Liability In a 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 Action Without Unconstitutional Act by the Municipality's Employee
In Trigalet v. City of Tulsa, Oklahoma, 239 F.3d 1150 (10th Cir. 2001), the Court of Appeals held, consistent with nearly every other Court of Appeals, that a municipality cannot be held liable in a 42 U.S.C. section 1983 action in the absence of a predicate unconstitutional act by the municipality's employee.
Even if the municipality's actions are arbitrary or even "conscience shocking, in a constitutional sense" the municipality cannot be held liable under Section 1983. Id. at 1151.
This is because a claim of "inadequate training [or] supervision . . . under 1983 cannot be made out against a supervisory authority absent a finding of a constitutional violation by the person supervised." Id. at 1154 (quoting Webber v. Mefford, 43 F.3d 1340, 1344-45 (10th Cir. 1994)).