On July 13, 2007, Plaintiff filed a civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, New Haven Division. Plaintiff is a foreign national who had lawfully studied and worked in the United States for nearly eleven years. On the morning of October 29, 2004, when he left his apartment to work, Plaintiff was arrested on the charge that he had overstayed his period of authorized stay as a nonimmigrant visa holder by federal agents. Plaintiff was then held without bail at the Hartford Correctional Center (HCC), a state run prison facility, in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE"), a unit of the Department of Homeland Security ("DHS"). Represented by public interest attorneys from Yale Law School and Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Plaintiff brought this action against various departments and officials of the federal and state governments, challenging the legality his arrest, his detention, and the conditions under which he was detained.
Defendants filed a motion to dismiss or for summary judgment. On September 22, 2008, in a published opinion, the Court (Judge Janet C. Hall) dismissed a number of Plaintiff's claims. However, the court denied Defendant's motion for summary judgment and held that Plaintiff had stated claims against the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act ("FTCA") for false arrest and for abuse of process with respect to his detention following the agreement to voluntarily departure. The Court also held that Plaintiff had stated claims, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. section 1983, against HCC's Warden for violations of the Free Exercise Clause and the Eighth Amendment. The Court also granted Plaintiff permission to amend the Complaint in order to plead claims against a Chaplain at HCC; and HCC's Director of Food Services, pursuant to the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act ("RLUIPA"), 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000cc et seq.
Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint, filed on November 07, 2008, became the surviving complaint of this action.
After a long and contentious battle in discovery, Defendants again filed motions for summary in late August and early September of 2010. Plaintiff filed its opposition and cross-motion for summary judgment in November. The American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association filed an amici brief to support the Plaintiff.
On April 12, 2011, in a published opinion, the Court (Judge Hall) denied Defendants' motion for summary judgment and granted in part and denied in part Plaintiff's cross motion for summary judgment. The Court ruled that an H-1B worker who had timely sought an extension of that visa status, and who was authorized to continue working under 8 CFR § 274a.12(b)(20), could not be arrested or subjected to removal. The Court's opinion revolves around the meaning of 8 CFR § 274a.12(b)(20), which the Court summarized as follows: "A nonimmigrant alien [who was admitted under one of various forms of work-based visas, including an H-1B visa] whose status has expired but who has filed a timely application for an extension of such stay....[is] authorized to continue employment with the same employer for a period not to exceed 240 days beginning on the date of the expiration of the authorized period of stay."
Later, the parties settled this action in full. On August 15, 2011, the action was dismissed with prejudice.Xin Chen - 10/13/2011