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