Sunday, January 13, 2008

11 January 2008

Rasul v. Myers, --- F.3d ----, 2008 WL 108731 (DC Cir. January 11, 2008).

Appellants Rasul, et al (plaintiffs or detainees) sued former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and defendant military officers (defendants) under the ATS, the Geneva Conventions, the Fifth and Eighth Amendments to the US Constitution and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), seeking damages for their alleged illegal detention and torture at Gitmo.

The defendants argued in district court that the ATS and Geneva Conventions claims were barred by the Federal Employees Liability Reform and Tort Compensation Act of 1988 (Westfall Act (which makes the FTCA remedy “exclusive of any other civil action or proceeding for money damages” for any tort committed by a federal official or employee “while acting within the scope of his office or employment”)) and that they were entitled to qualified immunity on the constitutional and RFRA claims.The district court agreed that the FTCA provided the exclusive remedy for the defendants' allegedly tortious conduct and thus granted the defendants' motion to dismiss the ATS and Geneva Conventions claims. Rasul v. Rumsfeld, 414 F.Supp.2d 26, 30-36 (D.D.C.2006).

For the reasons set forth in the opinion, the circuit court affirmed the district court's dismissal of the ATS, Geneva Conventions and constitutional claims (and reversed its denial of the motion to dismiss the RFRA claim).