Dyer v. Smith et al., No. 3:19-cv-921 (E.D. Va.) February 23, 2021
The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia recently denied transportation security agents’ motion to dismiss in a suit precipitated by the agents’ insistence that a travelling couple stop video recording agents patting down — physically searching outside the clothes — one partner, and that anything already recorded be destroyed.
The federal district court reviewed and rejected factors cautioning against expansion of Bivens actions, observing that the law is clear not only through decisions but also by custom that there exists a recognized First Amendment right to gather news and, as a corollary proposition, to record officials in the conduct of official business. The court concluded that in the absence of any available remedy, the couple’s Bivens action may proceed.
JustLawful Observation: This straightforward summary may provoke an “of course!” response, but that response might be a bit hasty, given that the court recognized a new Bivens action, when in the wake of Hernadez v. Mesa, 528 U.S. ____ (2020), decided during the last Supreme Court term, it was thought that Bivens actions would soon be unicorns: fanciful but imaginary.
Counsel for the transportation agents thinks so, too, and is pursuing interlocutory review.E.D. Virginia Opinion:
Request for Interlocutory Review:
Recent U.S. Supreme Court Consideration of Bivens Actions:
Commentary on the Future of Bivens Actions