Friday, January 13, 2006

Fourth Circuit declines to extend Bivens to employees of private prison

In Holly v. Scott, the Fourth Circuit granted interlocutory review to decide whether individual employees of a privately operated prison face Eighth Amendment liability under Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), for allegedly providing inadequate medical care to a federal inmate. The panel held that Bivens should not be extended. According to the court:

an inmate in a privately run federal correctional facility does not require a Bivens cause of action where state law provides him with an effective remedy. See Peoples v. CCA Detention Ctrs., 422 F.3d 1090, 1103 (10th Cir. 2005). Holly already enjoys claims that an inmate in a government-run facility would not have. In requesting that we also grant him a Bivens claim--indeed, that we grant him a superior one in which qualified immunity is unavailable--Holly seeks much more than is necessary to remedy his alleged injuries. This is not a circumstance under which the extension of a judicially implied remedy is appropriate.

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