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Case Name Haitian Refugee Ctr. v. Smith IM-FL-0007
Docket / Court 79-2086-Civ-JLK ( S.D. Fla. )
State/Territory Florida
Case Type(s) Immigration
Case Summary
On May 9, 1979, the Haitian Refugee Center and eight individual Haitians brought a class action on behalf of over 4,000 Haitians in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, challenging the legality of the "Haitian Program." This program was instituted by the Immigration and ... read more >
On May 9, 1979, the Haitian Refugee Center and eight individual Haitians brought a class action on behalf of over 4,000 Haitians in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, challenging the legality of the "Haitian Program." This program was instituted by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) in the summer of 1978 to accelerate the processing of applications made by Haitians for asylum. Haitians fled their country and feared persecution, imprisonment and death if they returned. Under the program, all of their political asylum claims were denied by the INS. The Haitians alleged that the actions of INS constituted impermissible discrimination on the basis of their national origin.

After a non-jury trial, the District Court (Judge James Lawrence King) issued a lengthy opinion dated July 2, 1980, in which it found that the manner in which INS treated the more than 4,000 Haitian plaintiffs "violated the Constitution, the immigration statutes, international agreements, INS regulations and INS operating procedures. It must stop." Haitian Refugee Center v. Civiletti, 503 F.Supp. 442 (S.D.Fla.1980). Judge King ordered the government to submit a plan for reprocessing the applications for asylum to the court for its approval and enjoined further deportation proceedings against class members. The government appealed and the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed with some modifications. Haitian Refugee Center v. Smith, 676 F.2d 1023 (5th Cir.1982).

After the appeal, the District Court awarded the plaintiffs attorneys' fees and costs of $441,094.98. Haitian Refugee Center, Inc. v. Smith, 644 F.Supp. 382 (S.D.Fla. 1984). The Court of Appeals affirmed. Haitian Refugee Center v. Meese, 791 F.2d 1489 (11th Cir. 1986). On rehearing, the judgment was vacated in part, to the extent that the District Court's fee award included "fees for fees" ($14,472.35 awarded to the attorneys for their work on the application for fees in this case). In all other respects, the fee award was left intact. Haitian Refugee Center v. Meese, 804 F.2d 1573 (11th Cir. 1986).

Dan Dalton - 01/03/2008


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Immigration
Asylum - criteria
Asylum - procedure
Cuban/Haitian entrant
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. ยงยง 1101 et seq.
Bivens
Defendant(s) Attorney General of the United States
Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS)
Secretary of State
Plaintiff Description Over 4,000 Haitians who had petitioned for political asylum in this country.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 1982 - n/a
Case Closing Year 1986
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 07/02/1980 (503 F.Supp. 442) (S.D. Fla.)
IM-FL-0007-0002 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion 05/24/1982 (676 F.2d 1023)
IM-FL-0007-0001 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion 05/25/1984 (644 F.Supp. 382) (S.D. Fla.)
IM-FL-0007-0003 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion 06/24/1986 (791 F.2d 1489)
IM-FL-0007-0004 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion 12/04/1986 (804 F.2d 1573)
IM-FL-0007-0005 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Clark, Thomas Alonzo (Fifth Circuit, Eleventh Circuit)
IM-FL-0007-0004 | IM-FL-0007-0005
Henderson, Albert John (Fifth Circuit, N.D. Ga., Eleventh Circuit)
IM-FL-0007-0004 | IM-FL-0007-0005
Hill, James Clinkscales (Fifth Circuit, N.D. Ga., Eleventh Circuit)
IM-FL-0007-0001
Hoffman, Walter Edward (E.D. Va.)
IM-FL-0007-0004 | IM-FL-0007-0005
King, James Lawrence (S.D. Fla.)
IM-FL-0007-0002 | IM-FL-0007-0003
Lynne, Seybourn Harris (N.D. Ala.)
IM-FL-0007-0001
Vance, Robert Smith (Fifth Circuit, Eleventh Circuit)
IM-FL-0007-0001
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Barker, Timothy S. (California)
IM-FL-0007-0002 | IM-FL-0007-0003
Bierman, Donald I. (Florida)
IM-FL-0007-0002
Caldwell, Gary Lee (Florida)
IM-FL-0007-0001 | IM-FL-0007-0002
Dick, Mary D. (District of Columbia)
IM-FL-0007-0004 | IM-FL-0007-0005
Forester, Steven (Florida)
IM-FL-0007-0002
Gollobin, Ira (New York)
IM-FL-0007-0002
Hunt, Thomas (Pennsylvania)
IM-FL-0007-0003
Hustead, Robert M. (Florida)
IM-FL-0007-0002
Kline, Thomas R. (Pennsylvania)
IM-FL-0007-0003 | IM-FL-0007-0004 | IM-FL-0007-0005
Kurzban, Ira J. (Florida)
IM-FL-0007-0001 | IM-FL-0007-0002 | IM-FL-0007-0003 | IM-FL-0007-0004 | IM-FL-0007-0005
Schey, Peter A. (California)
IM-FL-0007-0001 | IM-FL-0007-0002 | IM-FL-0007-0003
Sonnett, Neal R. (Florida)
IM-FL-0007-0002
Swartz, Dale (District of Columbia)
IM-FL-0007-0001 | IM-FL-0007-0002
Trease, Nancy A. (Texas)
IM-FL-0007-0002
Weiss, Vera (Florida)
IM-FL-0007-0002
Defendant's Lawyers Bates, Lloyd G. Jr. (Florida)
IM-FL-0007-0001
Couvillon, Donald A. (District of Columbia)
IM-FL-0007-0003
Eskenazi, Jack (Florida)
IM-FL-0007-0002
Fromstein, Daniel E. (District of Columbia)
IM-FL-0007-0001 | IM-FL-0007-0002
Kanter, William (District of Columbia)
IM-FL-0007-0004 | IM-FL-0007-0005
Kellner, Leon (Florida)
IM-FL-0007-0004
Nail, William (Florida)
IM-FL-0007-0002
Nimkoff, Peter (Florida)
IM-FL-0007-0002
Singer, Michael Jay (District of Columbia)
IM-FL-0007-0004 | IM-FL-0007-0005
Wampler, Atlee W. III (Florida)
IM-FL-0007-0001 | IM-FL-0007-0002
Willard, Richard K. (District of Columbia)
IM-FL-0007-0003
Young, Rex (Florida)
IM-FL-0007-0002
Other Lawyers None on record

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