Meshal v. Higgenbotham, No. 14-5194 (D.C. Cir. 2015)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff filed a Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Fed. Bureau of Narcotics action against the FBI, alleging that the FBI violated his Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights when they detained, interrogated, and tortured him over the course of four months in three African countries. The district court dismissed the suit. The court held that in this case, where the agents' actions took place during a terrorism investigation and those actions occurred overseas, special factors counsel hesitation in recognizing a Bivens action for money damages.Two special factors are present in this case. First, special factors counseling hesitation have foreclosed Bivens remedies in cases “involving the military, national security, or intelligence.” Second, the Supreme Court has never “created or even favorably mentioned a nonstatutory right of action for damages on account of conduct that occurred outside the borders of the United States.” The court further concluded that the weight of authority against expanding Bivens combined with the court's recognition that tort remedies in cases involving matters of national security and foreign policy are generally left to the political branches, counsels serious hesitation before recognizing a common law remedy in these circumstances. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of dismissal because plaintiff has not stated a valid cause of action.