Johnson v. United States of America

Carey Johnson v. United States of America, No. 18-cv-2178 (S.D. Cal., filed Sept. 20, 2018)

Carey Johnson is a U.S. citizen and military veteran who resides in Mexico. Johnson has a disability and carries a Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) identification card with a disability designation. He frequently crosses the U.S.-Mexico border near San Diego to receive treatment at VA facilities.  On September 22, 2016, Johnson approached Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the Otay Mesa SENTRI gate and requested that he be allowed to use the SENTRI gate for expedited crossing as an accommodation for his disability. CBP denied his request, and officers told him he would need to request accommodations each time he crossed the border. After this encounter, the CBP officer wrote up a report that led to Johnson being repeatedly stopped and harassed on several future crossings.

During Johnson’s following border crossings, he attempted to request accommodations to expedite his border crossing. CBP officers repeatedly abused him. On one occasion, CBP officers impounded his car and shackled him to a bench for 3 hours. On another, officers dragged him from his car and tasered him. CBP agents seized his car on at least two occasions, allegedly based on SENTRI lane violations. CBP officers refused to return the car unless Johnson paid a $10,000 fine, which he was unable to afford.

Johnson eventually sued to seek redress for the repeated abuses he suffered. He sought damages under Bivens, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act,the Federal Tort Claims Act, and California’s Bane Act. On July 14, 2020, the district court dismissed Johnson’s Bivens claims against the individual CBP officers. On January 25, 2021, the court granted Defendant United States’ motion for summary judgment on the Rehabilitation Act and Bane Act claims.

The case settled and was dismissed pursuant to a joint motion on March 26, 2021.

Documents:

Counsel: Robbins & Curtin, P.L.L.C.
Contact: Joel Robbins | joel@robbinsandcurtin.com

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