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Case Name Walters v. Reno IM-WA-0012
Docket / Court C94-1204C ( W.D. Wash. )
State/Territory Washington
Case Type(s) Immigration
Case Summary
On August 16, 1994, attorneys with Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, the National Immigration Law Center, the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, the American Civil Liberties Union Immigrants' Right Project, and private firms filed suit in the United States District Court for the Western District ... read more >
On August 16, 1994, attorneys with Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, the National Immigration Law Center, the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, the American Civil Liberties Union Immigrants' Right Project, and private firms filed suit in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington, challenging the notice procedures employed by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) in document fraud cases. Plaintiffs were aliens who allegedly violated the INS' document fraud provisions by using use fake social security cards, birth certificates, driver's licenses, and other phony documents. Because of the document fraud charges, plaintiffs became subject to final orders pursuant to Section 274C of the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1990, 8 U.S.C. § 1324c, and thereby faced permanent exclusion and deportation. Plaintiffs alleged that the INS' procedures and standardized notice forms in Section 274C document fraud cases failed to adequately advise them of their rights and the consequences of waiving them and were unconstitutional. They sought declaratory and injunctive relief and class certification.

Plaintiffs' moved for class certification, a preliminary injunction and summary judgment. The INS filed a cross-motion for summary judgment.

The District Court (Judge John C. Coughenour) granted class certification, entered summary judgment for plaintiffs and determined plaintiffs were entitled to permanent relief. Walters v. Reno, 1996 WL 897662 (W.D.Wash. Mar 13, 1996). The Court then entered a permanent injunction requiring INS to change its procedures and forms to remedy due process violations. Walters v. Reno, 1996 WL 897663 (W.D.Wash. Oct 02, 1996). The INS appealed. The Court of Appeals (Circuit Judge Reinhardt) affirmed in most respects, but instructed the district court to modify its injunction to delete the requirement that INS forms be printed in both English and Spanish. Walters v. Reno, 145 F.3d 1032 (9th Cir. 1998). Certiorari was denied. Reno v. Walters, 526 U.S. 1003, 119 S.Ct. 1140, 143 L.Ed.2d 208 (1999).

On remand, the District Court entered a partial stay of the injunction so that the parties could engage in settlement negotiations. The parties entered into a Settlement Agreement which was submitted to the Court for approval and a fairness hearing. On February 22, 2001, Chief Judge Coughenour formally approved the Settlement Agreement, retaining jurisdiction for two years for enforcement purposes. The Agreement called for the INS to use a revised section 274C NIF form which fully and accurately communicated the nature and consequences of the section 274C charges. The INS also agreed to stop soliciting or accepting waivers of the right to a section 274C hearing from aliens. Certain 274C final orders issued before the use of the new form were to be vacated. Per the Agreement, the INS was to pay plaintiffs' attorneys' fees in the sum of $622,340.00 and costs in the sum of $44,082.00.

Dan Dalton - 12/11/2007


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Immigration
Constitutional rights
Deportation - procedure
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. §§ 1101 et seq.
Defendant(s) Attorney General of the United States
Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS)
Plaintiff Description All non-citizens who waived or failed to request a hearing under Section 274C of the Immigration and Nationality Act ("INA") after being served with the charging and notice forms challenged in this action.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1996 - 2003
Case Closing Year 2003
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)
2:94-cv-01204-JCC (W.D. Wash.) 02/22/2001
IM-WA-0012-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Order on Cross-Motions for Summary Judgment, Motion for Class Certification, and Related Motions 03/13/1996 (1996 WL 897662) (W.D. Wash.)
IM-WA-0012-0006.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Order and Permanent 10/02/1996 (1996 WL 897663) (W.D. Wash.)
IM-WA-0012-0007.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Brief for the Appellants 01/17/1997
IM-WA-0012-0001.pdf | Detail
Brief for Appellees 02/18/1997
IM-WA-0012-0002.pdf | Detail
Appellants' Reply Brief 03/10/1997
IM-WA-0012-0003.pdf | Detail
Opinion 05/18/1998 (145 F.3d 1032)
IM-WA-0012-0005.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Order [Regarding Writ of Certiorari] 03/08/1999 (526 U.S. 1003)
IM-WA-0012-0008.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Settlement Agreement 02/22/2001
IM-WA-0012-0004.pdf | Detail
Judges Coughenour, John C. (W.D. Wash.)
IM-WA-0012-0006 | IM-WA-0012-0007 | IM-WA-0012-9000
Goodwin, Alfred Theodore (Ninth Circuit, D. Or.)
IM-WA-0012-0005
King, Samuel Pailthorpe (D. Haw.)
IM-WA-0012-0005
Reinhardt, Stephen Roy (Ninth Circuit)
IM-WA-0012-0005
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Benson, Ann E. (Washington)
IM-WA-0012-0002 | IM-WA-0012-9000
Gelernt, Lee (New York)
IM-WA-0012-0002 | IM-WA-0012-0004 | IM-WA-0012-9000
Gibbs, Robert H. (Washington)
IM-WA-0012-0002 | IM-WA-0012-0004
Guttentag, Lucas (New York)
IM-WA-0012-0002 | IM-WA-0012-0004 | IM-WA-0012-9000
Joaquin, Linton (California)
IM-WA-0012-0002 | IM-WA-0012-0004 | IM-WA-0012-0005 | IM-WA-0012-9000
Kochman, Jane R. (District of Columbia)
IM-WA-0012-9000
Mautner, Gail (Washington)
IM-WA-0012-0002
Pauw, Robert (Washington)
IM-WA-0012-0002 | IM-WA-0012-0004 | IM-WA-0012-9000
Rosenberg, Lory D. (District of Columbia)
IM-WA-0012-9000
Stansell, Jay Warren (Washington)
IM-WA-0012-9000
Steele, Mary E. (Washington)
IM-WA-0012-0002 | IM-WA-0012-0004 | IM-WA-0012-9000
Tremaine, Davis Wright (Washington)
IM-WA-0012-0002
Wheeler, Charles Hammond (California)
IM-WA-0012-0002 | IM-WA-0012-0004 | IM-WA-0012-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Goad, Shelley (District of Columbia)
IM-WA-0012-0004
Graves, Lisa R. (District of Columbia)
IM-WA-0012-0001 | IM-WA-0012-0003
Hunger, Frank W. (District of Columbia)
IM-WA-0012-0001 | IM-WA-0012-0003
Kline, David J. (District of Columbia)
IM-WA-0012-0004
McKinney, Kathryn M. (District of Columbia)
IM-WA-0012-0001 | IM-WA-0012-0003
Ogden, David W. (District of Columbia)
IM-WA-0012-0004
Pflaumer, Katrina C. (Washington)
IM-WA-0012-0004
Pickrell, Christopher Lee (Washington)
IM-WA-0012-0004 | IM-WA-0012-9000
Torstenson, Karen Fletcher (District of Columbia)
IM-WA-0012-0001 | IM-WA-0012-0003 | IM-WA-0012-0005 | IM-WA-0012-9000
Walters, Mark C. (District of Columbia)
IM-WA-0012-0001 | IM-WA-0012-0003
Welsh, Elizabeth A (District of Columbia)
IM-WA-0012-0001 | IM-WA-0012-0003
Other Lawyers None on record

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