HUI v. CASTANEDA

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
08-1529
Petitioner 
Esther Hui, et al.
Respondent 
Yanira Castaneda, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Francisco Castaneda, et al.
Consolidation 
No. 08-1547, Henneford v. Castaneda
Advocates
(for the petitioners)
(Assistant to the Solicitor General, Department of Justice, for the United States as amicus curiae, supporting the petitioners)
(for the respondents)
Term:
Facts of the Case 

These cases involve malpractice suits against Public Health Service ("PHS") employees. The plaintiffs filed actions recognized by Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics in a California federal district court alleging violations of the Fifth and Eighth Amendments. The PHS sought a dismissal arguing that the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) preempted Bivens claims. The district court rejected the argument and denied the motion to dismiss.

On appeal, the Ninth Circuit affirmed, holding that FTCA did not preempt Bivens claims. The court reasoned that the FTCA was enacted six months prior to the Supreme Court's decision in Bivens and, thus, could not have been intended as a substitute.

Question 

Is the FTCA the exclusive remedy for claims arising from medical care and related functions provided by PHS personnel, thus, barring Bivens actions?

Conclusion 
Decision: 9 votes for Hui, 0 vote(s) against
Legal provision:

Yes. The Supreme Court held that the immunity provided by the FTCA precludes Bivens actions against individual PHS officers or employees for harms arising out of constitutional violations committed while acting within the scope of their offices or employment. Justice Sonia Sotamayor, writing for a unanimous Court, reasoned that 42 U.S.C. § 233(a) plainly and clearly provides that the FTCA is the "exclusive" avenue for claims like those at issue in this case.

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HUI v. CASTANEDA. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 27 November 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2009/2009_08_1529>.
HUI v. CASTANEDA, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2009/2009_08_1529 (last visited November 27, 2014).
"HUI v. CASTANEDA," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed November 27, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2009/2009_08_1529.