Public Official’s Qualified Immunity in Section 1983 Actions under Harlow v. Fitzgerald and its Progeny: A Critical Analysis

Part I of this Article discusses the development of immunities in section 1983 actions. Part II examines the application of Harlow and its progeny to a variety of situations. This discussion shows that broadened qualified immunity produces anomalous results under some circumstances by granting immunity to officials who have acted in a clearly culpable manner. Part III discusses the appropriateness of the Harlow standard and determines that it is neither supported by the legislative history of section 1983 nor by legitimate policy concerns. Finally, Part IV proposes several solutions that would protect deserving public officials from personal damage liability without unnecessarily depriving plaintiffs of their right to recover.