriction of trade or supply.[9] In other words, innocent monopoly, or monopoly achieved solely by merit, is perfectly legal, but acts by a monopolist to artificially preserve his status, or nefarious dealings to create a monopoly, are not.

3. McCarran- Ferguson Act of 1945

For more than any other reason this act came about as a result of insurance companies sustaining huge loses because of having to insure goods and services in a time of war. Needless to say huge loses were sustained. Insurance companies appealed to the federal government to let each state control its own insurance requirements.

In its inception this act provided the relief that the insurance companies sought. Gradually insurance bylaws were written for all fifty states. These laws are basically the same. These laws are well versed and provide protection for insurance clients in each and every state. It is ironic that McKinsey Consulting actually wrote these laws. When McKinsey went bad it was very easy to instruct their students, such as Allstate, the ways to circumvent the insurance laws that came as a result of the above act.

The real danger of this McCarran-Ferguson Act is that it is used as an exemption for insurance companies from The Sherman Anti-Trust Act. This act was never written for this purpose. The large American insurance companies in the year 2012 are not the suffering small companies of 1945. Presently the insurance monopoly works closely with each and every other large insurance company, big industry, and Wall Street. In effect this now becomes a mega monopoly, which is much more harmful to America than the monopolies of 1890. In fact, what has occurred, with increasing regularity, that many insurance companies doing business in America are international companies. These international companies are also closely affiliated with “mega banks”. Anti-trust laws are unique to America, they protect us, and we need them now more than ever. As a result of the depression a very important act, Glass-Steagall Act, came about. The importance of this act is that it clearly separated investment banking, regular banks, and insurance companies from working together. This act has never been repealed and we must implement it and follow it for our salvation.

There are two kinds of monopolies: “vertical” and “horizontal”. A vertical monopoly means that one entity gets complete control of any product or good from its inception to its final marketplace. A big clause in The Sherman Act is restraint of trade. What is wrong with a vertical monopoly is the company or entity that initiates it eliminates competition throughout the whole marketplace. A horizontal monopoly means that companies of the same being conspire together to aid and abet each other and eliminate competition.

Some examples of the abuse of The Sherman Act utilized by insurance companies are large insurance companies (monopolies) come into a state and request and receive tax breaks, which should not be given to them. GEICO has done this in New York State. Think about what this does to all the small, honest, law-abiding, insurance providers who have for years served their clients well. The small companies have provided employment, paid their taxes, have managed to survive and cover all their overhead. Why would a large company be granted a tax break to do business where they really aren’t needed? They pay politicians.

Allstate, for example, has a very strong vertical monopoly in New York. The automobile collision repair shops began to feel the brunt of their monopolistic power many years ago. Allstate would come into a community, subsidize one collision shop, steer all repairs to that shop, and gradually eliminate any other existing shops. Allstate would have control, not only of what they were going to pay the client for damages, but also what they would pay the collision shop for the service provided. Normally, after an accident, an insurance client could procure the best repair at the best price to repair the vehicle. With Allstate subsidizing their own store they discourage, strongly, the clients right to benefit from the free enterprise system. It gets worse. Not only do large insurance companies, like Allstate, subsidize a store they also began to own the store, or repair shops. What this means is Allstate can offer lower quality parts for the repair, make the customer accept them, and make the costumer do business at the Allstate facility. Many times a costumer prefers to go elsewhere than the company store. It then becomes increasingly hard to be paid on time and or get the services of a free marketplace. As a result of this policy many small businesses disappear, employment is lost, and the state has more people on public entitlement handouts. If eliminating competition provided lower insurance costs for the client and better service it might not be so bad, however this is not the case. Insurance costs continue to rise and benefits continue to decline. A great deal of time and money has been spent throughout America by collision and repair shops affected by this policy. in these sates that allow insurance to stifle competition, like NY, all the entities who have suffered as a result of this and who have complained have been told the same thing;” we are exempt from the Sherman Anti-Trust Act and can do what we please.”

An example the danger of a horizontal monopoly is companies that participate in this are basically conspiring to fix the sale price of insurance and the services provided for the insurance. In a free marketplace a company offers a good or service, it sells or doesn’t sell, based on the law of supply and demand. In this horizontal monopoly the major players in the monopoly know they control the marketplace so they know that people have no choice but to buy their product. They know they control the insurance policy’s payouts for damages so they can minimize their loses. Who spends the most money on advertising, a few large insurance companies or several small ones? The large insurance companies advertise and seduce the customer into believing there is competition between them, this in fact is not the case. Long before they advertise, the large insurance companies know that they have paid politicians, that they have compromised regulatory agencies and that they are in a position to control the market.

The McCarran-Ferguson Act of 1945 (15 U.S.C.A. § 1011 et seq.) gives states the authority to regulate the "business of insurance" without interference from federal regulation, unless federal law specifically provides otherwise.

The act provides that the "business of insurance, and every person engaged therein, shall be subject to the laws of the several States which relate to the regulation or taxation of such business." Congress passed the McCarran- Ferguson Act primarily in response to the Supreme Court case of United States v. South-Eastern Underwriters Ass'n, 322 U.S. 533, 64 S. Ct. 1162, 88 L. Ed. 1440 (1944). Before the South-Eastern Under-writers case, the issuing of an insurance policy was not thought to be a transaction in commerce, which would subject the insurance industry to federal regulation under the Commerce Clause. In South-Eastern Underwriters, the Court held that an insurance company that conducted substantial business across state lines was engaged in interstate commerce and thus was subject to federal antitrust regulations. Within a year of South-Eastern Underwriters, Congress enacted the McCarran-Ferguson Act in response to states' concerns that they no longer had broad authority to regulate the insurance industry in their boundaries.

The McCarran-Ferguson Act provides that state law shall govern the regulation of insurance and that no act of Congress shall invalidate any state law unless the federal law specifically relates to insurance. The act thus mandates that a federal law that does not specifically regulate the business of insurance will not PREEMPT a state law enacted for that purpose. A state law has the purpose of regulating the insurance industry if it has the "end, intention or aim of adjusting, managing, or controlling the business of insurance" (U.S. Dept. of Treasury v. Fabe, 508 U.S. 491, 113 S. Ct. 2202, 124 L. Ed. 2d 449 [1993]).

The act does not define the key phrase "business of insurance." Courts, however, analyze three factors when determining whether a particular commercial practice constitutes the business of insurance: whether the practice has the effect of transferring or spreading a policy-holder's risk, whether the practice is an integral part of the policy relationship between the insurer and the insured, and whether the practice is limited to entities within the insurance industry (Union Labor Life Insurance Co. v. Pireno, 458 U.S. 119, 102 S. Ct. 3002, 73 L. Ed. 2d 647 [1982]).

The McCarran-Ferguson Act does not prevent the federal government from regulating the insurance industry. It provides only that states have broad authority to regulate the insurance industry unless the federal government enacts legislation specifically intended to regulate insurance and to displace state law. The McCarran-Ferguson Act also provides that the SHERMAN ANTI-TRUST ACT OF 1890, 15 U.S.C.A. § 1 et seq., the CLAYTON ACT OF 1914, 15 U.S.C.A. § 12 et seq., and the Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914, 15 U.S.C.A. §§ 41–51, apply to the business of insurance to the extent that such business is not regulated by state law.

Courts have distinguished between the general regulatory exemption of the McCarran-Ferguson Act and the separate exemption provided for the Sherman Act, which is the federal Antitrust Law. Cases involving the applicability of the Sherman Act to state-regulated insurance practices take a narrower approach to the phrase "business of insurance" and apply the three criteria set forth in the Pireno case. In other cases that do not involve the federal antitrust exemption of the McCarran-Ferguson Act, the Supreme Court takes a broader approach. It has thus defined laws enacted for the purpose of regulating the business of insurance to include laws "aimed at protecting or regulating the performance of an insurance contract" (Fabe). Insurance activities that fall within this broader definition of the business of insurance include those that involve the relationship between insurer and insured, the type of policies issued, and the policies' reliability, interpretation, and enforcement (Securities & Exchange Commission v. National Securities, 393 U.S. 453, 89 S. Ct. 564, 21 L. Ed. 2d 668 [1969]).

4. 1983 Civil Rights Act


The Civil Action for Deprivation of Rights Act, commonly known as Section 1983, was enacted as part of the Civil Rights Act. The Act was intended to provide a private remedy for violations of federal law, it reads:

Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress, except that in any action brought against a judicial officer for an act or omission taken in such officer's judicial capacity, injunctive relief shall not be granted unless a declaratory decree was violated or declaratory relief was unavailable. For the purposes of this section, any Act of Congress applicable exclusively to the District of Columbia shall be considered to be a statute of the District of Columbia.

The Supreme Court has interpreted this Act to allow liability to attach where government officials act outside the scope of the authority granted to them by state law.

Overview of Section 1983:

  1. Only persons under the statute are subject to liability, not the state, but a state officer can be sued in his official capacity for injunctive relief. Interestingly, a suit against a government official acting in his/her official capacity represents nothing more than a suit against the state. Individual employees of federal, state and local government may be sued for damages or injunctive relief.
  2. The definition of acting under the color of state law requires that the defendant have exercised power "possessed by virtue of state law and made possible only because the wrongdoer is clothed with then authority of state law" -- such actions may result in liability even if the defendant abuses the position given to him by the state.
  3. There is no state of mind requirement for Section 1983 claims but there must be a causal connection between the defendant's actions and the harm that results. In order to hold a local government liable under section 1983, the Supreme Court has interpreted this causation element to require that the harm be the result of action on the part of the government entity that implemented or executed a policy statement, ordinance, regulation, or decision officially adopted and promulgated by that body's officers, or the result of the entity's custom.
  4. Section 1983 is not itself a source of substantive rights, it merely provides a method for the vindication of rights elsewhere conferred in the United States Constitution and Laws. Therefore, a plaintiff may prevail only if he can demonstrate that he was deprived of rights secured by the United States Constitution or federal statutes.
  5. There is no requirement that the plaintiff sue in federal court because state courts have concurrent jurisdiction, and the usual rule is exhaustion of administrative and judicial state remedies is not a prerequisite to a section 1983 action. With respect to the extent of damages available, the Supreme Court has noted that the basic purpose of a section 1983 damages award is to compensate the victims of official misconduct, and therefore held that there is no limit on actual damages if they can be proven. But where they are not proved, only nominal damages of $1.00 may be awarded. Punitive damages may also be awarded, but not against a municipality. Injunctive relief is also permitted.
  6. States and state agencies are entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity in federal court, but local governments have no immunity from damages flowing from their constitutional violations, and may not assert the good faith of its agents as a defense to liability.
  7. The Civil Rights Acts does not contain a statute of limitations for section 1983 actions, however the Supreme Court has held that the appropriate statute of limitations to be adopted is the state statute applicable to personal injury actions.
  8. The Civil Rights Attorney's Fees Awards Act of 1976 provides that one who prevails in a section 1983 action is entitled to recover attorneys' fees.