In civil rights cases plaintiff typically uses statute called section 1983. This statute which allows for the plaintiff to file suit for violations of their constitutional rights. The statute gives a person the right to file suit against a person who is a government employee for deprivation of any rights, privileges or immunities secured by the Constitution and law. The statute gives the plaintiff the right to recover attorney’s fees incurred. The attorney’s fee shifting provision makes this an attractive statute for victims of constitutional rights violations.
The statute had been interpreted to provide liability if and only if the plaintiff can prove the defendant was deliberately indifferent. This has been the language used in the jury instruction and is cited as black letter law.
Deliberate indifference is a subjective standard. It is subjective because it turns on the subject a state of mind of the defendant.