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Carlson v. Green

446 U.S. 14, 100 S. Ct. 1468, 64 L. Ed. 2d 15 (1980)

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Carlson v. Green

United States Supreme Court

446 U.S. 14, 100 S. Ct. 1468, 64 L. Ed. 2d 15 (1980)

Facts

Joseph Jones, Jr., died while incarcerated in a federal prison. Maria Green (plaintiff), Jones’s mother, filed a lawsuit in federal district court against a group of prison officials (defendants), alleging that the prison officials engaged in cruel and unusual punishment against Jones in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Green sought damages against the prison officials under Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics. The district court dismissed Green’s complaint, holding that, though Jones himself could have filed a Bivens claim against the prison officials had he survived, Green was required to file a claim under state survivorship and wrongful-death laws. Green appealed. The court of appeals reversed the district court, holding that Green could assert a Bivens claim herself. The prison officials appealed, arguing that Green was barred from asserting a Bivens claim because she was able to file a claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). The prison officials reasoned that the FTCA preempted Bivens claims and that if a plaintiff had a cause of action under both Bivens and the FTCA, the plaintiff was required to pursue the FTCA claim. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Brennan, J.)

Concurrence (Powell, J.)

Dissent (Rehnquist, J.)

Dissent (Burger, C.J.)

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