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Case Name Echavarria v. Pitts IM-TX-0029
Docket / Court 7:09-cv-00073 ( S.D. Tex. )
State/Territory Texas
Case Type(s) Immigration
Case Summary
When an alien has been detained by the Department of Homeland Security ("DHS"), an obligor may post a $1,500 cash bond to secure the alien's release. The obligor signs an agreement with DHS, agreeing to be responsible for informing DHS of the alien's whereabouts and to ensure the alien's appearance ... read more >
When an alien has been detained by the Department of Homeland Security ("DHS"), an obligor may post a $1,500 cash bond to secure the alien's release. The obligor signs an agreement with DHS, agreeing to be responsible for informing DHS of the alien's whereabouts and to ensure the alien's appearance at subsequent interviews, hearings, and, if necessary, for deportation. The obligor further agrees that DHS may send notice to the obligor at the address specified in the bond agreement. DHS notifies the bond obligor of a demand on the bond by mailing notice to the obligor at the address listed in the bond agreement by certified mail return receipt requested. If the notice is returned as undeliverable for any reason, DHS immediately declares the bond breached. DHS sends notice of the breach to the same address. DHS does not attempt to resend notice of the bond demand to the obligor by any other means. The bonded alien eventually receives notice of the bond demand directly from DHS.

Plaintiffs filed habeas corpus suits against the District Director for Interior Enforcement and DHS, and the United States Attorney General, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, McAllen Division. Plaintiffs asserted that their due process rights were violated when DHS failed to make additional attempts at service after it had knowledge that the initial attempt at notice failed. The Court certified four classes with claims, one "Supervision Class," and three "Cash Bond Classes": the "Obligor Cash Bond Class," "Immigrant Cash Bond Class A," and "Immigrant Cash Bond Class B."

On August 23, 2010, the District Court ordered that Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment is granted in part and denied in part, and Defendants' Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment is also granted in part and denied in part. More specifically, Plaintiffs' Motion is denied with respect to the claims of the Supervision Class; Plaintiffs' Motion is granted with respect to the claims of the Obligor Cash Bond Class; The Immigrant Cash Bond Class A is decertified, and Plaintiffs' Motion is granted with respect to the claims of the Immigrant Cash Bond Class B.

Defendants appealed the case to the Fifth Circuit with regard to two of the classes, the Obligor Cash Bond Class and the Immigration Cash Bond Class B. On May 11, 2011, in a published opinion, the Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court's decision. The Court of Appeals find that DHS violated the bond obligor's due process rights when it failed to take additional reasonable steps to notify the obligors of the bond demand after the initial notice was returned as undeliverable before it collected on the bond.

Xin Chen - 05/30/2011


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Immigration
Detention - procedures
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Habeas Corpus, 28 U.S.C. §§ 2241-2253; 2254; 2255
Defendant(s) District Director for Interior Enforcement
Secretary
Plaintiff Description Plaintiffs are four classes certified by the court, one “Supervision Class" and three “Cash Bond Classes”--the “Obligor Cash Bond Class,” “Immigrant Cash Bond Class A,” and “Immigrant Cash Bond Class B."
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2010
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing IM-TX-0030 : Zamora-Garcia v. Moore (S.D. Tex.)
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)
7:09−cv−00073 (S.D. Tex.) 01/25/2011
IM-TX-0029-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part Petitioners'/Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment and Granting in Part and Denying in Part Federal Respondents’/Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment 08/23/2010 (S.D. Tex.)
IM-TX-0029-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Final Judgment 10/12/2010 (S.D. Tex.)
IM-TX-0029-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part Defendants’ Motion to Stay Decision During Pendency of Appeal Period 12/09/2010 (S.D. Tex.)
IM-TX-0029-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Fifth Circuit Opinion 05/11/2011 (641 F.3d 92)
IM-TX-0029-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Crane, Randy (S.D. Tex.)
IM-TX-0029-0001 | IM-TX-0029-0002 | IM-TX-0029-0004 | IM-TX-0029-9000
DeMoss, Harold R. Jr. (Fifth Circuit)
IM-TX-0029-0003
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Brodyaga, Lisa S. (Texas)
IM-TX-0029-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Benavides, Reno Carlo (Texas)
IM-TX-0029-9000
Guerra, David Louis (Texas)
IM-TX-0029-9000
Putnam, Lisa M. (Texas)
IM-TX-0029-9000
Young, Stacey Ilene (District of Columbia)
IM-TX-0029-9000
Zeitlin, Benjamin (District of Columbia)
IM-TX-0029-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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