This case is one of four lawsuits filed against the City of Farmers Branch, Texas, to challenge the City's anti-immigrant housing law, Ordinance 2892 (subsequently repealed and reenacted in slightly altered form as Ordinance 2903). See IM-TX-0001, IM-TX-0002 and IM-TX-0004. This case and two others filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Vazquez v. City of Farmers Branch (IM-TX-0001) and Barrientos v. City of Farmers Branch (IM-TX-0002) were assigned to District Court Judge Sam A. Lindsay. Judge Lindsay ordered that the three cases before him be consolidated. Villas at Parkside Partners v. City of Farmers Branch was designated as the lead case for purposes of the consolidated action.
The Ordinance required apartment owners and managers to determine the citizenship or immigration status of their tenants and imposed penalties for their failure to do so. It was largely patterned after similar ordinances enacted by local governments in Hazelton, Pennsylvania, and Escondido, California. The constitutionality of those ordinances has also been challenged. See IM-PA-0001 and IM-CA-0001.
On May 12, 2007, the voters of Farmers Branch approved Ordinance 2903 by a margin of 4,058 to 1,941. On May 21, 2007, a day before the Ordinance was to go into effect, the District Court (Judge Lindsay) granted plaintiffs' applications for a temporary restraining order enjoining enforcement of the Ordinance. Villas at Parkside Partners v. City of Farmers Branch, 2007 WL 1498763, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36918 (N.D. Tex. May 21, 2007). Plaintiffs were ordered to post a $1500.00 security bond.
On June 1, 2007, the Court (Judge Linsday) dismissed the Barrientos plaintiffs’ complaint for lack of standing. The Court reasoned that since the Barrientos plaintiffs operated retail businesses in Farmers Branch and were not tenants or property owners, the Ordinance had no direct effect on them. As such, they had no standing to challenge the Ordinance. The Court also denied the Federation of American Immigration Reform, Inc. leave to intervene in the case on behalf of the defendants. Villas at Parkside Partners v. City of Farmers Branch, 245 F.R.D. 551 (N.D. Tex. 2007).
A preliminary injunction hearing was held on June 5, 2007, and on June 19, 2007, the Court (Judge Lindsay) issued a preliminary injunction, enjoining Farmers Branch from enforcing Ordinance 2903 pending a trial on the merits. He found that as the Ordinance attempted to regulate immigration, and did so differently from the federal government, it was preempted by the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Villas at Parkside Partners v. City of Farmers Branch, 496 F.Supp.2d 757 (N.D. Tex. 2007). Farmers Branch then requested an increase in the amount of the bond posted by plaintiffs. That request was denied.
On June 26, 2007, the Court (Judge Lindsay) denied the City’s motion to dismiss plaintiffs’ complaints for failure to state a claim and lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Villas at Parkside Partners v. City of Farmers Branch, 2007 WL 1836844, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 46508 (N.D. Tex. June 26, 2007). On December 11, 2007, however, the Court (Judge Lindsey) granted a more narrowly drawn motion by the City to dismiss the Villa Plaintiffs’ claims for compensatory damages, finding that the Villa plaintiffs had suffered no damage from the Ordinance because it had never come into force due to the temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction issued by the Court. Villas at Parkside Partners v. City of Farmers Branch, No. 3:06-CV-2371-L, 2007 WL 4322147, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 91021 (N.D. Tex. Dec. 11, 2007).
On February 22, 2008, the plaintiffs filed a motion for partial summary judgment on the issues of preemption and due process violation. The City also filed for summary judgment on the same day. On May 28, 2008, the Court (Judge Lindsay) granted the plaintiffs’ motion and deferred ruling on that of the City. Villas at Parkside Partners v. City of Farmers Branch, 577 F.Supp.2d 858 (N.D. Tex. 2008). It found that the Ordinance was both preempted and a violation of due process and that a permanent injunction should be issued barring its enforcement.
Following its granting of partial summary judgment to the plaintiffs, the Court allowed the parties to brief it regarding plaintiffs’ remaining claims and whether judgment should be entered. After briefing, on August 29, 2008, the Court (Judge Lindsay) denied the City’s motion for summary judgment, and denied plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment on the rest of its claims as moot, as they sought relief identical to that plaintiffs had already been granted. Villas at Parkside Partners v. City of Farmers Branch, 577 F.Supp.2d 851 (N.D. Tex. 2008). On the same day, the Court entered judgment for the plaintiffs and issued a permanent injunction barring the enforcement of the Ordinance.
There was no appeal, as the City had already passed a third iteration of the law, Ordinance 2952. (See IM-TX-0028
for the case on this law.) A dispute over attorney’s fees was submitted to mediation and settled.Christopher Schad - 06/05/2012