Carey v. Piphus

May school officials be sued for monetary damages if they violate a student's right to due process? Is the violation of due process inherently harmful for the student (i.e., does it always lead to physical or emotional injury)? If damages are to be awarded, under what conditions should the damages be small (nominal) or large (substantial)? In Carey v. Piphus (1978), the Supreme Court found that school officials can be financially liable for violating a student's procedural due process rights, but deprivation of such rights does not necessarily always lead to injury. According to the Court, absent proof of actual injury, school officials may only be liable for small damages, not to exceed one dollar.

Carey involved two students, one from a public elementary school and ...

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