Federal officials can be sued in their individual capacities. These lawsuits are known as Bivens suits, named after the Supreme Court case Bivens v. Six Unknown Fed. Narcotics Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971). This was the seminal court decision allowing suits against federal officials alleged to have knowingly engaged in a constitutional violation.
In most cases, the Department of Justice will defend these officials in such lawsuits through direct representation by a DOJ attorney. But DOJ representation is discretionary, and occasionally DOJ will decline direct representation of an official if DOJ finds a conflict of interest exists. In those instances, DOJ has the authority to retain private outside counsel to defend the official.
The law firm of Shaw Bransford & Roth (SB&R) has been retained at DOJ expense to act as private defense counsel to federal officials sued individually in Bivens and common law tort lawsuits in jurisdictions throughout the U.S., through appeals to federal appeals courts. These cases involve the defense of law enforcement officials engaged in a wide range of law enforcement and homeland security activities, pre and post the September 11, 2001 attacks, sued on a variety of claims alleging civil rights violations to claims involving legal issues of first impression.
SB&R has a strong record of defense in such cases and in successfully bringing these cases to favorable resolutions.