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Ninth Circuit Reverses Denial of Bivens Action

Hoffman v. Preston Docket: 20-15396, Opinion Date: February 28, 2022. The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's dismissal of an action brought by plaintiff, a federal prisoner, alleging violation of his Eighth Amendment rights and seeking damages under Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971). Plaintiff alleged that a correctional officer labeled him a snitch to other prisoners, offered them a bounty to assault plaintiff, and failed to protect him from the predictable assault by another prisoner. The panel construed the pro se complaint liberally and held that plaintiff's complaint alleged conduct beyond deliberate indifference. The panel applied Carlson v. Green, 446 U.S. 14 (1980), explaining that if the Supreme Court allowed a guard who is aware of and deliberately indifferent to a substantial risk that a prisoner will suffer medical harm from an asthma attack to be sued under Bivens, it was but a modest extension to allow a suit against a guard who creates the substantial risk of harm and then allows it to occur. The panel stated that, although this case represents a modest extension of Bivens, no special factors caution against extending the remedy to encompass this well-established claim, brought against a single rogue officer under the same constitutional provision applied in a well-recognized Supreme Court Bivens case. Accordingly, the panel remanded for further proceedings. #deliberateindifference #bivenspetition

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