Supreme Court Refuses to Expand Section 1983 Liability: No Federal Constitutional Duty to Enforce a Restraining Order

For the second time in 16 years, the U.S. Supreme Court has found that government generally does not have a federal constitutional duty to protect citizens from third parties. The June 2005 decision came in a lawsuit brought by a mother against Castle Rock, Colorado, and three of its police officers. The suit, which sought $30 million in compensatory damages as well as attorney fees and punitive damages, alleged that her constitutional rights were violated when police failed to enforce a restraining order against her estranged husband, allowing him to kill their three children.