That witness, Eddie Vernon, now in his 50s, came forward in 2013 to recant the testimony he gave which led to the convictions of Jackson and his brothers, Wiley and Ronnie Bridgeman, for the murder of a man outside a corner store.
Vernon said that police had coerced him and threatened to put his parents in jail if he didn't say what they wanted him to.
All three brothers were initially given death sentences that were later commuted to life sentences. The 40 years Jackson has served may be the longest term of a wrongfully convicted person in US history.
The lawsuit Jackson filed Tuesday names both the city of Cleveland and eight officers who were involved in the case against him, some of whom are now dead.