GOMEZ V. TOLEDO, 446 U. S. 635 (1980)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Gomez v. Toledo, 446 U.S. 635 (1980)

Gomez v. Toledo

No. 79-5601

Argued April 16, 1980

Decided May 27, 1980

446 U.S. 635


Held: In an action brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against a public official whose position might entitle him to qualified immunity, the plaintiff is not required to allege that the defendant acted in bad faith in order to state a claim for relief, but the burden is on the defendant to plead good faith as an affirmative defense. By § 1983's plain terms, the plaintiff is required to make only two allegations in order to state a cause of action under the statute: (1) that some person deprived him of a federal right, and (2) that such person acted under color of state or territorial law. This allocation of the burden of pleading is supported by the nature of the qualified immunity defense, since whether such immunity has been established depends on facts peculiarly within the defendant's knowledge and control, the applicable test focusing not only on whether he has an objectively reasonable basis for his belief that his conduct was lawful, but also on whether he has a subjective belief. Pp. 446 U. S. 638-641.

602 F.2d 1018, reversed and remanded.

MARSHALL, J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court. RHENNQUIST, J., filed a concurring statement, post, p. 446 U. S. 642.

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