University of Michigan Law School
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Case Name Ramirez v. Webb IM-MI-0001
Docket / Court 4:81-cv-00344-RAE ( W.D. Mich. )
State/Territory Michigan
Case Type(s) Immigration
Attorney Organization Legal Services/Legal Aid
Case Summary
On September 4, 1981, a group of over 30 Hispanic-appearing citizens filed a class action suit in the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan, alleging that officials of Immigration and Naturalization Service and United States Border Patrol engaged in unconstitutional ... read more >
On September 4, 1981, a group of over 30 Hispanic-appearing citizens filed a class action suit in the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan, alleging that officials of Immigration and Naturalization Service and United States Border Patrol engaged in unconstitutional searches, seizures, raids, stops, and interrogations in western Michigan. Plaintiffs alleged violations of the Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution and sought injunctive and declaratory relief on behalf of the proposed class, as well as damages for individual plaintiffs. Attorneys with the Michigan Migrant Legal Assistance Project, Inc. and private firms represented the plaintiffs.

In August 1984, the District Court (Senior Judge Richard Alan Enslen) certified the case as a class action, with the class defined as "all persons of Mexican or Hispanic origin or appearance who have been, are, or will be living, working, traveling or visiting within the Western Federal Judicial District of Michigan." Ramirez v. Webb, 102 F.R.D. 968 (W.D.Mich. 1984).

Following class certification, the Court held a preliminary injunction hearing. The Court determined that plaintiffs were entitled to preliminary injunctive relief on restraining federal immigration officials from conducting illegal stops of automobiles containing Hispanic-appearing individuals but were not entitled to injunctive relief on its claims involving pedestrian stops and workplace raids. Judge Enslen found that Mexican appearance alone, coupled with subjective impressions of the officers, was an insufficient basis for stopping a vehicle. Ramirez v. Webb, 599 F.Supp. 1278 (W.D.Mich. 1984). The government appealed and the Sixth Circuit affirmed. Ramirez v. Webb, 787 F.2d 592 (6th Cir. 1986).

After the preliminary injunction was issued, several defendants moved for partial summary judgment, arguing that they were entitled to the defense of qualified immunity. Plaintiffs filed a cross-motion for partial summary judgment on the basis that the warrants used by the defendants in two of the incidents complained of were invalid. On June 24, 1985, the Court denied the defendants' motions and granted plaintiffs' motion. Defendants appealed. In a subsequent order, the Court dismissed certain claims based on the applicable Michigan statute of limitations. Plaintiffs filed a cross-appeal. Both parties then moved to dismiss each other's appeals. Plaintiffs' motion to dismiss the appeal was denied, defendants' motion to dismiss plaintiffs' cross-appeal was granted. Ramirez v. Webb, 803 F.2d 721 (6th Cir. 1986). In deciding the merits of the appeal, the Sixth Circuit reversed and remanded the case for further proceedings. Ramirez v. Webb, 835 F.2d 1153 (6th Cir. 1987).

On July 24, 25 and 26, 1989, the Court held a bench trial on the Bivens claims of three individual plaintiffs. After the hearing, the Court found that the defendant Border Patrol agent violated plaintiffs' Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable seizures of their persons when he detained and questioned them without reasonable suspicion that they were undocumented aliens. The Court awarded plaintiffs compensatory damages in amounts of $500.00; $1,000.00; and $1,500.00. It did not assess punitive damages. Ramirez v. Webb, 719 F.Supp. 610 (W.D.Mich. 1989).

The PACER docket indicates that on November 17, 1989, a stipulation for compromise settlement between certain Plaintiffs and certain Defendants was filed. The settlement terms were not disclosed. On December 21, 1989, Judge Enslen issued an order denying plaintiffs' request for a judgment of liability and entry of a declaratory judgment. The case was dismissed. The details of that order were not available.

We have no further information on the case.

Dan Dalton - 12/21/2007


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Immigration
Border police
Constitutional rights
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Bivens
Defendant(s) Immigration and Naturalization Service
Plaintiff Description All persons of Mexican or Hispanic origin or appearance who have been, are, or will be living, working, traveling or visiting within the Western Federal Judicial District of Michigan.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Legal Services/Legal Aid
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Settlement
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 1989
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Threats to the Future of the Immigration Class Action
Washington University Journal of Law and Policy
By: Jill E. Family (Widener University School of Law)
Citation: 27 Wash. U. J.L. & Pol'y 71 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
4:81-cv-00344-RAE (W.D. Mich.) 01/31/1994
IM-MI-0001-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Opinion 08/14/1984 (102 F.R.D. 968) (W.D. Mich.)
IM-MI-0001-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion 12/10/1984 (599 F.Supp. 1278) (W.D. Mich.)
IM-MI-0001-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
[Opinion Affirming] 03/03/1986 (787 F.2d 592)
IM-MI-0001-0005.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
[Order Re: Motion to Dismiss] Denied in Part, Granted in Part 09/26/1986 (803 F.2d 721)
IM-MI-0001-0006.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Opinion 07/02/1987 (1987 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 15403) (W.D. Mich.)
IM-MI-0001-0007.pdf | LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: LexisNexis
[Appellate Opinion] 12/23/1987 (835 F.2d 1153)
IM-MI-0001-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion 05/03/1988 (1988 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 18018) (W.D. Mich.)
IM-MI-0001-0008.pdf | LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: LexisNexis
Opinion 08/07/1989 (719 F.Supp. 610) (W.D. Mich.)
IM-MI-0001-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Boggs, Danny Julian (Sixth Circuit)
IM-MI-0001-0006
Brown, Bailey (W.D. Tenn., Sixth Circuit)
IM-MI-0001-0002
Enslen, Richard Alan (W.D. Mich.)
IM-MI-0001-0001 | IM-MI-0001-0003 | IM-MI-0001-0004 | IM-MI-0001-0007 | IM-MI-0001-0008 | IM-MI-0001-9000
Guy, Ralph B. Jr. (Sixth Circuit, E.D. Mich., FISCR)
IM-MI-0001-0005
Keith, Damon Jerome (E.D. Mich., Sixth Circuit)
IM-MI-0001-0005
Kennedy, Cornelia Groefsema (E.D. Mich., Sixth Circuit)
IM-MI-0001-0002 | IM-MI-0001-0006
Krupansky, Robert B. (N.D. Ohio, Sixth Circuit)
IM-MI-0001-0002
Milburn, Herbert Theodore (E.D. Tenn, Sixth Circuit)
IM-MI-0001-0006
Taylor, Anna Katherine Johnston Diggs (E.D. Mich.)
IM-MI-0001-0005
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Beckman, Vincent H. (Michigan)
IM-MI-0001-0004
Gershon, Gary N (Michigan)
IM-MI-0001-0001 | IM-MI-0001-0002 | IM-MI-0001-0003 | IM-MI-0001-9000
Kirschenheiter, Ronald G (Michigan)
IM-MI-0001-0004
Morgan, Janice R (Michigan)
IM-MI-0001-0003
Poplawski, Christine (District of Columbia)
IM-MI-0001-0003
Preston, Edward F (Georgia)
IM-MI-0001-0002 | IM-MI-0001-0004 | IM-MI-0001-9000
Riley, Philip R (Michigan)
IM-MI-0001-0001 | IM-MI-0001-0002 | IM-MI-0001-0003 | IM-MI-0001-9000
Stensaas, Scott (Michigan)
IM-MI-0001-0003 | IM-MI-0001-0004
Defendant's Lawyers Dettmer, Michael Hayes (Michigan)
IM-MI-0001-9000
Deutsch, Morris H (District of Columbia)
IM-MI-0001-0002
Hacker, Elizabeth (Michigan)
IM-MI-0001-0001 | IM-MI-0001-0004
Hausman, Allen W. (District of Columbia)
IM-MI-0001-9000
Isgro, Francesco (District of Columbia)
IM-MI-0001-0001 | IM-MI-0001-0004 | IM-MI-0001-9000
Kempker-Cloyd, Agnes (Michigan)
IM-MI-0001-0002 | IM-MI-0001-0003
Reed, Mary (District of Columbia)
IM-MI-0001-9000
Smietanka, John A. (Michigan)
IM-MI-0001-0003 | IM-MI-0001-0004 | IM-MI-0001-9000
Tuuk, Anne VanderMale (Michigan)
IM-MI-0001-0001 | IM-MI-0001-0002 | IM-MI-0001-0004
Walters, Mark C. (District of Columbia)
IM-MI-0001-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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