Opinion of the Court
rather than its extension." 510 U. S., at 485. We noted further that "special factors" counseled hesitation in light of the "potentially enormous financial burden" that agency liability would entail. Id., at 486.
From this discussion, it is clear that the claim urged by respondent is fundamentally different from anything recognized in Bivens or subsequent cases. In 30 years of Bivens jurisprudence we have extended its holding only twice, to provide an otherwise nonexistent cause of action against individual officers alleged to have acted unconstitutionally, or to provide a cause of action for a plaintiff who lacked any alternative remedy for harms caused by an individual officer's unconstitutional conduct. Where such circumstances are not present, we have consistently rejected invitations to extend Bivens, often for reasons that foreclose its extension here.4
The purpose of Bivens is to deter individual federal officers from committing constitutional violations. Meyer made clear that the threat of litigation and liability will adequately deter federal officers for Bivens purposes no matter that they may enjoy qualified immunity, 510 U. S., at 474, 485, are indemnified by the employing agency or entity, id., at 486, or are acting pursuant to an entity's policy, id., at 473-474. Meyer also made clear that the threat of suit against an individual's employer was not the kind of deterrence contemplated by Bivens. See 510 U. S., at 485 ("If we were to imply a damages action directly against federal agencies . . . there would be no reason for aggrieved parties to bring damages actions against individual officers. [T]he deterrent
4 Justice Stevens' claim that this case does not implicate an "extension" of Bivens, post, at 76-77, 82 (dissenting opinion), might come as some surprise to the Court of Appeals which twice characterized its own holding as "extending Bivens liability to reach private corporations." 229 F. 3d 374, 381 (CA2 2000). See also ibid. ("Bivens liability should extend to private corporations").Page: Index Previous 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 Next
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