Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics

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In Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), the U.S. Supreme Court extended Section 1983 type of liability to agents of the federal government for a Fourth Amendment violation by federal officers. The victim is entitled to recover his damages.

Subsequently the Court has recognized two more non-statutory damages remedies:

  • for employment discrimination in violation of the Due Process Clause, Davis v. Passman, 442 U.S. 228 (1979)
  • for an Eighth Amendment violation by prison officials, Carlson v. Green, 446 U.S. 14 (1980).

The Court has held against applying the Bivens model to claims of:

  • First Amendment violations by federal employers, Bush v. Lucas, 462 U.S. 367 (1983)
  • harm to military personnel through activity incident to service, United States v. Stanley, 483 U.S. 669 (1987); Chappell v. Wallace, 462 U.S. 296 (1983)
  • wrongful denials of Social Security disability benefits, Schweiker v. Chilicky, 487 U.S. 412 (1988).
  • against federal agencies, FDIC v. Meyer, 510 U.S. 471 (1994)
  • harassment and intimidation aimed at extracting an easement across private property, Wilkie v. Robbins, 127 S. Ct. 2588 (June 25, 2007)

The Supreme Court has inferred causes of action for damages from the Fourth, Fifth and Eighth Amendments. Carlson v. Green, 446 U.S. 14 (1980); Davis v. Passman, 442 U.S. 228 (1979); Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971). In Bivens, the Court held that a plaintiff may recover damages from a federal officer who has violated the plaintiff's Fourth Amendment rights. Noting that damages were the ordinary remedy for invasion of personal interests in liberty, the Court reasoned that monetary relief was appropriate for a Fourth Amendment violation inasmuch as there were neither any "special factors counseling hesitation" in awarding that relief nor any explicit congressional declaration that persons injured through an invasion of their Fourth Amendment interests may not sue directly under the amendment "but must instead be remitted to another remedy, equally effective in the view of Congress." Id. at 395, 396, 397.[1]

References

  1. See Bishop v. Tice, 622 F.2d 349, 354-55 (8th Cir. 1980).
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