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Case Name Assembly of God Church Riverside v. Township of Riverside, New Jersey IM-NJ-0002
Docket / Court 1:06-cv-03842-RMB-AMD ( D.N.J. )
State/Territory New Jersey
Case Type(s) Immigration
Case Summary
Plaintiffs filed this class-action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for New Jersey to challenge the constitutionality of the Town of Riverside Ordinance 2006-16 ("Illegal Immigration Relief Act"), which forbid housing and employment of undocumented immigrants. Plaintiffs alleged that the ... read more >
Plaintiffs filed this class-action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for New Jersey to challenge the constitutionality of the Town of Riverside Ordinance 2006-16 ("Illegal Immigration Relief Act"), which forbid housing and employment of undocumented immigrants. Plaintiffs alleged that the Ordinance was an improper attempt by local government to enforce federal immigration laws in violation of the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution and that it caused national origin discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Fair Housing Act and 42 U.S.C. § 1981. Plaintiffs sought injunctive and declaratory relief, as well as class certification.

This case was one of two lawsuits challenging the Ordinance. The other case, Riverside Coalition of Business Persons and Landlords v. Township of Riverside, cause # L-2965-06. [IM-NJ-1], was filed in New Jersey state court and challenged the Ordinance as violating the New Jersey Constitution.

Riverside initially agreed to suspend enforcement of the Ordinance or any amendments while the legality of the Ordinance was litigated. Riverside's agreement resulted in a Consent Order being entered in the state court case on October 25, 2006. Despite that agreement, the Riverside Township Council introduced a revised version of the Ordinance at its council meeting on the evening of October 25, 2006. On November 22, 2006, the Township approved and enacted Revised Ordinance 2006-26 which was patterned on a similar ordinance enacted in Hazleton, Pennsylvania. (The Hazleton Ordinance was the subject of federal court litigation - see Lozano v. City of Hazleton, IM-PA-1).

On January 5, 2007, Plaintiffs filed an amended complaint to reflect that the Ordinance had been amended by Revised Ordinance 2006-26. Plaintiffs also voluntarily dismissed the Riverside mayor as a party defendant. The District Court entered a scheduling order which set deadlines for discovery and dispositive motions.

Citing escalating legal costs and an adverse ruling in the Lozano v. City of Hazleton case, the Township introduced a measure in August 2007 to repeal the Revised Ordinance 2006-26. On September 17, 2007, the Township Council repealed Revised Ordinance 2006-26 by a 3 to 1 vote.

On September 21, 2007, plaintiffs filed a motion for summary judgment and motion for attorneys' fees. Defendants opposed plaintiffs' request for attorneys' fees, citing the fact that the Township voluntarily repealed the Revised Ordinance.

The court dismissed the pending motions and closed the case on November 30, 2007.

Elizabeth Daligga - 07/16/2012


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Federalism
Immigration
Constitutional rights
Undocumented immigrants - state and local regulation
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. §§ 1101 et seq.
42 U.S.C. § 1983
42 U.S.C. § 1981
Defendant(s) Township of Riverside
Plaintiff Description The class consists of the following ascertainable members: all persons who currently reside in Riverside and find themselves to be negatively affected by the proposed unconstitutional ordinance.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief
Source of Relief Unknown
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing IM-NJ-0001 : Riverside Coalition of Business Persons and Landlords v. Township of Riverside, New Jersey (State Court)
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)
1:06-cv-03842-RMB-AMD (D.N.J.) 11/02/2007
IM-NJ-0002-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory, Injunctive and Further Relief 08/15/2006
IM-NJ-0002-0001 PDF | Detail
Answer and Affirmative Defenses 10/03/2006
IM-NJ-0002-0002 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Complaint for Declaratory, Injunctive and Further Relief 01/05/2007
IM-NJ-0002-0003 PDF | Detail
Motion for Summary Judgment and Memorandum of Law 09/25/2007
IM-NJ-0002-0004 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendant's Brief in Response to Motion for Fees - Statement of Facts 11/02/2007
IM-NJ-0002-0005 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Bumb, Renee Marie (D.N.J.)
IM-NJ-0002-9000
Donio, Ann Marie (D.N.J.) [Magistrate]
IM-NJ-0002-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Pena, Jesus J. (New Jersey)
IM-NJ-0002-0004 | IM-NJ-0002-9000
Sanchez Calderon, William J. (Florida)
IM-NJ-0002-0001 | IM-NJ-0002-0003 | IM-NJ-0002-0004
Defendant's Lawyers Heinhold, Douglas L. (New Jersey)
IM-NJ-0002-0002 | IM-NJ-0002-9000
Saponaro, George R. (New Jersey)
IM-NJ-0002-0005 | IM-NJ-0002-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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