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Case Name Brown v. Esmor Correctional Services, Inc. IM-NJ-0003
Docket / Court 2:98-cv-01282-DRD-SDW ( D.N.J. )
State/Territory New Jersey
Case Type(s) Immigration
Case Summary
This class action lawsuit was originally filed on March 6, 1996 in the Supreme Court of the State of New York on behalf of undocumented aliens who were detained at a facility that the Immigration and Naturalization Service (''INS'') maintained in Elizabeth, New Jersey pending a determination of ... read more >
This class action lawsuit was originally filed on March 6, 1996 in the Supreme Court of the State of New York on behalf of undocumented aliens who were detained at a facility that the Immigration and Naturalization Service (''INS'') maintained in Elizabeth, New Jersey pending a determination of their asylum status. The facility was operated by a private corporation, Esmor Correctional Services, Inc. Plaintiffs alleged that during their detention they were subjected to torture, beatings, harassment, and inhumane living conditions which included inadequate sanitation, exercise, and medical treatment.

Esmor removed the case to federal court, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. On March 11, 1998, the case was transferred to U.S. District Court District of New Jersey

On April 2, 1998, plaintiffs filed an amended complaint and moved for class certification. By order dated April 24, 1998, the District Court (Judge Dickinson R. Debevoise) certified a class of all detainees who were incarcerated at the Elizabeth, New Jersey facility from August 1994 to July 1995. Notice was sent to class members in March 1999. Class members were given the option to opt out of the class and pursue their own damage actions. Many of the class notices mailed out were returned as undeliverable, as detainees had been released or transferred.

Management of pretrial proceedings was referred to Magistrate Judge S. D. Wigenton. The Brown case was consolidated with two other pending related cases, Jama v. United States Immigration and Natural Service, et al., Civil Action No. 97-3093, and Joaquin DaSilva v. Esmor Correctional Services Incorporated, et al., Civil Action No. 96-3755 for the purpose of discovery.

Extensive discovery proceeded for four years. During that time, the parties also engaged in protracted litigation over whether plaintiffs in the Jama and DaSilva actions failed to timely opt-out of the Brown class action.

In January 2003, Esmor filed a motion for summary judgment in the Jama Action. A similar motion was filed in the Brown class action case in September 2003.

Eventually, in September 2003, the DaSilva case was dismissed without prejudice and the plaintiffs became members of the Brown action class. The DaSilva plaintiffs moved for reconsideration.

By order dated October 27, 2003 the Brown class' claims against all defendants, other than Esmor and its officers, were dismissed with prejudice.

Oral arguments on all the motions for summary judgment were conducted on June 29 and June 30, 2004. The key issues raised in the motions were 1) whether an INS Interim Report which severely criticized Esmor's operation of the New Jersey was admissible into evidence, 2) whether the plaintiffs had presented sufficient evidence of negligent hiring, retention, training and/or supervision of Esmor, 3 ) whether Esmor was entitled to the government contract defense and 4) whether plaintiffs were third party beneficiaries of the contract between Esmor and the federal government, regarding the operation of the New Jersey facility. On September 9, 2004, the District Court ruled on the motions, finding in plaintiffs' favor on issues 1, 2 and 3 and in Esmor's favor on issue 4. Jama v. INS, 334 F. Supp. 2d 662 (D.N.J. 2004).

The Court the deconsolidated the Brown case from the Jama and DaSilva actions, finding that the Brown case was ready for trial. Extensive settlement negotiations followed, including court ordered settlement conferences. On February 17, 2005, the parties arrived at a settlement of the Brown class action case. The District Court preliminarily approved the settlement on May 24, 2005.

Final approval followed a fairness hearing on August 10, 2005. Brown v. Esmor Corr. Serv., Inc., 2005 WL 1917869 (Aug. 10, 2005). Under the terms of the settlement, Esmor agreed to pay a total of $2.5 million to class members. Attorneys' fees of $766,667 and costs and expenses of $200,000 were to be paid out of that settlement fund, netting $1,533,338 which was to be distributed to class members. A Plan of Allocation was established to govern the procedure for submission and payment of individual class member claims. The distribution process continued through October 16, 2006, when Judge Debevoise entered an order authorizing final distribution of unclaimed proceeds.

Note that Jama v. United States Immigration and Natural Service, et al. proceeded to trial on the damage claims of individual plaintiffs that opted out of the Brown class action. See IM-NJ-6 for a summary of the proceedings in Jama.

Dan Dalton - 11/16/2007


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
General
Conditions of confinement
Immigration
Constitutional rights
Convention against Torture
Detention - conditions
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983
Defendant(s) Esmor Correctional Services, Inc.
Plaintiff Description Undocumented aliens detained at a facility operated by the defendant under INS contract in Elizabeth, NJ, from 08/94 through 06/95, who allege that they were tortured, beaten, and harassed by guards and subjected to poor conditions.
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 Damages
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2007
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing IM-NJ-0006 : Jama v. United States Immigration and Natural Service (D.N.J.)
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)
2:96-cv-03755-DRD (D.N.J.) 03/27/2006
IM-NJ-0003-9002 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
2:98-cv-01282-DRD-SDW (D.N.J.) 09/10/2007
IM-NJ-0003-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
2:97-cv-03093-DRD-ES (D.N.J.) 11/08/2007
IM-NJ-0003-9001 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Opinion 10/01/1998 (22 F.Supp.2d 353) (D.N.J.)
IM-NJ-0003-0009 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion 06/10/2003 (215 F.R.D. 477) (D.N.J.)
IM-NJ-0003-0011 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Order [Stipulated Dismissal of Appeal] 08/11/2004
IM-NJ-0003-0002 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion [Granting and Denying in Part S/J] 09/28/2004 (334 F.Supp.2d 662) (D.N.J.)
IM-NJ-0003-0007 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion [Granting and Denying in Part S/J] 11/10/2004 (343 F.Supp.2d 338) (D.N.J.)
IM-NJ-0003-0008 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Affirmation in Support of Motion for Order Approving Settlement of Class Action and Plan of Allocation 05/19/2005
IM-NJ-0003-0001 PDF | Detail
Opinion [Approving Class Action Settlement] 08/10/2005 (2005 WL 1917869) (D.N.J.)
IM-NJ-0003-0003 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion [Denying Motion for Reconsideration] 10/05/2005 (2005 WL 2474835) (D.N.J.)
IM-NJ-0003-0012 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Opinion 11/01/2005 (2005 WL 2901899) (D.N.J.)
IM-NJ-0003-0013 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Judgment 01/27/2006
IM-NJ-0003-0005 PDF | Detail
Opinion [Extending 'Opt-Out' Period; Dismissing Appeal] 01/27/2006 (167 Fed.Appx. 303)
IM-NJ-0003-0010 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Order Implementing Mandate of the Third Circuit Affirming the District Court's Decisions 03/27/2006 (D.N.J.)
IM-NJ-0003-0004 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Authorizing Final Distribution of Unclaimed Proceeds of Class Action Settlement 10/18/2006 (D.N.J.)
IM-NJ-0003-0006 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion 06/25/2007 (2007 WL 1847385) (D.N.J.)
IM-NJ-0003-0014 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Judges Ambro, Thomas L. (Third Circuit)
IM-NJ-0003-0005 | IM-NJ-0003-0010
Barry, Maryanne Trump (Third Circuit, D.N.J.)
IM-NJ-0003-0005 | IM-NJ-0003-0010
Debevoise, Dickinson Richards (D.N.J.)
IM-NJ-0003-0003 | IM-NJ-0003-0004 | IM-NJ-0003-0006 | IM-NJ-0003-0007 | IM-NJ-0003-0008 | IM-NJ-0003-0009 | IM-NJ-0003-0011 | IM-NJ-0003-0012 | IM-NJ-0003-0013 | IM-NJ-0003-0014 | IM-NJ-0003-9000 | IM-NJ-0003-9001 | IM-NJ-0003-9002
Pollak, Louis Heilprin (E.D. Pa.)
IM-NJ-0003-0005 | IM-NJ-0003-0010
Salas, Esther (D.N.J.) [Magistrate]
IM-NJ-0003-9001
Wigenton, Susan Davis (D.N.J.) [Magistrate]
IM-NJ-0003-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Antonakakis, Tina (New York)
IM-NJ-0003-0009
Dorman, Drew Matthew (New York)
IM-NJ-0003-0014 | IM-NJ-0003-9001
Glenn, Martin (New York)
IM-NJ-0003-0009 | IM-NJ-0003-0011
Hogan, Mary Beth (New York)
IM-NJ-0003-0014
Holden, Michael J. (New York)
IM-NJ-0003-0009
Ressler, Bruce J. (New York)
IM-NJ-0003-0001 | IM-NJ-0003-0002 | IM-NJ-0003-0003 | IM-NJ-0003-0007 | IM-NJ-0003-0008 | IM-NJ-0003-0011 | IM-NJ-0003-0012 | IM-NJ-0003-9000
Werther, Ellen R. (New York)
IM-NJ-0003-0003 | IM-NJ-0003-0007 | IM-NJ-0003-0008 | IM-NJ-0003-0011 | IM-NJ-0003-0012
Defendant's Lawyers Barrett, Bruce E. (New Jersey)
IM-NJ-0003-9001
Carlson, A. David (Texas)
IM-NJ-0003-0009
Cassell, Susan C. (New Jersey)
IM-NJ-0003-0009 | IM-NJ-0003-9001
Chase, Jeffrey L. (New Jersey)
IM-NJ-0003-9001
Cherry, Gloria (New Jersey)
IM-NJ-0003-0007 | IM-NJ-0003-0008 | IM-NJ-0003-0010 | IM-NJ-0003-9001
Ciolek, Douglas F. (New Jersey)
IM-NJ-0003-9001
Cordaro, Joseph N. (New York)
IM-NJ-0003-9001
Cornog, E. Carr (New Jersey)
IM-NJ-0003-0007 | IM-NJ-0003-0008
Dalberth, Elizabeth (New Jersey)
IM-NJ-0003-0007 | IM-NJ-0003-0008 | IM-NJ-0003-9001
Fogel, Maureen Doerner (New Jersey)
IM-NJ-0003-9002
Gsovski, Daniel V. (New York)
IM-NJ-0003-0009 | IM-NJ-0003-9000
Harris, Brian C. (New Jersey)
IM-NJ-0003-9001
Hirt, Theodore C. (District of Columbia)
IM-NJ-0003-0009
Hochberg, Faith S. (New Jersey)
IM-NJ-0003-0009
Horowitz, David P. (New York)
IM-NJ-0003-0011
Hsu, Matthew B. (District of Columbia)
IM-NJ-0003-0014
Hunger, Frank W. (District of Columbia)
IM-NJ-0003-0009
Kadish, Jeffrey M. (New Jersey)
IM-NJ-0003-0007 | IM-NJ-0003-0008 | IM-NJ-0003-9001
Lapidus, Steven L. (New Jersey)
IM-NJ-0003-9001
Livelli, John B. (New Jersey)
IM-NJ-0003-0007 | IM-NJ-0003-0008
Love, Lucinda A. (District of Columbia)
IM-NJ-0003-0009
Mathews, J. Llewellyn (New Jersey)
IM-NJ-0003-0007 | IM-NJ-0003-0008 | IM-NJ-0003-0013 | IM-NJ-0003-9000 | IM-NJ-0003-9001
McGahee, Sharon (New Jersey)
IM-NJ-0003-9002
Mendiola, Carmen E. (New Jersey)
IM-NJ-0003-0003 | IM-NJ-0003-0010 | IM-NJ-0003-0011 | IM-NJ-0003-0012 | IM-NJ-0003-9000 | IM-NJ-0003-9002
Miller, Keith J. (New Jersey)
IM-NJ-0003-0010 | IM-NJ-0003-9001
Moos, Marvin C. (Texas)
IM-NJ-0003-0007 | IM-NJ-0003-0008
Murphy, Edward R. (New Jersey)
IM-NJ-0003-0007 | IM-NJ-0003-0008 | IM-NJ-0003-0009 | IM-NJ-0003-9001
Nelson, Ryan D. (District of Columbia)
IM-NJ-0003-0001 | IM-NJ-0003-0003 | IM-NJ-0003-0007 | IM-NJ-0003-0008 | IM-NJ-0003-0010 | IM-NJ-0003-0011 | IM-NJ-0003-0012 | IM-NJ-0003-0013
Powers, Charles E. Sr. (New Jersey)
IM-NJ-0003-9001
Prasad, Vidya (New Jersey)
IM-NJ-0003-0007
Reich, Larry S. (New York)
IM-NJ-0003-0001 | IM-NJ-0003-0003 | IM-NJ-0003-0007 | IM-NJ-0003-0008 | IM-NJ-0003-0011 | IM-NJ-0003-0012 | IM-NJ-0003-0013 | IM-NJ-0003-0014
Rotolo, Victor A. (New Jersey)
IM-NJ-0003-9001
Rymer, Nathan A. (Texas)
IM-NJ-0003-0009
Siegel, Gerald D. (New Jersey)
IM-NJ-0003-0007 | IM-NJ-0003-0008 | IM-NJ-0003-0010 | IM-NJ-0003-9001
Spaman, Kira Feeny (New Jersey)
IM-NJ-0003-0014 | IM-NJ-0003-9001
Strosnider, Richard Barry (New Jersey)
IM-NJ-0003-9001
Volpe, Frank R. (New York)
IM-NJ-0003-0001 | IM-NJ-0003-0003 | IM-NJ-0003-0007 | IM-NJ-0003-0008 | IM-NJ-0003-0010 | IM-NJ-0003-0011 | IM-NJ-0003-0012 | IM-NJ-0003-0013 | IM-NJ-0003-0014
Weinstein, Steven D. (New Jersey)
IM-NJ-0003-0007 | IM-NJ-0003-0008 | IM-NJ-0003-0014 | IM-NJ-0003-9000 | IM-NJ-0003-9001 | IM-NJ-0003-9002
Other Lawyers Askin, Frank (New Jersey)
IM-NJ-0003-0003 | IM-NJ-0003-0004 | IM-NJ-0003-0007 | IM-NJ-0003-0008 | IM-NJ-0003-0009 | IM-NJ-0003-0010 | IM-NJ-0003-0011 | IM-NJ-0003-0013 | IM-NJ-0003-0014 | IM-NJ-0003-9001
Lustberg, Lawrence S. (New Jersey)
IM-NJ-0003-9001
Mack, Sean (New York)
IM-NJ-0003-0007 | IM-NJ-0003-0008 | IM-NJ-0003-0011 | IM-NJ-0003-0014
Tarson, Derek Sherman (New York)
IM-NJ-0003-0003 | IM-NJ-0003-0004 | IM-NJ-0003-0013 | IM-NJ-0003-9000 | IM-NJ-0003-9001
Venetis, Penny M. (New Jersey)
IM-NJ-0003-0003 | IM-NJ-0003-0004 | IM-NJ-0003-0007 | IM-NJ-0003-0008 | IM-NJ-0003-0009 | IM-NJ-0003-0011 | IM-NJ-0003-0013 | IM-NJ-0003-0014

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