May 10, 2010
The Supreme Court ruled that Francisco Casta eda’s survivors are not entitled to damages from individual government officials, even though the government itself has admitted medical negligence.
Casta eda, an undocumented immigrant, became severely ill when he was in an immigrant detention facility in 2006. Doctors refused to treat his illness, which turned out to be cancer of the penis. Nearly a year later, when Casta eda was released, the cancer had already spread to his groin. He died in February 2008, at age 36.
A federal judge said that Casta eda’s case “should be taught to every law student as conduct for which the moniker ‘cruel’ is inadequate.” He allowed the lawsuit, taken up by Casta eda’s family after his death, to go forward. The U.S. Court of Appeals of the Ninth Circuit agreed.
But the Supreme Court justices disagreed – all nine of them. They said that, instead of suing officials, Casta eda’s family should sue the federal government in State courts. But that kind of lawsuit doesn’t allow a jury trial, and caps damages at only $250,000!
These “supreme” justices agree with the bosses that an immigrant’s life doesn’t count for much, except as a source of cheap labor.