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Case Name Valenzuela v. Swift Beef Company, Inc. IM-TX-0019
Docket / Court 06-CV-2322 ( N.D. Tex. )
State/Territory Texas
Case Type(s) Immigration
Case Summary
This lawsuit came on the heels of immigration raids conducted by federal authorities at Swift meat packing plants throughout the country. Shortly after the raids, on December 15, 2006, a group of Swift employees filed a class action lawsuit against their employer, Swift Beef Company, Inc., and ... read more >
This lawsuit came on the heels of immigration raids conducted by federal authorities at Swift meat packing plants throughout the country. Shortly after the raids, on December 15, 2006, a group of Swift employees filed a class action lawsuit against their employer, Swift Beef Company, Inc., and related companies, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. Plaintiffs’ complaint alleged that Swift engaged in a longstanding scheme to hire undocumented immigrants for the express purpose of depressing employee wages. In furtherance of its scheme Swift recruited undocumented immigrants to work in its plants and assisted in providing them fake immigration documents.

Plaintiffs, who were represented by private counsel, alleged violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), 18 U.S.C. §§ 1961 et seq.; Immigration Reform and Control Act, 8 U.S.C. §§ 1324 et seq.; and § 274 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. They sought declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as statutory damages and exemplary damages in the amount of $23 million. Defendants responded by moving to dismiss the case.

For reasons that are not apparent from the PACER docket, on October 4, 2007, the parties agreed to dismiss without prejudice two of the defendants, Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst Inc. and HM Capital Partners of Dallas, LLC.

On December 20, 2007, the Court (Judge David C. Godbey) granted in part and denied in part defendants’ motion to dismiss. The Court found that while the plaintiffs had adequately pled a claim for harboring illegal aliens under RICO, they had not pled their claim for hiring illegal aliens with sufficient factual support to satisfy the standard detailed by the Supreme Court in Bell Atlantic Corporation v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007). Since plaintiffs had not alleged that defendants had actual knowledge that the illegal aliens hired had been smuggled into the country, the Court found that their illegal hiring claim was inadequate and therefore dismissed it.

Plaintiffs amended their complaint on March 14, 2008, but the Court (Judge Godbey) again dismissed their illegal hiring claims on May 28, finding that they remained insufficiently specific.

Following some discovery disputes, plaintiffs moved for class certification on October 6, 2008. The Court (Judge Godbey) denied the motion on January 13, 2009, finding that the proposed class of all Swift employees who had the legal right to work in the United States was not clearly ascertainable, as it would not be possible to determine who belonged without “an extensive factual inquiry into thousands of employees’ work authorization.”

The next entry on the docket is on June 18, 2009, when the parties entered an unexplained stipulation for dismissal with prejudice. The case was terminated on the same day.

Christopher Schad - 06/11/2012


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Immigration
Employer sanctions
Employment
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), 18 U.S.C. §§ 1961 et seq.
Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA)
Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. §§ 1101 et seq.
Defendant(s) Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst Inc
HM Capital Partners of Dallas, LLC
Swift & Company
Swift Beef Company, Inc.
Plaintiff Description All persons legally authorized to be employed in the U.S., who have been employed at the Swift facilities as hourly wage earners.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Form of Settlement
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2009
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing IM-CO-0008 : Yarrito v. Meyers (D. Colo.)
IM-TX-0020 : Swift & Company v. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (N.D. Tex.)
IM-TX-0023 : United Food and Commercial Workers International Union v. Chertoff (N.D. Tex.)
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Threats to the Future of the Immigration Class Action
By: Jill E. Family (Widener University School of Law)
Citation: 27 Wash. U. J.L. & Pol'y 71 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
3:06-cv-02322 (N.D. Tex.) 06/18/2009
IM-TX-0019-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Joint Stipulation of Dismissal Without Prejudice of Defendants Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst Inc. and HM Capital Partners of Dallas, LLC 08/22/2007
IM-TX-0019-0005 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Granting in Part and Denying in Part Defendants' Motion to Dismiss] 12/20/2007 (N.D. Tex.)
IM-TX-0019-0006 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Second Amended Complaint 03/14/2008
IM-TX-0019-0003 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Granting Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Illegal Hiring Claims in Plaintiffs' Second Amended Complaint] 05/28/2008 (N.D. Tex.)
IM-TX-0019-0007 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Denying Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification] 01/13/2009 (N.D. Tex.)
IM-TX-0019-0008 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulation for Dismissal with Prejudice 06/18/2009 (N.D. Tex.)
IM-TX-0019-0009 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Godbey, David C. (N.D. Tex.)
IM-TX-0019-0006 | IM-TX-0019-0007 | IM-TX-0019-0008 | IM-TX-0019-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Cano, Claudia M. (Texas)
IM-TX-0019-9000
Garcia, Domingo A (Texas)
IM-TX-0019-0005 | IM-TX-0019-9000
Heygood, Michael E. (Texas)
IM-TX-0019-0003 | IM-TX-0019-0005 | IM-TX-0019-0009 | IM-TX-0019-9000
Hornung, Paul R. (Texas)
IM-TX-0019-9000
Miller, Charles W. (Texas)
IM-TX-0019-0003 | IM-TX-0019-9000
Pearson, Eric D. (Texas)
IM-TX-0019-0003 | IM-TX-0019-0009
Reyes, Angel L. III (Texas)
IM-TX-0019-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Allen, Thomas F. Jr. (Texas)
IM-TX-0019-0009 | IM-TX-0019-9000
Blanchard, Aimee (Texas)
IM-TX-0019-0005
Carroll, Kenneth Edwin (Texas)
IM-TX-0019-0009 | IM-TX-0019-9000
Castle, Robert M. III (Texas)
IM-TX-0019-0005 | IM-TX-0019-9000
Eberle, Brian G. (Colorado)
IM-TX-0019-0009 | IM-TX-0019-9000
Guy, T. Ray (Texas)
IM-TX-0019-0005 | IM-TX-0019-9000
Hirschman, Karen L. (Texas)
IM-TX-0019-0005 | IM-TX-0019-9000
Miller, Nicole S. (Texas)
IM-TX-0019-9000
Payne, Carol C. (Texas)
IM-TX-0019-0005 | IM-TX-0019-9000
Sturhahn, Jerome H. (Colorado)
IM-TX-0019-9000
Youle, Robert E. (Colorado)
IM-TX-0019-0009 | IM-TX-0019-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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