Boule v. Egbert, No. 18-35789 (9th Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
Bivens remedies are available in the circumstances of this case, where a United States citizen alleges that a border patrol agent violated the Fourth Amendment by using excessive force while carrying out official duties within the United States, and violated the First Amendment by engaging in retaliation entirely unconnected to his official duties.
In this case, plaintiff owns, operates, and lives in a bed and breakfast near the United States-Canada border in Blaine, Washington. Plaintiff alleged that a border patrol agent entered plaintiff's property to question guests and used excessive force on plaintiff, ultimately retaliating against plaintiff by, among other things, contacting the IRS to seek an investigation into plaintiff's tax status.
In regard to the Fourth Amendment claim, the Ninth Circuit concluded that no special factors counsel hesitation in extending a Bivens remedy to this new context. The panel stated that plaintiff, a United States citizen, brings a conventional Fourth Amendment claim based on actions by a rank-and-file border patrol agent on his property in the United States. The panel also concluded that plaintiff's First Amendment claim arises in a new context, but no special factors that counsel hesitation in extending a Bivens remedy to this new context. The panel explained that retaliation is a well-established First Amendment claim, available against governmental officers in general. Finally, the panel concluded that there are no alternative remedies available to plaintiff.