On May 18, 2010, two organizations comprised of day laborers and/or predominately Latino immigrant workers filed a class action lawsuit in the Eastern District Court of New York under the First and Fourteenth Amendments against the Town of Oyster Bay. The plaintiffs, represented by the ACLU and LatinoJustice PRLDEF, sought injunctive relief, declaratory relief, and attorneys' fees and costs, claiming that the defendants, through the passage of an ordinance prohibiting the solicitation of labor from the town's streets and sidewalks, unlawfully prohibited speech related to employment and had a discriminatory animus against predominately Latino immigrant day laborers.
In September 2009, the Town Board enacted the ordinance in question. It prohibited any person from standing on a street corner stopping or attempting to stop a passing car for employment-related purposes. It also prohibited drivers from stopping their cars for the same purposes. The proposed purpose of the ordinance was to promote the health, safety, and welfare of motorists and pedestrians on the streets of the town. However, the supervisor referenced the ordinance as a temporary solution to dealing with those who were not on the path to citizenship. Comments from the public showed that town residents feared groups of men unfamiliar to them standing on the streets. There was also proof of animosity towards immigrant day laborers, such as town residents saying they were unsightly, illegal, and not wanted in that town. Plaintiffs argued that since New York laws already addressed health and safety concerns on the streets, this animus against predominantly Latino immigrant day laborers was what actually motivated the passing of the ordinance and that this violated the First Amendment right to free speech and Fourteenth Amendment right to equal protection. They also argued that the law was unconstitutionally vague in violation of the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. As a result of the ordinance, day laborers had suffered a significant loss of wages and harassment from police officers and people driving by them.
Two days after the complaint was filed, on May 20, 2010, the District Court (Judge Denis Reagan Hurley) granted the plaintiffs' motion for a temporary restraining order preventing the town from enforcing the ordinance at issue. Then, on June 1, 2010, the District Court granted the plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction against the enforcement of the ordinance at issue, pending final resolution of the First Amendment claims. In response to this order, the defendants filed a notice of appeal with the Second Circuit Court of Appeals on June 21, 2010. Little docket activity occurred until May 17, 2011, when the Second Circuit (Judges Barrington D. Parker, Gerard E. Lynch, and Raymond J. Lohier, Jr.) affirmed the District Court's order granting a preliminary injunction and remanded the case back to the District Court for further proceedings.
After a few months of discovery, on September 29, 2011, the plaintiffs' filed an amended complaint. The parties continued through the discovery process. On March 30, 2012, the District Court (Magistrate Judge Arlene Rosario Lindsay) granted the plaintiffs' motion for a protective order regarding their ability to withhold from discovery certain privileged documents and the identification documents and/or immigration status of the individual day laborers known to the plaintiffs. The parties then continued to go through more discovery litigation.
On June 18, 2013, the District Court (Judge Hurley) denied the defendants' motion for partial summary judgment, granted the plaintiffs' motion to dismiss the defendants' counterclaims, and affirmed Magistrate Judge Lindsay's protective order. The District Court rejected the defendants' arguments that one of the organization plaintiffs lacked standing and that they had met their burden of showing the need for the discovery protected under the protective order.
As of March 24, 2014, the case is ongoing. The end of discovery has been set for April 18, 2014.Perry Miska - 03/24/2014