Tun-Cos v. Perrotte, No. 18-1451 (4th Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs, nine Latino men who live in areas of Northern Virginia that were home to many residents of Latino ethnicity, filed suit against ICE agents, seeking money damages to redress the ICE agents' alleged violations of their rights under the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. Plaintiffs alleged that ICE agents stopped and detained them without a reasonable, articulable suspicion of unlawful activity; invaded their homes without a warrant, consent, or probable cause; and seized them illegally.
The Fourth Circuit reversed the district court's denial of the ICE agents' motion to dismiss based on qualified immunity. The court held that a remedy under Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), was not available under the circumstances of this case. The court explained that there was no statute authorizing a claim for money damages, and it was a significant step under separation-of-powers principles for a court to impose damages liability on federal officials. Because plaintiffs sought to extend Bivens liability to a context the Supreme Court has yet to recognize and there are special factors counseling hesitation in the absence of affirmative action by Congress, plaintiffs' action for damages should be dismissed.