University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name Muniz v. Gallegos IM-OH-0003
Docket / Court 3:09-cv-02865 ( N.D. Ohio )
State/Territory Ohio
Case Type(s) Immigration
Case Summary
On December 10, 2010, Hispanics who were restrained and interrogated by law enforcement agents filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio against the U.S. Border Patrol and several Ohio police departments, accusing the defendants of racial profiling. Individual ... read more >
On December 10, 2010, Hispanics who were restrained and interrogated by law enforcement agents filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio against the U.S. Border Patrol and several Ohio police departments, accusing the defendants of racial profiling. Individual plaintiffs along with the organizational plaintiffs (Ohio Immigrant Worker Project and the Farm Labor Organizing Committee, AFL-CIO), were represented by private counsel and Advocates for Basic Legal Equality. Although the complaint was brought as a class action, the plaintiffs never sought class certification.

The plaintiffs alleged that they were restrained and interrogated by the defendants about their immigration status because of their Hispanic appearance, in violation of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. These claims were brought against federal defendants as Bivens claims and against local defendants under Section 1983. The plaintiffs also alleged that the defendants had conspired to violate their right to equal protection in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1985(3) and § 1986. They requested injunctive and declaratory relief.

In their first amended complaint, filed on March 1, 2010, the plaintiffs added claims pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act and alleged violations of the Immigration Nationality Act and the Fourteenth Amendment. The plaintiffs also added requests for compensatory relief.

A settlement conference was held in May 2010, but did not lead to a settlement. On September 29, 2010, the District Court (Judge Jack Zouhary) denied without prejudice defendants' motions to dismiss and for summary judgment. The court, however, questioned whether subject matter jurisdiction was proper in this case.

There followed a long period of discovery. The plaintiffs filed a second amended complaint adding factual allegations against federal defendants and attempted to file a third amended complaint to add claims under the Federal Torts Claims Act, but leave to file was denied by the court on June 16, 2012.

Over the course of six months in 2012, the plaintiffs settled with the local defendants and dismissed all claims against the local defendants with prejudice. The settlement agreements were not publicly released. These settlements left only the claims against the federal defendants.

However, on October 19, 2012, the court held that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction over those claims, finding that plaintiffs' claims were barred by sovereign immunity. Muniz-Muniz v. U.S. Border Patrol, No. 3:09 CV 2865, 2012 WL 5197250 (N.D. Ohio Oct. 19, 2012). The court, therefore, dismissed the plaintiffs' case in its entirety on November 15, 2012.

The plaintiffs then appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. On December 20, 2013, the Sixth Circuit reversed the district court's decision and remanded the case for further proceedings. The Sixth Circuit held that the waiver of sovereign immunity in the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) applied to all non-monetary claims against federal agencies. 741 F.3d 668 (6th Cir. 2013).

After the case was remanded, the parties engaged in further discovery. The defendants moved to dismiss the claims for lack of standing and moved for summary judgment. On May, 28, 2014, the district court (Judge Zouhary) denied the defendants' motion to dismiss and motion for summary judgment.

Discovery continued for the next year and a trial date was set for the summer of 2015. The court held the two-week bench trial in June 2015. After the trial, the court had the parties submit post-trial briefs. After reviewing these briefs and the evidence presented at the trial, on February 24, 2016, the district court (Judge Zouhary) found for the defendants. Judge Zouhary held that the plaintiffs alleged an injury in fact sufficient to establish standing, but that they failed to demonstrate that CBP maintained a policy or custom that had a discriminatory effect on Hispanics that was motivated by a discriminatory purpose. Judge Zouhary also held that the plaintiffs failed to establish that CBP had a policy or practice of escalating consensual encounters through immigration interrogations or encouraging local law enforcement officers to unconstitutionally prolong their investigations. 2016 WL 726901 (N.D.Ohio, Feb. 24, 2016).

On April 19, 2016, the plaintiffs appealed the district court's decision. As of May 16, 2016, that appeal is pending before the Sixth Circuit.

Jennifer Bronson - 10/26/2013
Jessica Kincaid - 05/16/2016


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Defendant-type
Law-enforcement
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
General
Racial profiling
Search policies
National Origin/Ethnicity
Hispanic
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
42 U.S.C. § 1985
Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Bivens
Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. §§ 1101 et seq.
Defendant(s) CITY OF NORWALK, OHIO
U.S. Border Patrol
Village of Attica, Ohio
VILLAGE OF PLYMOUTH, OHIO
Plaintiff Description Hispanics who were restrained and interrogated by law enforcement agents
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted Moot
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None

Source of Relief Settlement
None
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2016
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
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)
3:09−cv−02865 (N.D. Ohio) 02/24/2016
IM-OH-0003-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 12/10/2009
IM-OH-0003-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint 03/01/2010
IM-OH-0003-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order (In RE to Motion to Dismiss and/or in the Alternative Motion for Summary Judgment) 09/29/2010 (N.D. Ohio)
IM-OH-0003-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order (Regarding Plaintiffs' Motion for Leave to File Third Amended Complaint) 06/15/2012 (N.D. Ohio)
IM-OH-0003-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion and Order (Granting Motion to Dismiss) 10/19/2012 (2012 WL 5197250) (N.D. Ohio)
IM-OH-0003-0006.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order of Case Dismissal 11/15/2012 (N.D. Ohio)
IM-OH-0003-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion 12/20/2013 (741 F.3d 668)
IM-OH-0003-0007.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 05/28/2014 (N.D. Ohio)
IM-OH-0003-0008.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion and Order 02/24/2016 (2016 WL 726901) (N.D. Ohio)
IM-OH-0003-0009.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Bloomberg Law
Judges Greer, J. Ronnie (E.D. Tenn)
IM-OH-0003-0007
Zouhary, Jack (N.D. Ohio)
IM-OH-0003-0003 | IM-OH-0003-0004 | IM-OH-0003-0005 | IM-OH-0003-0006 | IM-OH-0003-0008 | IM-OH-0003-0009 | IM-OH-0003-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Chablani, Aneel L (Ohio)
IM-OH-0003-0001 | IM-OH-0003-0002 | IM-OH-0003-9000
Heller, Mark R. (Ohio)
IM-OH-0003-0001 | IM-OH-0003-0002 | IM-OH-0003-9000
Mollo, Eugenio Jr. (Ohio)
IM-OH-0003-0001 | IM-OH-0003-0002 | IM-OH-0003-9000
Murray, John T. (Ohio)
IM-OH-0003-0001 | IM-OH-0003-0002 | IM-OH-0003-9000
Murray, Leslie O. (Ohio)
IM-OH-0003-0001 | IM-OH-0003-0002 | IM-OH-0003-9000
Stewart, Michael J. (Ohio)
IM-OH-0003-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Belsan, Timothy Michael (District of Columbia)
IM-OH-0003-9000
Grigsby, Teresa L. (Ohio)
IM-OH-0003-9000
Hannon, Tami Z. (Ohio)
IM-OH-0003-9000
Kisor, Colin A. (District of Columbia)
IM-OH-0003-9000
McLandrich, John T. (Ohio)
IM-OH-0003-9000
Silvis, William C. (District of Columbia)
IM-OH-0003-9000
Sydlow, Holly Taft (District of Columbia)
IM-OH-0003-9000
Szuberla, Joan C. (Ohio)
IM-OH-0003-9000
Tomino, Nick (Ohio)
IM-OH-0003-9000
Weintraub, J. Max (District of Columbia)
IM-OH-0003-9000
Wright, Cara M. (Ohio)
IM-OH-0003-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -