Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation v. Meyer

PETITIONER: Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
RESPONDENT: Meyer
LOCATION: Pomona Police Department

DOCKET NO.: 92-741
DECIDED BY: Rehnquist Court (1993-1994)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

CITATION: 510 US 471 (1994)
ARGUED: Oct 04, 1993
DECIDED: Feb 23, 1994

ADVOCATES:
Deputy Solicitor General Bender - argued the cause for petitioner
David W. Graves - for the National Employment Lawyers Association as amicus curiae urging affirmance
Gennaro A. Filice, III - on behalf of the Respondents
Gary M. Laturno - for the National Employment Lawyers Association as amicus curiae urging affirmance
Paul Bender - on behalf of the Petitioner

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation v. Meyer

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 04, 1993 in Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation v. Meyer

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - February 23, 1994 in Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation v. Meyer

William H. Rehnquist:

The opinions of the Court in two cases will be announced by Justice Thomas.

Clarence Thomas:

The first opinion which I have in announcement is the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation versus Meyer, No. 92-741.

This case comes to us on a writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Acting as a receiver for a failed thrift institution, the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation, FSLIC, discharge the respondent, Meyer, who was a senior officer of the thrift.

In a suit against FSLIC, respondent claim that his discharge deprived him of due process.

After the jury returned the verdict in respondent's favor, FSLIC's statutory successor, petitioner Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, FDIC, appealed and the Court of Appeals affirmed.

First, the court found that although the remedy under the Federal Tort Claims Act is exclusive for all claims cognizable under 1346(b) of the Act, respondent's constitutional claim was not so cognizable.

Second, it determined that FSLIC's sue-and-be-sued clause constituted a waiver of sovereign immunity for the claim.

And third, it concluded on the merits that respondent had been deprived of due process.

In an opinion filed with the Clerk today, we reverse.

Like the Court of Appeals, we find that respondent's claim is not cognizable under Section 1346(b) of the Federal Tort Claims Act.

A claim that is cognizable under Section 1346(b) if it is actionable under that Section, and it is actionable if it alleges, among other things, that the United States would be liable in accordance with the law of the place where the act occurred.

The reference to the law of the place means that the law of the state, and by definition, federal law is not state law.

Federal law, not state law, provides the source of substantive liability for a claim alleging the depravation of federal constitutional right.

We also agree with the Court of Appeals that FSLIC's sue-and-be-sued clause waives sovereign immunity for respondent's claim.

Petitioner fails to make the clear showing of congressional purpose necessary to overcome the presumption that immunity has been waived by the clause.

Contrary to the Court of Appeals, however, we hold that respondent has no cause of action for damages against an agency of the Federal Government, in this case, FSLIC's.

In Bivens versus Six Unknown Federal Narcotics Agents, we implied a damages remedy against federal agents.

Respondent argues that the logic of Bivens supports extending the damages remedy from the agents to the agencies.

We disagree.

We implied a cause of action in Bivens against the agents in part because a direct action against the agency was not available.

In essence, respondent asked us to imply a damages action based on a decision that itself presumed the absence of that very action.

The opinion is unanimous.