On December 12, 1979, Pedro Cervantez and Juan Lozano filed suit in the United States District Court of the Northern District of Texas, challenging their arrest, detention and interrogation for suspected violations of immigration law by local and state law enforcement officers and federal border ...
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On December 12, 1979, Pedro Cervantez and Juan Lozano filed suit in the United States District Court of the Northern District of Texas, challenging their arrest, detention and interrogation for suspected violations of immigration law by local and state law enforcement officers and federal border patrol agents. Defendants included the Immigration and Naturalization Service ("INS"), the Texas Department of Public Safety ("DPS"), and the Deaf Smith County Sheriff's Department and individuals officers of those agencies. Plaintiffs sought monetary, declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as class certification on behalf of all persons of Hispanic descent who had been questioned, arrested, detained, incarcerated or charged by defendants following investigation of their immigration status.
Several years of extensive discovery and litigation followed. In early 1984, plaintiffs and the federal defendants reached a stipulated settlement which was approved by the Court on February 6, 1984.
Settlement with the remaining county and state defendants followed shortly thereafter. On June 4, 1984, the District Court (Judge Mary Lou Robinson) entered an Agreed Order certifying two classes with respect to Plaintiffs' claims against the county defendants: the "Injunctive Relief Class" and the "Monetary Relief Class." The Court also preliminary approved the settlement with the county defendants. On July 16, 1984, the Court entered an Agreed Order certifying two classes with respect to claims against the state defendants: the "Statewide Class" and the "D.P.S. Region 5 Class." The Court also preliminary approved the settlement with the state defendants.
While settlement with county and state defendants was being finalized, plaintiffs moved for an award of attorneys' fees and costs against the federal defendants, but the District Court (Judge Robinson) denied the request, finding that plaintiffs were not the prevailing parties under the Equal Access to Justice Act. The Fifth Circuit affirmed. Cervantez v. Whitfield, 776 F.2d 556 (5th 1985).
On April 4, 1985, the District Court held a fairness hearing concerning final approval of the proposed settlements of the County Injunctive Relief Class, the County Monetary Relief Class, and the Statewide Class. (The D.P.S. Region 5 Class settlement was not ready for approval at that time.) Following the hearing, Judge Robinson entered her order approving the County Monetary Relief Class settlement, but disapproving the proposed County Injunctive Relief Class and Statewide Class settlements because of unreasonable limitations the injunctive settlements would place on communications between the state/county officials and the INS. Under the terms of the County Monetary Relief Class settlement, each class member that submitted a claim would receive $220 per day detained in jail. Aggregate of claims totaled $11,000. Cervantez v. Whitfield, 613 F.Supp. 1439 (N.D.Tex. 1985).
As there is no PACER docket available, and no further reported opinions, it is unclear what happened to plaintiffs' injunctive relief claims after the Court refused to approve settlement of those claims.Brian Ponton - 08/22/2007