University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Ali v. Rumsfeld NS-DC-0004
Docket / Court 05-cv-01378 ( D.D.C. )
State/Territory District of Columbia
Case Type(s) National Security
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Case Summary
In 2005, plaintiffs, four Afghan and five Iraqi citizens who were incarcerated in U.S. detention facilities in Afghanistan and Iraq, respectively, filed suit against the U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and three high-ranking U.S. Army officers, alleging violations of the Fifth Amendment ... read more >
In 2005, plaintiffs, four Afghan and five Iraqi citizens who were incarcerated in U.S. detention facilities in Afghanistan and Iraq, respectively, filed suit against the U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and three high-ranking U.S. Army officers, alleging violations of the Fifth Amendment due process clause, Fifth and Eighth Amendment prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment, the law of nations prohibitions against torture and against cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS), 28 U.S.C. § 1350, and the Third and Fourth Geneva Conventions, 6 U.S.T. 3316 and 6 U.S.T. 3516. Plaintiffs alleged they were subject to torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading detention while in U.S. military custody, including beatings, sexual assault, deprivation of food and medical care, and mock executions.

The plaintiffs originally filed separate actions in United States District Court for the District of Connecticut, the Northern District of Illinois, the District of South Carolina, and the Southern District of Texas. The multidistrict litigation was consolidated in United States District Court for the District of Columbia, pursuant to an order dated June 17, 2005 under 28 U.S.C. § 1407, and an amended consolidated complaint was filed in January 2006. The American Civil Liberties Union represented the plaintiffs.

In March 2006, each of the four defendants moved to dismiss the case. After extensive briefing and oral arguments, the district court dismissed the case against all defendants in March 2007 on the grounds that defendants were entitled to qualified immunity as to several counts of the complaint, and absolute immunity as to the law of nations and Geneva Conventions complaints, pursuant to the Federal Employees Liability Reform and Tort Compensation Act of 1988 (the Westfall Act), 28 U.S.C. §§ 2671, 2674, 2679. In re Iraq and Afghanistan Detainees Litigation, 479 F. Supp. 2d 85 (D.D.C. 2007). The district court declined plaintiffs' suggestion to infer causes of action for tort liability pursuant to Bivens.

The plaintiffs appealed on May 24, 2007 to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The D.C. Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment of dismissal. Ali v. Rumsfeld, 649 F.3d 762 (D.C. Cir. 2011), rehearing en banc denied, (Sept. 19, 2011).

Elizabeth Homan - 11/11/2013


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Conditions of confinement
Confinement/isolation
Courts
Excessive force
False arrest
International law
Over/Unlawful Detention
Placement in detention facilities
Restraints : chemical
Restraints : physical
Terrorism/Post 9-11 issues
Unconstitutional conditions of confinement
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA), 28 U.S.C. § 1350
Defendant(s) Department of Defense
Plaintiff Description Plaintiffs are four Afghan and five Iraqi citizens who were incarcerated in U.S. detention facilities in Afghanistan and Iraq, respectively.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2007
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Links Guest Post: New Resource — Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse FISA Archives
Just Security
Posted: Jun. 26, 2014
By: Margo Schlanger
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
1:05-cv-01378-TFH (D.D.C.) 10/03/2011
NS-DC-0004-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Consolidated Amended Complaint for Declaratory Relief and Damages 01/05/2006
NS-DC-0004-0003 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 03/27/2007 (D.D.C.)
NS-DC-0004-0005 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion 05/27/2007 (479 F.Supp.2d 85) (D.D.C.)
NS-DC-0004-0002 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Order (Affirming District Court's Judgment of Dismissal) 06/21/2011 (649 F.3d 762)
NS-DC-0004-0001 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source:
Judges Edwards, Harry Thomas (D.C. Circuit)
NS-DC-0004-0001
Henderson, Karen LeCraft (D.S.C., D.C. Circuit)
NS-DC-0004-0001
Hogan, Thomas Francis (D.D.C., FISC)
NS-DC-0004-0002 | NS-DC-0004-0005 | NS-DC-0004-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Guttentag, Lucas (California)
NS-DC-0004-0003
Hutson, John D. (New Hampshire)
NS-DC-0004-0003
Jadwat, Omar C. (New York)
NS-DC-0004-0003
Keitner, Chimene I (California)
NS-DC-0004-0003
Lee, Bill Lann (California)
NS-DC-0004-0003
Patel, Priti N. (New York)
NS-DC-0004-0003 | NS-DC-0004-9000
Pearlstein, Deborah N. (California)
NS-DC-0004-0003 | NS-DC-0004-9000
Posner, Michael H. (New York)
NS-DC-0004-0003 | NS-DC-0004-9000
Sekhon, Nirej S. (California)
NS-DC-0004-0003
Shamsi, Hina (New York)
NS-DC-0004-0003 | NS-DC-0004-9000
Shapiro, Steven R. (New York)
NS-DC-0004-0003
Singh, Amrit (New York)
NS-DC-0004-0003
Spitzer, Arthur (District of Columbia)
NS-DC-0004-0003 | NS-DC-0004-9000
Wang, Cecillia D (California)
NS-DC-0004-0003
Watt, Steven M. (New York)
NS-DC-0004-0003
Defendant's Lawyers Meeks, J Marcus (District of Columbia)
NS-DC-0004-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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