Correctional Services Corp. v. Malesko, 534 U.S. 61, 17 (2001)

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

Stevens, J., dissenting

Carlson, not whether it should extend our cases beyond their "core premise," ante, at 71. This point is evident from the fact that prior to our recent decision in FDIC v. Meyer, 510 U. S. 471 (1994), the Courts of Appeals had consistently and correctly held that corporate agents performing federal functions, like human agents doing so, were proper defendants in Bivens actions.3

Meyer, which concluded that federal agencies are not suable under Bivens, does not lead to the outcome reached by the Court today. In that case, we did not discuss private corporate agents, nor suggest that such agents should be viewed differently from human ones. Rather, in Meyer, we drew a distinction between "federal agents" and "an agency of the Federal Government," 510 U. S., at 473. Indeed, our repeated references to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation's (FDIC) status as a "federal agency" emphasized the FDIC's affinity to the federal sovereign. We expressed concern that damages sought directly from federal agencies, such as the FDIC, would "creat[e] a potentially enormous financial burden for the Federal Government." Id., at 486. And it must be kept in mind that Meyer involved the FDIC's waiver of sovereign immunity, which, had the Court in Meyer recognized a cause of action, would have permitted the very sort of lawsuit that Bivens presumed impossi-3 See Schowengerdt v. General Dynamics Corp., 823 F. 2d 1328 (CA9 1987); Reuber v. United States, 750 F. 2d 1039 (CADC 1984); Gerena v. Puerto Rico Legal Servs., Inc., 697 F. 2d 447 (CA1 1983); Dobyns v. E-Systems, Inc., 667 F. 2d 1219 (CA5 1982); Yiamouyiannis v. Chemical Abstracts Serv., 521 F. 2d 1392 (CA6 1975).

It is true that one court has overruled its Circuit precedent in light of Meyer and held that Meyer dictates the exclusion of all corporate entities from Bivens liability. Kauffman v. Anglo-American School of Sofia, 28 F. 3d 1223 (CADC 1994). However, as another court has explained, that conclusion is in no way compelled by Meyer. See Hammons v. Norfolk Southern Corp., 156 F. 3d 701 (CA6 1998).


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