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Case Name Daniel Renteria-Villegas v. Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County IM-TN-0004
Docket / Court 3:11-cv-00218 ( M.D. Tenn. )
State/Territory Tennessee
Case Type(s) Immigration
Case Summary
On January 7, 2011, a natural-born United States citizen of Latino ethnicity filed a lawsuit in the Chancery Court of Davidson County, Tennessee, under various state laws against the Davidson County Sheriff's Office (the "Sheriff"). The plaintiff, initially represented by private counsel, asked the ... read more >
On January 7, 2011, a natural-born United States citizen of Latino ethnicity filed a lawsuit in the Chancery Court of Davidson County, Tennessee, under various state laws against the Davidson County Sheriff's Office (the "Sheriff"). The plaintiff, initially represented by private counsel, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief and damages, claiming that the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County (the "Metro Government") had violated the Charter of Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County (the "Metro Charter"); that his due process rights under the Tennessee Constitution were violated; that he was maliciously harassed due to his race and ethnicity; and that he was falsely imprisoned.

Plaintiff's principal claim was that the Metro Government had violated the Metro Charter by allowing the Sheriff to enter into a 287(g) agreement with the U.S. government, which permitted the Sheriff to perform federal immigration law enforcement functions, even though the Metro Charter conferred all law enforcement duties upon the Nashville Police Department, and even though a prior Tennessee Supreme Court decision, Metro Government v. Poe, held that the Metro Charter took from the Sheriff the responsibility for the preservation of the public peace and vested that duty in the Nashville Police Department. Plaintiff also brought several other claims, including a due process claim and a false imprisonment claim, which would subsequently be dismissed.

On February 28, 2011, the Chancery Court ordered that the United States was an indispensible party to the lawsuit, and granted plaintiff thirty days to amend his complaint. An amended complaint was filed, which added a second plaintiff, added the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE") as a defendant, and dropped all claims except for the violation of the Metro Charter. The case was subsequently removed to the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee.

On June 21, 2011, the District Court (Judge Kevin H. Sharp) granted plaintiffs permission to again amend their complaint. Renteria-Villegas v. Metro. Gov.'t of Nashville & Davidson Cnty., 796 F. Supp. 2d 900 (M.D. Tenn. 2011). The court denied as moot the Defendants' Motions to Dismiss and the Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction. Plaintiffs amended their complaint to add another defendant and ICE subsequently moved to dismiss this latest iteration of the complaint.

On September 12, 2011, the District Court (Judge Sharp) granted in part and denied in part ICE's motion to dismiss, dismissing plaintiff's due process claim against it. Renteria-Villegas v. Metro. Gov.'t of Nashville & Davidson Cnty., No. 3:11-00218, 2011 WL 4048523 (M.D. Tenn. Sept. 12, 2011). The District Court refused to dismiss plaintiff's claim that the 287(g) agreement violated the Metro Charter, and instead chose to certify that question to the Tennessee Supreme Court for determination. The case was stayed pending the resolution of that question of law.

Over a year later, on October 19, 2012, the Tennessee Supreme Court concluded that the 287(g) agreement did not violate the Metro Charter or any other state law cited by the Plaintiffs. Renteria-Villegas v. Metro. Gov.'t of Nashville & Davidson Cnty., 382 S.W.3d 318 (Tenn. 2012). The Tennessee Supreme Court held that, "[w]hile the Charter makes the Police Chief the 'principal conservator of the peace,' it does not expressly prohibit the Sheriff from engaging in all activities that could conceivably be considered 'law enforcement.'"

Following the resolution of this question, in December of 2012, two of the three plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed all of their claims against all defendants. The remaining plaintiff dismissed his claims against ICE, but proceeded against Metro Government with constitutional claims under the Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments, and with a claim of false imprisonment.

In April of 2013, plaintiff's counsel filed a sealed motion asking the Court for leave to withdraw from representation of plaintiff. The District Court granted the motion for the reasons stated in the sealed motion. The Court allowed plaintiff thirty days to either find new counsel or notify the court that he intended to proceed pro se. Plaintiff did neither. The Court deemed the case abandoned, and dismissed it with prejudice.

Dan Whitman - 11/25/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Law-enforcement
Discrimination-basis
National origin discrimination
General
False arrest
Over/Unlawful Detention
Placement in detention facilities
Immigration
Constitutional rights
Detention - criteria
Detention - procedures
Language
Spanish
National Origin/Ethnicity
Hispanic
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action State law
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
42 U.S.C. ยง 1983
Defendant(s) United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Davidson County Sheriff's Office
Plaintiff Description A natural-born United States citizen of Latino ethnicity
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
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 Voluntary Dismissal
Conditional Dismissal
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2013
Case Ongoing No
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)
3:11-cv-218 (M.D. Tenn.) 06/26/2013
IM-TN-0004-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Verified Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief and Damages 01/07/2011
IM-TN-0004-0006.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum [Granting Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Amend Complaint] 06/21/2011 (796 F.Supp.2d 900) (M.D. Tenn.)
IM-TN-0004-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion [Denying Defendant's Motion to Dismiss] 09/12/2011 (2011 WL 4048523) (M.D. Tenn.)
IM-TN-0004-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Rule 23 Certified Question of Law from the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee 10/19/2012 (382 S.W.3d 318)
IM-TN-0004-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Fourth Amended Complaint 11/09/2012
IM-TN-0004-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Dismissing Case with Prejudice] 05/29/2013 (M.D. Tenn.)
IM-TN-0004-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Brown, Joe B. (M.D. Tenn.) [Magistrate]
IM-TN-0004-9000
Lee, Sharon G. (State Supreme Court, State Appellate Court)
IM-TN-0004-0002
Sharp, Kevin Hunter (M.D. Tenn.)
IM-TN-0004-0003 | IM-TN-0004-0004 | IM-TN-0004-0005 | IM-TN-0004-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Free, R. Andrew (Tennessee)
IM-TN-0004-0001 | IM-TN-0004-9000
Fritzsche, Thomas Paul (Georgia)
IM-TN-0004-0001 | IM-TN-0004-9000
Iturralde, Christina (Georgia)
IM-TN-0004-0001 | IM-TN-0004-9000
Ozment, Harry Elliot (Tennessee)
IM-TN-0004-0001 | IM-TN-0004-0006 | IM-TN-0004-9000
Realmuto, Trina (Massachusetts)
IM-TN-0004-0001 | IM-TN-0004-9000
Werner, Daniel (Georgia)
IM-TN-0004-0001 | IM-TN-0004-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Braunstein, Joshua E. (District of Columbia)
IM-TN-0004-9000
Curley, Matthew M (Tennessee)
IM-TN-0004-9000
Defoe, Craig Andrew (District of Columbia)
IM-TN-0004-9000
Fox, Lora Barkenbus (Tennessee)
IM-TN-0004-9000
Oliver, Keli J. (Tennessee)
IM-TN-0004-9000
Sanders, Elizabeth A (Tennessee)
IM-TN-0004-9000
Smith, Derrick C (Tennessee)
IM-TN-0004-9000
Wildasin, Mark H. (Tennessee)
IM-TN-0004-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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