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ARTICLE ID 194375

$________ – MUNICIPAL LIABILITY – BAD FAITH – FEDERAL COURT FINDS UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ACTED IN BAD FAITH – EMOTIONAL DISTRESS

U.S.D.C. C CA

In this matter, two female Chinese asylum applicants sued the United States for the violation of the Federal Tort Claim Act in connection with an United States Asylum Officers harassment and extortion. The defendant denied the accusation, and the matter was resolved via verdict by Judge Consuelo Marshall .

On June 8, ________, Thomas A. P. Jr., an Immigration and Naturalization Service asylum officer Thomas Powell, was caught in a federal sting soliciting sexual favors and bribes for granting the applications of asylum-seekers. The investigation was carried out by the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General with the cooperation of the plaintiffs, Jie H. and Xue L., two Chinese asylum-seekers who were subjected to demands for sexual favors and bribes by the federal employee. After being caught red-handed, Thomas P. was arrested and tried in criminal court for corruption and civil rights charges for his behavior. In ________, he was sentenced to three years and 10 months in prison.

The plaintiff asylum-seekers filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, accusing the United States of Bad Faith in violation of their civil rights and infliction of emotional distress. The alleged behavior included the period of the sting itself extended on through the subsequent litigation. The plaintiffs sought recovery of damages for pain and suffering, as well as other damages compensable under law. The defendant denied the breach of plaintiff’s rights, asserting their claims were barred under the intentional tort exception Federal Tort Claims Act(FTCA).

Throughout subsequent litigation, the defendant asserted that plaintiff, Jie H., had consented to any misconduct carried out by the subject of their sting. The plaintiff countered that, while consenting to help the investigation, they did not consent to being subjected to the sexual touching, hugging, kissing, and were entitled to recovery of damages for the anxiety and depression that ultimately resulted. They further asserted a bad faith violation for defendant’s failure to come to their aid after the behavior began, as well as the subsequent seven years delay in the adjudication of Jie H.’s asylum application. This delay was asserted as bad faith, as defendant could have adjudicated the asylum case while waiting for her to testify in the criminal trial. The Plaintiff asserted this delay resulted in emotional distress by preventing her from reuniting with her family. That process only concluded after the conclusion of defendan’ts criminal case against their former employee was resolved. Throughout the litigation, the defendant asserted that plaintiffs’ claims were barred by the intentional tort exception of the FTCA. This suit was dismissed from the federal court under this argument, only to have that decision reversed and the argument reasserted by a published decision of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.In September ________, the jury returned a finding for the plaintiff, finding that the United States had acted in continuous and pervasive bad faith. The jury awarded $________ in damages. As the FTC argument was presented in litigation notwithstanding the existing decision by the appellate court, the court also concluded it was an act of bad faith.

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