University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Western Union Financial Services, Inc. v. Goddard IM-AZ-0006
Docket / Court 2:06-cv-02249-SMM ( D. Ariz. )
State/Territory Arizona
Case Type(s) Immigration
Case Summary
This case is one of a pair of lawsuits filed against the Arizona Attorney General to challenge his practice of seizing money wire transferred to Mexico through Western Union. In an attempt to curtail the smuggling of undocumented immigrants by trafficking organizations (known as "coyotes") from ... read more >
This case is one of a pair of lawsuits filed against the Arizona Attorney General to challenge his practice of seizing money wire transferred to Mexico through Western Union. In an attempt to curtail the smuggling of undocumented immigrants by trafficking organizations (known as "coyotes") from Mexico to Arizona, the Arizona Attorney General had obtained warrants and seized millions of dollars of money that was wire transferred to Mexico. The Attorney General focused on amounts over $500 which were believed to have been sent as payments to Mexican smugglers who have transported people or drugs into Arizona.

Western Union filed this lawsuit on September 19, 2006 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona in an attempt to block threatened seizures by the Arizona Attorney General of Western Union wire transfers from 28 states to Mexico, even if such transfers were not sent from or received in Arizona. The seizures were to occur pursuant to a seizure warrant sought by the Arizona Attorney General in the Arizona Superior Court, Maricopa County.

Western Union alleged that the seizures violated violate the Commerce Clause, the Foreign Commerce Clause, the Due Process Clause, the Equal Protection Clause, the First Amendment, and 42 U.S.C. § 1983. They sought a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction to halt the seizures.

The District Court (Judge Stephen M. McNamee) ordered that the Western Union case be consolidated with the related class action case, Torres v. Goddard [IM-AZ-6].

On September 20, 2006, the Court (Judge McNamee) denied the motion for temporary injunctive relief, in part, due to parallel proceedings in Arizona state court raising the same or similar issues. On September 25, 2007, the court denied plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction.

For several years, the court granted extensions of time.

On March 10, 2010, the court dismissed the case with prejudice per the parties' agreement to settle and stipulation to dismiss the case. The settlement was approved on February 24, 2010 in a separate case, Arizona v. Western Union Financial Services, Inc. [CV2010-005807.]

In that case, the parties agreed to a $94 million settlement where as much as $50 million will go to support law enforcement agencies working to crack down on drug and human smuggling. Under the agreement, the state will receive $21 million and Western Union will devote $19 million to improve its own efforts to stop money laundering and $4 million to an independent monitor. Western Union also agreed to provide border state prosecutors access to wire transfer records.

Dan Dalton - 09/17/2007
Jennifer Bronson - 11/25/2013
Dan Whitman - 10/04/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Immigration
Constitutional rights
Undocumented immigrants - state and local regulation
Plaintiff Type
Public (for-profit) corporation
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Arizona Attorney General
Plaintiff Description Western Union, public company that challeged governmental seizures of funds it wire transferred for customers
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2010 - n/a
Case Closing Year 2010
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing IM-AZ-0007 : Torres v. Goddard (D. Ariz.)
IM-AZ-0008 : In the Matter of: Monies Described in Appendix One to the Supporting Affidavit (State Court)
IM-AZ-0009 : State ex rel. Goddard v. Western Union Financial Services, Inc. (State Court)
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)
2:06-cv-02249-SMM (D. Ariz.) 03/10/2010
IM-AZ-0006-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 09/19/2006
IM-AZ-0006-0001.pdf | Detail
Order (denying plaintiff's motion for injunctive relief) 09/24/2007 (D. Ariz.)
IM-AZ-0006-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Settlement Agreement 02/21/2010
IM-AZ-0006-0002.pdf | Detail
Order (of dismissal) 03/10/2010 (D. Ariz.)
IM-AZ-0006-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges McNamee, Stephen M. (D. Ariz.)
IM-AZ-0006-0003 | IM-AZ-0006-0004 | IM-AZ-0006-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Burke, Francis J. (Arizona)
IM-AZ-0006-0001 | IM-AZ-0006-9000
Goddard, Terry (Arizona)
IM-AZ-0006-0002
Gottlieb, Stacey Faith (Arizona)
IM-AZ-0006-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Goodwin, Michael King (Arizona)
IM-AZ-0006-0001 | IM-AZ-0006-9000
Hammond, Larry A. (Arizona)
IM-AZ-0006-0002
Holmes, Cameron H. (Arizona)
IM-AZ-0006-0002 | IM-AZ-0006-9000
Johnson, Charles R. (Arizona)
IM-AZ-0006-9000
Lepley, Stephen C. (Arizona)
IM-AZ-0006-9000
Little, Jan Neilsen (California)
IM-AZ-0006-0002
Other Lawyers Rowland, Mary M. (Illinois)
IM-AZ-0006-9000

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