Constitutional Violations by Federal Employees
If you suspect you’re the victim of a constitutional violation by a federal employee, contact Paul Padda Law as soon as possible. Legal cases involving constitutional violations by federal employees in Nevada, or anywhere else for that matter, can be extremely complicated and very difficult to win. With so much at stake, it’s important to have an experienced attorney on your side who thoroughly understands how to sue a federal official or employee for a constitutional violation. Our knowledgeable and experienced Las Vegas attorneys thoroughly understand the law and know how to get results.
Case in federal court can be complicated. For this reason, it’s important to have an attorney in your corner that understands the process and is familiar with the law. At Paul Padda Law, apart from constitutional violations by federal employees, we also handle the following types of cases:
- Federal Litigation Overview
- Whistleblower Claims
- Civil Rights
- Federal Tort Claims Act
- VA Medical Malpractice Claims
If you believe your constitutional rights have been violated by a federal employee, the first thing you need to do is get familiar with your legal options. Call us today at (702) 366-1888 for a free and confidential consultation.
What Is A Bivens Claim?
A “Bivens” claim is a special type of claim that allows a person to sue a federal employee for a violation of his or her constitutional rights. It was created by the United States Supreme Court in 1971 arising out of a landmark ruling in a case called Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971). In that case, the Supreme Court found that the Fourth Amendment gave rise to a cause of action against federal law enforcement officials for damages from an unlawful search and seizure. A Bivens lawsuit, it should be noted, is not a traditional tort action. Rather, a person seeking damages against a federal official under a Bivens theory must show that important constitutional rights have been violated. This may seem simple and straightforward but, in fact, it’s very hard to bring cases of this kind.
In a traditional tort claim brought against the federal government, the United States is always the proper defendant. Whereas, in a Bivens action, the suit is considered personal to the federal official and the federal official is the proper defendant in this type of lawsuit. It’s also important to understand that Bivens only applies to federal employees. It does not apply, nor can it be used, against state employees. Rather, a state employee can be sued for civil rights violations under a federal statute known as “Section 1983.”
Proving A Bivens Claim
To prove a Bivens claim, a person must be able to show a jury that he was deprived of an important constitutional right by a federal official or employee and that there is no other legal remedy available to him. Additionally, he must also show that no special factors or immunity defenses can be raised to defeat the claim.
As mentioned above, this may seem simple and straightforward but its actually very complicated in reality. Why? Because there are many immunity defenses that federal employees can assert making it exceptionally difficult, if not impossible, to sue them. Also, notwithstanding it’s decision from more than 50 years ago in Bivens, the Supreme Court has shown hostility to these types of claims in recent years. For example, in Hernandez v. Mesa, a case decided in 2020 by an ideologically divided Supreme Court, the court refused to expand the reach of Bivens despite very compelling facts involving the death of a 15-year-old boy by a federal agent. This demonstrated that the Supreme Court views the reach of Bivens in a very limited and constrained way thereby making the practical viability of such claims questionable.
Don’t Take Chances, Contact Our Versatile And Experienced Attorneys
Under Bivens, a jury may award punitive damages against the federal official. The import of this is that a Bivens defendant is at risk of personal liability, including punitive damages, while the government pays all damages in Federal Tort Claims Act cases (in which no jury trial is allowed). Because of the unique defenses available to federal officials (absolute and qualified immunity) a Bivens action should always be handled by a skilled attorney with experience and knowledge in the area.
As a former federal trial attorney, Paul Padda spent years defending the federal government against civil lawsuits and is very familiar with Bivens actions. In fact, many other attorneys turn to Paul Padda Law to assist them and their clients in lawsuits against the federal government. If you’re contemplating an action against a federal official based upon a constitutional law violation, it is essential to choose a law firm that has extensive knowledge and experience in this highly specialized and, frankly speaking, difficult area of the law. One fatal misstep can result in dismissal of an otherwise meritorious lawsuit.
Call our office today at (702) 366-1888 or reach us via our online form to schedule a free, no-risk consultation.