July 17, 2023

Brian Moore fought to get his property back from the federal government and he won. In 2021, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents seized $8,500 in cash from him at Atlanta’s airport while he was waiting to board a flight. The DEA agents had no valid reason to take his money, and they never pursued criminal charges against him. Brian sued to get the money back and, after about a year of litigation, the government threw in the towel. It asked the federal court to dismiss its case with prejudice and eventually returned Brian’s money.

But the federal court refused to acknowledge Brian’s victory. After the court dismissed the case, Brian asked for the $15,200 in fees that his attorneys had accrued while defending his property from forfeiture. Yet the court ruled that Brian did not really win the case—despite getting his money back and getting the entire case dismissed—because the government had voluntarily asked for its case to be dismissed.

Now, Brian has teamed up with the Institute for Justice to appeal his case to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. When the government takes property from innocent people, it should be the one to pay.