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Claims Against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Officers for Wrongful Acts


21 September, 2018

U.S citizens, lawful permanent residents, and other individuals with lawful or unlawful status who are unlawfully arrested and detained by ICE officers may potentially have claims against the U.S government under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). FTCA claims also may consist of claims for wrongful deportation, physical abuse, wrongful death, denial of medical services, unlawful search, and denial of religious freedom.

The FTCA covers claims for both negligent and intentional torts. Intentional torts involve claims such as assault, battery, false imprisonment, false arrest, malicious prosecution and abuse of process. Under the FTCA, the United States is liable for certain torts to the same extent that a private individual would be liable under similar circumstances. As a result, courts must apply the law of the state where the misconduct occurred, looking to state tort law.

The question then becomes what types of damages may be recovered if the federal government is found liable. The extent of liability is assessed “in accordance with the law of the place where the act or omission occurred.” Thus, for example, if a state court sitting in Louisiana would award $100,000 in damages for an individual falsely imprisoned for two weeks, then that same damages amount would also be assessed against the Department of Homeland Security if a U.S. citizen was unlawfully arrested and imprisoned for two weeks.

Before suit may be filed in federal court, the claimant must first exhaust administrative remedies and make an administrative claim before the federal agency whose activities gave rise to the claim. The demand letter to the agency must be filed within two years of the action giving rise to the claim and must provide written notification of the incident, and the specific amount of monetary damages claimed. Federal lawsuits must then be filed within six months of the agency’s denial of the claim.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of an unlawful act committed by a federal agency in Louisiana, contact attorneys at Theus Law Offices and let us assist you with the process. Failure to prosecute your claim timely may result in the loss of significant monetary damages.

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