Daniel Kordash v. United States

USCA11 Case: 21-12151 Date Filed: 10/21/2022 Page: 1 of 10 [PUBLISH] In the United States Court of Appeals For the Eleventh Circuit ____________________ No. 21-12151 ____________________ DANIEL KORDASH, Plaintiff-Appellant versus UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Attorney General of the United States, Defendant-Appellee. ____________________ Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida D.C. Docket No. 1:20-cv-24257-KMM ____________________ Before WILLIAM PRYOR, Chief Judge, JILL PRYOR, and GRANT, Circuit Judges. WILLIAM PRYOR, Chief Judge: USCA11 Case: 21-12151 Date Filed: 10/21/2022 Page: 2 of 10 21-12151 Opinion of the Court 2 The issue in this appeal is whether an individual’s tort claims against federal officers are barred by determinations in an earlier Bivens action. After a series of prolonged airport security screenings, Daniel Kordash filed Bivens claims against the Customs and Border Protection officers who detained him. The district court found that the officers had qualified immunity and dismissed the complaint. Kordash then filed a new complaint, under the Federal Tort Claims Act, against the United States for false imprisonment, battery, assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligence. The district court dismissed the new complaint for failure to state a claim, and Kordash appealed. The government asks us to give preclusive effect, under the doctrine of collateral estoppel, to the determination in the Bivens suit that the officers acted lawfully in furtherance of federal policy, on the theory that lawful federal actions are not subject to state-law tort liability under the Supremacy Clause. Denson v. United States, 574 F.3d 1318, 1347 (11th Cir. 2009). Because we conclude that collateral estoppel applies, we affirm the dismissal of the complaint. I. BACKGROUND This appeal is from a dismissal for failure to state a claim, see Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6), so we accept the allegations of the complaint as true. Henley v. Payne, 945 F.3d 1320, 1326 (11th Cir. 2019). On at least three occasions, Customs and Border Protection officers detained Daniel Kordash, an American businessman who frequently travels abroad, for a secondary security screening at Fort USCA11 Case: 21-12151 Date Filed: 10/21/2022 Page: 3 of 10 21-12151 Opinion of the Court 3 Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport or Miami International Airport. First, in September 2017, Customs and Border Protection officers stopped Kordash on his way to Colombia after he falsely reported his currency holdings. Kordash was carrying $33,722 in dollars and the equivalent of $147.16 in Colombian pesos in his luggage, but he had reported in a revised declaration that he carried only $12,000. Alerted by Kordash’s revision to his declaration, officers discovered the discrepancy, seized the money, and allegedly “interrogated [him]” “in a freezing cold room” before assessing a fine and releasing him. Next, in February 2018, officers stopped Kordash for a secondary security screening upon his return from Mexico. They allegedly “harass[ed]” him, “seized [his] cell phone,” and “warned” him he would always be subject to invasive border searches because of the September 2017 incident. This detention took hours, though the exact duration is disputed. Kordash’s complaint alleged that it …

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