Civil Rights

Experienced Civil Rights Attorneys in Michigan

Laws are meant to protect everyone, especially those who can’t protect themselves. Civil rights violations should never happen, but unfortunately, they happen every day.

For more than 20 years, the attorneys at Giroux Pappas Trial Attorneys have represented families and estates of victims injured or killed while being detained or in the custodial care of prisons, jails, or juvenile detention settings.

If your civil rights were violated, let our team help you recover damages and hold the person and/or entity accountable for the violations they committed against you. Read on to learn more about civil rights violations in Michigan, or fill out our online form today to schedule a free consultation with one of our civil rights attorneys.

What Are Civil Rights?

Generally speaking, your civil rights are enumerated under the U.S. Constitution or your state’s constitution and federal and state legislative acts. Civil rights are typically those considered to be related to an individual’s political and social freedom and equality. These rights range from your right to free speech to your right to an attorney. Your civil rights also help to ensure that you are not unfairly discriminated against based on religion, race, color, national origin, age, familial status, marital status, disability, gender, sexual orientation, or, potentially, even weight or height.

What Is a Civil Rights Violation?

A civil rights violation is any offense that happens to a person on the basis of their individual constitutional rights being violated. This will frequently be in the context of one being detained or in the custody of the police. A civil rights violation also often arises in the context of one being a member of a protected class. For example, if a landlord will not allow an unmarried couple to rent their home because they are not married, that is considered a civil rights violation. If an employer will not hire the most qualified individual solely because of their sex or race, it is a civil rights violation. If an individual is assaulted in a bar because of their sexual orientation, it is a civil rights violation.

Common Types of Civil Rights Claims

The most common types of civil rights claims involve abuse by government actors (e.g., police excessive force or other misconduct) or agencies, wrongful termination, and employment discrimination.

Civil Rights Laws in Michigan

In Michigan, there are many laws that are designed to protect individuals against civil rights violations, including the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act and the Persons With Disabilities Civil Rights Act. 

The Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act protects persons from discrimination based upon religion, race, color, national origin, age, familial status, marital status, gender, sexual orientation, or, potentially, even weight or height in such things as housing, employment and public access. The Persons With Disabilities Civil Rights Act similarly protects individuals with disabilities from such discrimination.

There are also several federal civil rights laws, including the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Title II, Title IV, Title VII, and Title IX of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans With Disabilities Act, Fair Housing Act, Individuals With Disabilities Education Act, and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

How Giroux Pappas Trial Attorneys Can Help

If your civil rights have been violated, you may be entitled to compensation based on the violation that occurred. In some instances, proving a civil rights violation can be challenging, which is why you need an experienced attorney by your side.

Our experienced civil rights lawyers can help you understand what your rights are and determine if these rights have been violated. If your civil rights have been violated, we can help you understand how to move forward with your case. This includes ensuring you meet filing requirements and deadlines, gathering evidence, calculating potential damages, and providing aggressive legal representation should your case move to trial.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Civil rights cases are complex, and no two cases are ever the same. Please read our FAQ below if you still have questions about civil rights violations. If you don’t see your question on our list, don’t hesitate to contact our civil rights attorneys today for a free consultation.

What Rights Do I Have If I’ve Been Arrested?


If you’ve been arrested or picked up by police, the most important rights to consider are the right to avoid self-incrimination, the right to an attorney, and the right not to be unlawfully detained. 

You can always refuse to answer questions and request an attorney. If you have not been formally placed under arrest, you have the right to leave police custody. If you’ve been placed under arrest, the police have a certain amount of time they can hold you without formally filing charges. Even after you have been formally charged, you have the right to request a non-punitive bail, which can be granted or denied at the judge’s discretion.

What Is the Statute of Limitations for a Civil Rights Claim?


Civil rights violations have varying statutes of limitations under state law depending on the alleged claims. Federal courts typically apply the laws of the forum state in assessing the applicable statute of limitations. If you believe your rights have been violated, you should speak to a lawyer immediately.

I Believe My Rights Have Been Violated by the Government or One of Its Officers. Do I Have a Claim?

Government actors and officers are typically protected by governmental and qualified immunity that bars claims. However, if it can be proven that the government or its officers acted with intentional misconduct, recklessness, gross negligence or in a way that meets an exception to their governmental or qualified immunity, you can often pursue a claim.

What Is a 1983 Complaint?


The most common type of civil rights claim is a federal 1983 claim. 1983 claims are those raised under 42 USC § 1983, which provides a civil tort remedy for the actions of governmental agents, like police officers, in violation of one’s federal constitutional rights. 1983 claims are often asserted when a police officer acts with excessive and unreasonable force in taking an individual into custody, a government-funded institution commits a tort, or an individual suffers an injury or death while incarcerated.

Can I File a Civil Rights Claim on Behalf of a Family Member or Friend?


You can only file a civil rights claim on behalf of someone other than yourself if one of the following exceptions applies: wrongful death cases, an incapacitated plaintiff, a minor plaintiff, or a class action case.

Should I Hire a Civil Rights Attorney?


We do not recommend moving forward with any lawsuit without first consulting with an attorney. In civil rights cases, an attorney can help you understand if your rights have been violated and what evidence is needed to prove this violation. It is also extremely difficult to represent yourself in court—and should your case move to trial, you will need an experienced litigation attorney by your side.

Is Hiring a Civil Rights Attorney Expensive?


Giroux Pappas Trial Attorneys operates under contingency fee agreements. In such an arrangement, our law firm takes no fee unless and until you obtain a financial recovery, whereupon the firm takes a percentage of the recovery (typically one-third) net of costs.

Request a Free Case Consultation With a Civil Rights Attorney Today

If you believe that your civil rights have been violated, contact Giroux Pappas Trial Attorneys immediately. Since our founding, our attorneys have helped countless individuals and families recover millions of dollars in damages. Our team also holds the prestigious AV Peer Rating from Martindale-Hubbell® and has been recognized by the U.S. News, the Detroit Premier Business Journal, and America’s Top 100 Attorneys.

Fill out our online form today to schedule your free case review.

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