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Case Name Tanvir v. Holder NS-NY-0007
Docket / Court 1:13-cv-06951-RA ( S.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) National Security
Attorney Organization Center for Constitutional Rights
Case Summary
On October 1, 2013, an American Muslim man who was repeatedly denied boarding flights in the United States because of his alleged inclusion on the federal No Fly List, filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against against the Department of Homeland ... read more >
On October 1, 2013, an American Muslim man who was repeatedly denied boarding flights in the United States because of his alleged inclusion on the federal No Fly List, filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against against the Department of Homeland Security ("DHS"), the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI"), the Transportation Security Administration ("TSA"), and the Terrorist Screening Center ("TSC"), which created and maintained the No Fly List. On April 22, 2014, an amended complaint was filed, adding three additional American Muslim men that have been denied boarding on flights originating in or destined for the United States because of their alleged inclusion on the No Fly List.

The plaintiffs, represented by the Center for Constitutional Rights as well as private counsel, alleged that the defendants have used the No Fly List to punish and retaliate against them for declining to act as informants, and to spy on others, for the FBI. The plaintiffs were opposed to doing so for religious, moral, and political reasons. More specifically, some plaintiffs found themselves on the No Fly List shortly after refusing to become informants for the FBI. Later, the FBI told these plaintiffs that they could get off the No-Fly List only if they agreed to work for the FBI. Other plaintiffs were approached by the FBI shortly after being denied boarding on flights and were told they would be removed from the No Fly List if they agreed to work for the FBI.

The plaintiffs alleged that their inclusion on the No Fly List constituted: (1) retaliation in violation of their First Amendment rights to freedom of speech, association, and religion; (2) violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act ("RFRA"); (3) denial of procedural due process under the Fifth Amendment because the defendants have failed to give the plaintiffs any meaningful notice or opportunity to see or challenge the asserted reasons for their inclusion; and (4) unlawful agency action in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act ("APA").

The plaintiffs sought declaratory, injunctive, and monetary relief. More specifically, the plaintiffs sought removal of their names from the No-Fly List; declaratory and injunctive relief stating that they were kept on the No-Fly List without cause and in retaliation for their assertion of constitutional rights in refusing to work for the FBI; and declaratory and injunctive relief stating that the No-Fly List lacks due process and permits misuse.

The parties entered into discovery during which, the defendants filed two separate motions to dismiss on July 28, 2014. The first, on behalf of the Government, sought to dismiss all official capacity claims. The second, on behalf of the Agents, sought to dismiss all personal capacity claims.

On June 1, 2015, the Government moved to stay the official capacity claims. The government had revised the redress procedures available through administrative procedures as a result of the decision in Latif v. Holder, 28 F.Supp.3d 1134 (D.Or. 2014), which held various aspects of the process inadequate under the Fifth Amendment's Due Process Clause and the APA. The plaintiffs had elected to use these revised procedures, so the government argued for a stay of the plaintiffs' official capacity claims while the administrative process occurred. The government argued that the claims were likely to become moot in light of the revised procedures. Initially, the plaintiffs opposed the motion to stay. But, after the government advised the plaintiffs that it knew of “no reason” why they would be unable to fly in the future, the plaintiffs agreed voluntarily stayed their official capacity claims on June 10, 2015. The parties continued to litigate the monetary claims against the defendants in their personal capacities.

On September 3, 2015, the court (Judge Ronnie Abrams) dismissed all of the plaintiffs' personal capacity claims against the federal employees. The court held that the plaintiffs were not permitted to seek damages against the federal employees under either Bivens or the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. 128 F. Supp. 3d 756 (S.D.N.Y. 2015). The order did not address the plaintiffs' official capacity claims regarding the manner in which individuals are added to the No-Fly List or the procedures for challenging such inclusion. The court directed the plaintiffs to advise the court whether they wished to proceed on the official capacity claims. Responding to the court, the plaintiffs moved to voluntarily dismiss those remaining claims. Accordingly, on December 28, 2015, the court dismissed the remaining claims.

Final judgment in favor of the defendants was entered on February 17, 2016.

Michael Mirdamadi - 05/11/2014
Jessica Kincaid - 04/22/2016


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Free Exercise Clause
Freedom of speech/association
Right to travel
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Law-enforcement
Discrimination-basis
Religion discrimination
General
Inadequate citizen complaint investigations and procedures
Terrorism/Post 9-11 issues
Watchlist
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Bivens
Religious Freedom Rest. Act/Religious Land Use and Inst. Persons Act (RFRA/RLUIPA)
Defendant(s) Department of Homeland Security
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Terrorist Screening Center
Transportation Security Administration
Plaintiff Description Plaintiffs are four American Muslim men denied boarding on flights originating in or destined for the United States because of their alleged inclusion on the U.S. "No-Fly List."
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Center for Constitutional Rights
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 2016
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)
1:13-cv-6951 (S.D.N.Y.) 04/18/2016
NS-NY-0007-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 10/01/2013
NS-NY-0007-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Setting Pretrial Conference] 04/23/2014 (S.D.N.Y.)
NS-NY-0007-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion & Order 09/03/2015 (128 F.Supp.3d 756) (S.D.N.Y.)
NS-NY-0007-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Bloomberg Law
Order 12/28/2015 (S.D.N.Y.)
NS-NY-0007-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Abrams, Ronnie (S.D.N.Y.)
NS-NY-0007-0002 | NS-NY-0007-0003 | NS-NY-0007-0004 | NS-NY-0007-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Ahmad, Naz (New York)
NS-NY-0007-9000
Azmy, Baher (New York)
NS-NY-0007-0001 | NS-NY-0007-9000
Bhaskaran, Rushmi (New York)
NS-NY-0007-9000
Cowan, Jennifer (New York)
NS-NY-0007-9000
Ford, Christopher Sean (New York)
NS-NY-0007-9000
Gulay, Erol Nazim (New York)
NS-NY-0007-9000
Hekman, Rebecca Sue (New York)
NS-NY-0007-9000
Hu, Susan Shanke (New York)
NS-NY-0007-0001 | NS-NY-0007-9000
Kadidal, Shayana (New York)
NS-NY-0007-0001 | NS-NY-0007-9000
Kassem, Ramzi (Connecticut)
NS-NY-0007-0001 | NS-NY-0007-9000
Shamas, Diala (New York)
NS-NY-0007-0001 | NS-NY-0007-9000
Shwartz, Robert N. (New York)
NS-NY-0007-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Blain, Jennifer Ellen (New York)
NS-NY-0007-9000
Normand, Susan S. (New York)
NS-NY-0007-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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