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Case Name Cervantez v. Whitfield IM-TX-0012
Docket / Court 79-206 ( N.D. Tex. )
State/Territory Texas
Case Type(s) Immigration
Case Summary
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 ... read more >
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


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Immigration
Border police
Constitutional rights
Detention - procedures
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. §§ 1101 et seq.
Bivens
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Deaf Smith County
Immigration and Naturalization Service
Texas Department of Public Safety
Plaintiff Description Persons of Hispanic descent who had been questioned, arrested, detained, incarcerated or charged by federal, state and county officials following investigation of their immigration status.
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
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing No
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)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Opinion 07/22/1985 (613 F.Supp. 1439) (N.D. Tex.)
IM-TX-0012-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion 11/18/1985 (776 F.2d 556)
IM-TX-0012-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Hill, Robert Madden (N.D. Tex., Fifth Circuit)
IM-TX-0012-0002
Robinson, Mary Lou (N.D. Tex.)
IM-TX-0012-0001
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Teran, Lee J. (Texas)
IM-TX-0012-0001 | IM-TX-0012-0002
Tuddenham, Edward John (Texas)
IM-TX-0012-0001 | IM-TX-0012-0002
Defendant's Lawyers Kanter, William (District of Columbia)
IM-TX-0012-0002
Kraatz, Ann (Texas)
IM-TX-0012-0001
Meyers, Charles T. (District of Columbia)
IM-TX-0012-0002
White, Charles (Texas)
IM-TX-0012-0001
Other Lawyers Deutsch, Morris H (District of Columbia)
IM-TX-0012-0001
McRoberts, Roger (Texas)
IM-TX-0012-0001

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