Correctional Services Corp. v. Malesko, 534 U.S. 61, 13 (2001)

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Cite as: 534 U. S. 61 (2001)

Opinion of the Court

allel tort remedy that is unavailable to prisoners housed in Government facilities. See Brief in Opposition 13. This case demonstrates as much, since respondent's complaint in the District Court arguably alleged no more than a quint-essential claim of negligence. It maintained that named and unnamed defendants were "negligent in failing to obtain requisite medication . . . and were further negligent by refusing . . . use of the elevator." App. 12 (emphasis added). It further maintained that respondent suffered injuries "[a]s a result of the negligence of the Defendants." Ibid. (emphasis added). The District Court, however, construed the complaint as raising a Bivens claim, presumably under the Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause of the Eighth Amendment. Respondent accepted this theory of liability, and he has never sought relief on any other ground. This is somewhat ironic, because the heightened "deliberate indifference" standard of Eighth Amendment liability, Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U. S. 97, 104 (1976), would make it considerably more difficult for respondent to prevail than on a theory of ordinary negligence, see, e. g., Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U. S. 825, 835 (1994) ("[D]eliberate indifference describes a state of mind more blameworthy than negligence").

This also makes respondent's situation altogether different from Bivens, in which we found alternative state tort remedies to be "inconsistent or even hostile" to a remedy inferred from the Fourth Amendment. 403 U. S., at 393-394. When a federal officer appears at the door and requests entry, one cannot always be expected to resist. See id., at 394 ("[A] claim of authority to enter is likely to unlock the door"). Yet lack of resistance alone might foreclose a cause of action in trespass or privacy. Ibid. Therefore, we reasoned in Bivens that other than an implied constitutional tort remedy, "there remain[ed] . . . but the alternative of resistance, which may amount to a crime." Id., at 395 (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). Such logic does not apply to


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