University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Cherri v. Mueller NS-MI-0001
Docket / Court 2:12-cv-11656-AC-LJM ( E.D. Mich. )
State/Territory Michigan
Case Type(s) National Security
Case Summary
On April 13, 2012, a number of Muslim Americans residing in Michigan filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, against the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Border Patrol, and the Transportation Security ... read more >
On April 13, 2012, a number of Muslim Americans residing in Michigan filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, against the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Border Patrol, and the Transportation Security Administration. The plaintiffs claimed that they have been subjected to invasive body searches, prolonged detentions, and religious questioning each time they cross the U.S.-Canada border, while never being provided with a reason for this treatment. Represented by the Council on American Islamic Relations, they asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, claiming that targeting and detaining Muslim Americans at the border to question them about their religious beliefs violates the First Amendment, as well as plaintiffs' Equal Protection rights, because people of other faiths are not similarly questioned.

On September 14, 2012, the federal government filed a motion to dismiss. On November 16, 2012, the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint, adding in the Department of Homeland Security as a defendant. Again, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss the amended complaint.

On June 11, 2013, Judge Avern Cohn bifurcated the claims against the official-capacity defendants from the claims against the individual-capacity defendants to handle them separately. Cherri v. Mueller, 12-11656, 2013 WL 2558154 (E.D. Mich. June 11, 2013). Judge Cohn then granted in part and denied in part the official-capacity defendants' motion to dismiss. He held that (1) the plaintiffs had standing to sue and the claims in the plaintiffs' first amended complaint were justiciable; (2) the plaintiffs had adequately pled the existence of an official policy, custom and practice; and (3) pursuant to that official policy, custom, and practice, the plaintiffs sufficiently stated a Fifth Amendment claim (Count IV). However, Judge Cohn held that the plaintiffs did not state a claim upon which relief can be granted under the First Amendment or the RFRA and therefore dismissed those counts. Cherri v. Mueller, 951 F. Supp. 2d 918 (E.D. Mich. 2013).

On June 17, 2013, the plaintiffs filed two additional amended complaints, one for the individual-capacity defendants and another for the official-capacity defendants. On August 14, 2013, the parties agreed to a stipulated order of dismissal of individual-capacity claims only.

As of June 16, 2014, the case is ongoing and currently in the discovery phase.

Jessica Kincaid - 06/16/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Free Exercise Clause
Unreasonable search and seizure
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-basis
Religion discrimination
General
Over/Unlawful Detention
Search policies
Terrorism/Post 9-11 issues
National Origin/Ethnicity
Arab/Afgani/Middle Eastern
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Religious Freedom Rest. Act/Religious Land Use and Inst. Persons Act (RFRA/RLUIPA)
Bivens
Defendant(s) Department of Homeland Security
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Transportation Security Administration
U.S. Border Patrol
Plaintiff Description Muslim Americans living in Eastern Michigan who have been subjected to questioning about their religious beliefs at the U.S.-Canada border
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
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)
2:12-cv-11656-AC-LJM (E.D. Mich.) 06/01/2015
NS-MI-0001-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 04/13/2012
NS-MI-0001-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum and Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part Official- Capacity Defendant's Motion to Dismiss 06/11/2013 (951 F.Supp.2d 918) (E.D. Mich.)
NS-MI-0001-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order of Bifurcation 06/11/2013 (2013 WL 2558154) (E.D. Mich.)
NS-MI-0001-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Second Amended Complaint (Official capacity Defendants) 06/17/2013
NS-MI-0001-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Second Amended Complaint (Individual Capacity Defendants) 06/17/2013
NS-MI-0001-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants' Response to Plaintiffs' Motion to Compel Discovery and Defendants' Cross Motion for a Protective Order 04/28/2015
NS-MI-0001-0006.pdf | Detail
Defendants' Response to Plaintiffs' Motion to Compel Discovery and Defendants' Cross-Motion for a Protective Order [Exhibit A: Declaration of Derek N. Benner] 04/28/2015
NS-MI-0001-0007.pdf | Detail
Judges Cohn, Avern Levin (E.D. Mich.)
NS-MI-0001-0002 | NS-MI-0001-0003 | NS-MI-0001-9000
Michelson, Laurie Jill (E.D. Mich.) [Magistrate]
NS-MI-0001-0005 | NS-MI-0001-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Abbas, Gadeir Ibrahim (District of Columbia)
NS-MI-0001-0001 | NS-MI-0001-0004 | NS-MI-0001-0005 | NS-MI-0001-9000
Akbar, Syed (Michigan)
NS-MI-0001-0001
Akeel, Shereef H (Michigan)
NS-MI-0001-0001 | NS-MI-0001-0004 | NS-MI-0001-0005 | NS-MI-0001-9000
Jabbar, Munia (District of Columbia)
NS-MI-0001-9000
Masri, Lena F (Michigan)
NS-MI-0001-0001 | NS-MI-0001-0004 | NS-MI-0001-0005 | NS-MI-0001-9000
Nimer, Jennifer E (Ohio)
NS-MI-0001-0001 | NS-MI-0001-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Cooper, Jonathan Gordon (District of Columbia)
NS-MI-0001-9000
Folio, Joseph C III (District of Columbia)
NS-MI-0001-0006 | NS-MI-0001-9000
Levine, Brant S. (District of Columbia)
NS-MI-0001-9000
Littleton, Judson O. (District of Columbia)
NS-MI-0001-9000
McQuade, Barbara L. (Michigan)
NS-MI-0001-0006
Mizer, Benjamin C. (District of Columbia)
NS-MI-0001-0006
Nemeroff, Patrick George (District of Columbia)
NS-MI-0001-9000
Tyler, John Russell (District of Columbia)
NS-MI-0001-0006
Ullman, Susan K (District of Columbia)
NS-MI-0001-0006 | NS-MI-0001-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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