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Case Name Jean v. Nelson IM-FL-0009
Docket / Court No. 81-1260-CIV-EPS ( S.D. Fla. )
State/Territory Florida
Case Type(s) Immigration
Case Summary
In June 1981, a class of undocumented and incarcerated aliens from Haiti brought suit against the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, seeking a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 and declaratory and injunctive ... read more >
In June 1981, a class of undocumented and incarcerated aliens from Haiti brought suit against the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, seeking a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 and declaratory and injunctive relief. Petitioners claimed that the INS was conducting mass exclusion hearings which were being held without counsel and was unlawfully denying petitioners parole. The suit came as a result of a policy change by the INS in response to an influx of undocumented aliens to Florida from Haiti and Cuba. The Attorney General ordered the INS to detain all undocumented aliens in south Florida without parole.

The District Court (Judge Eugene P. Spellman) issued a TRO which was subsequently converted into a preliminary injunction. See Louis v. Meissner, 530 F.Supp. 924 (S.D.Fla.1981). Shortly after this case was filed, the government conceded that the exclusion orders entered at the mass hearings were invalid and those orders were vacated.

The claims in the petitioners' original complaint were pared down by the Court's order sustaining in part the government's motion to dismiss. Louis v. Meissner, 532 F.Supp. 881 (S.D.Fla.1982). Three primary claims survived dismissal: (1) that the INS' no parole policy had violated the notice-and-comment rule-making procedures of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. § 553 and (2) that the INS had discriminated against petitioners on the basis of race and national origin (black and Haitian) in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fifth Amendment and (3) a claim that they were unlawfully denied their First Amendment rights of access to legal counsel, relatives, and friends in the Miami community.

The District Court (Judge Eugene P. Spellman) certified the case as a class action, defining the class as "all Haitian aliens who have arrived in the Southern District of Florida on or after May 20, 1981, who are applying for entry into the United States and also are presently in detention pending exclusion proceedings at various INS detention facilities, for whom an order of exclusion has not been entered...."

After discovery and a lengthy bench trial, the District Court (Judge Eugene P. Spellman) found for the plaintiffs on their APA claim but concluded that they failed to prove discrimination on the basis of race or national origin and dismissed the First Amendment claim as moot. The Court issued an injunction against the INS parole policy, Louis v. Nelson, 544 F.Supp. 1004, 1005 (SD Fla.1982), but stayed the injunction so that the INS could reissue a new policy in compliance with the APA notice requirements. Louis v. Nelson, 1982 WL 1583 (S.D.Fla. Jul 02, 1982). Both parties appealed. A panel opinion was rendered, Jean v. Nelson, 711 F.2d 1455 (11th Cir. 1983), but a request for rehearing en banc was granted. Jean v. Nelson, 714 F.2d 96 (11th Cir. 1983)

While the appeal was pending, the INS issued a new regulation, 8 CFR § 212.5 (1985), which prohibited the consideration of race or national origin in parole determinations. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, en banc, held that the APA claim was moot because of the new INS rule, and they determined that excludable aliens such as the Haitian petitioners have no constitutional rights with respect to their applications for admission, asylum, or parole. Jean v. Nelson, 727 F.2d 957 (11th Cir. 1984). The case was remanded to the district court for consideration of whether INS officials exercised their discretion under statute to make individualized parole determinations, and whether they exercised such discretion without regard to race or national origin. The court held that the access claim was not moot and remanded it to the district court for full consideration.

A subsequent request for rehearing was denied. Jean v. Nelson, 733 F.2d 908 (11th Cir. 1984). The Supreme Court granted certiorari. Jean v. Nelson, 469 U.S. 1071, 105 S.Ct. 563, 83 L.Ed.2d 504 (1984). The Supreme Court affirmed the Eleventh Circuit en banc opinion in part, but held that the Eleventh Circuit should not have addressed the Fifth Amendment equal protection claim, as the regulations that were then in effect called for parole decisions to be made without regard to race or national origin. Jean v. Nelson, 472 U.S. 846, 105 S.Ct. 2992, 86 L.Ed.2d 664 (1985).

Aside from the proceedings on the merits, litigation followed regarding the technical aspects of vacating the initial District Court injunction, see Jean v. Nelson, 854 F.2d 405 (11th Cir. 1988), and on the issue of attorneys' fees. With regard to fees, the District Court found that petitioners were "prevailing parties" within the meaning of the Equal Access to Justice Act in that they obtained the relief they sought in the District Court. It awarded over $1 million in fees and costs. Louis v. Nelson, 624 F.Supp. 836 (SD Fla.1985) (initial order), Louis v. Nelson, 646 F.Supp. 1300 (SD Fla.1986) (corrected memorandum after hearing). The fee award generated another round of appeals. See Jean v. Nelson, 863 F.2d 759 (11th Cir. 1988)(affirming the "prevailing party" finding, but remanding for recalculation), certiorari granted by Commissioner, I.N.S. v. Jean, 493 U.S. 1055, 110 S.Ct. 862, 107 L.Ed.2d 947 (1990) and judgment affirmed by Commissioner, I.N.S. v. Jean, 496 U.S. 154, 110 S.Ct. 2316, 110 L.Ed.2d 134 (1990).

We have no further information on the case.

Dan Dalton - 12/31/2007


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Discrimination-basis
National origin discrimination
Race discrimination
General
Habeas Corpus
Immigration
Asylum - criteria
Asylum - procedure
Constitutional rights
Cuban/Haitian entrant
Detention - criteria
Detention - procedures
Refugees
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. §§ 1101 et seq.
Bivens
Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Defendant(s) Immigration and Naturalization Service
Plaintiff Description All Haitian aliens who have arrived in the Southern District of Florida on or after May 20, 1981, who are presently in detention pending exclusion proceedings.
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 1990
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 ]

Links The Oyez Project, Commissioner, INS v. Jean, 496 U.S. 154 (1990).
www.oyez.org
Posted: Jun. 04, 1990
By: Oyez Project (IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  The Oyez Project, Jean v. Nelson, 472 U.S. 846 (1985).
www.oyez.org
Posted: Jun. 26, 1985
By: Oyez Project (IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Opinion 06/18/1982 (544 F.Supp. 973) (S.D. Fla.)
IM-FL-0009-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion 07/02/1982 (1982 WL 1583) (S.D. Fla.)
IM-FL-0009-0012.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
On Motion for Partial Stay 07/13/1982 (683 F.2d 1311)
IM-FL-0009-0010.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion 04/12/1983 (711 F.2d 1455)
IM-FL-0009-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion 08/16/1983 (714 F.2d 96)
IM-FL-0009-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion 02/24/1984 (532 F.Supp. 881) (S.D. Fla.)
IM-FL-0009-0005.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion 05/04/1984 (727 F.2d 957)
IM-FL-0009-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion 05/04/1984 (733 F.2d 908)
IM-FL-0009-0013.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Opinion 12/03/1984 (469 U.S. 1071)
IM-FL-0009-0014.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Opinion 06/26/1985 (472 U.S. 846)
IM-FL-0009-0015.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Opinion 12/06/1985 (624 F.Supp. 836) (S.D. Fla.)
IM-FL-0009-0006.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion 10/01/1986 (646 F.Supp. 1300) (S.D. Fla.)
IM-FL-0009-0007.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion 09/02/1988 (854 F.2d 405)
IM-FL-0009-0008.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion 12/27/1988 (863 F.2d 759)
IM-FL-0009-0009.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion (Grant for Writ of Certiorari) 01/22/1990 (493 U.S. 1055)
IM-FL-0009-0016.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Opinion 06/04/1990 (496 U.S. 154)
IM-FL-0009-0011.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Anderson, Robert Lanier III (Fifth Circuit, Eleventh Circuit)
IM-FL-0009-0001 | IM-FL-0009-0004
Clark, Thomas Alonzo (Fifth Circuit, Eleventh Circuit)
IM-FL-0009-0001 | IM-FL-0009-0003 | IM-FL-0009-0004 | IM-FL-0009-0009 | IM-FL-0009-0010
Edmondson, James Larry (Eleventh Circuit)
IM-FL-0009-0008
Eschbach, Jesse Ernest (N.D. Ind., Seventh Circuit)
IM-FL-0009-0009
Fay, Peter Thorp (Fifth Circuit, S.D. Fla., Eleventh Circuit)
IM-FL-0009-0001 | IM-FL-0009-0004
Godbold, John Cooper (Fifth Circuit, Eleventh Circuit)
IM-FL-0009-0001 | IM-FL-0009-0004 | IM-FL-0009-0010
Hatchett, Joseph Woodrow (Fifth Circuit, Eleventh Circuit) [Magistrate]
IM-FL-0009-0001 | IM-FL-0009-0003 | IM-FL-0009-0004 | IM-FL-0009-0010
Henderson, Albert John (Fifth Circuit, N.D. Ga., Eleventh Circuit)
IM-FL-0009-0001 | IM-FL-0009-0004
Hill, James Clinkscales (Fifth Circuit, N.D. Ga., Eleventh Circuit)
IM-FL-0009-0001 | IM-FL-0009-0004 | IM-FL-0009-0008
Johnson, Frank Minis Jr. (Fifth Circuit, M.D. Ala., Eleventh Circuit)
IM-FL-0009-0001 | IM-FL-0009-0004
Kravitch, Phyllis A. (Fifth Circuit, Eleventh Circuit)
IM-FL-0009-0001 | IM-FL-0009-0003 | IM-FL-0009-0004 | IM-FL-0009-0009
Rehnquist, William Hubbs (SCOTUS)
IM-FL-0009-0015
Roney, Paul Hitch (Eleventh Circuit, Fifth Circuit, FISCR)
IM-FL-0009-0001 | IM-FL-0009-0004
Spellman, Eugene P. (S.D. Fla.)
IM-FL-0009-0002 | IM-FL-0009-0005 | IM-FL-0009-0006 | IM-FL-0009-0007 | IM-FL-0009-0012
Stevens, John Paul (SCOTUS, Seventh Circuit)
IM-FL-0009-0011
Tjoflat, Gerald Bard (Fifth Circuit, M.D. Fla., Eleventh Circuit)
IM-FL-0009-0001 | IM-FL-0009-0004
Vance, Robert Smith (Fifth Circuit, Eleventh Circuit)
IM-FL-0009-0001 | IM-FL-0009-0004
Wisdom, John Minor (Fifth Circuit)
IM-FL-0009-0008
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Blum, Irwin (New York)
IM-FL-0009-0002
Combs, Mary (Florida)
IM-FL-0009-0007
Corrigan, Terrence A. (District of Columbia)
IM-FL-0009-0001 | IM-FL-0009-0002 | IM-FL-0009-0003 | IM-FL-0009-0004 | IM-FL-0009-0007 | IM-FL-0009-0008 | IM-FL-0009-0009
Fleischner, Robin A. (New York)
IM-FL-0009-0002
Forester, Steven (Florida)
IM-FL-0009-0008
Frenzen, Niels (Florida)
IM-FL-0009-0007 | IM-FL-0009-0009
Gilmore, Mary B. (New York)
IM-FL-0009-0001 | IM-FL-0009-0002 | IM-FL-0009-0003 | IM-FL-0009-0004
Golden, Anne (New York)
IM-FL-0009-0002
Hall, Christopher Keith (Florida)
IM-FL-0009-0001 | IM-FL-0009-0003 | IM-FL-0009-0004 | IM-FL-0009-0007 | IM-FL-0009-0010
Juceam, Robert E. (New York)
IM-FL-0009-0001 | IM-FL-0009-0002 | IM-FL-0009-0007 | IM-FL-0009-0008 | IM-FL-0009-0009
Kurzban, Ira J. (Florida)
IM-FL-0009-0001 | IM-FL-0009-0002 | IM-FL-0009-0003 | IM-FL-0009-0004 | IM-FL-0009-0005 | IM-FL-0009-0006 | IM-FL-0009-0007 | IM-FL-0009-0008 | IM-FL-0009-0009 | IM-FL-0009-0010 | IM-FL-0009-0011 | IM-FL-0009-0015
Lipsman, Sandra M (New York)
IM-FL-0009-0008 | IM-FL-0009-0009
Rosen, Michael (Florida)
IM-FL-0009-0001 | IM-FL-0009-0002 | IM-FL-0009-0003 | IM-FL-0009-0004 | IM-FL-0009-0005 | IM-FL-0009-0007 | IM-FL-0009-0010
Smith, William French (District of Columbia)
IM-FL-0009-0004
Stotzky, Irwin P (Florida)
IM-FL-0009-0001 | IM-FL-0009-0002 | IM-FL-0009-0003 | IM-FL-0009-0004 | IM-FL-0009-0005 | IM-FL-0009-0007 | IM-FL-0009-0009
Susskind, Jeffrey (New York)
IM-FL-0009-0002
Weisz, Vera (Florida)
IM-FL-0009-0001 | IM-FL-0009-0002 | IM-FL-0009-0003 | IM-FL-0009-0004 | IM-FL-0009-0005 | IM-FL-0009-0007 | IM-FL-0009-0008
Winick, Bruce (Florida)
IM-FL-0009-0001 | IM-FL-0009-0002 | IM-FL-0009-0003 | IM-FL-0009-0004 | IM-FL-0009-0005 | IM-FL-0009-0007 | IM-FL-0009-0009 | IM-FL-0009-0010
Defendant's Lawyers Bombaugh, Robert L. (District of Columbia)
IM-FL-0009-0001 | IM-FL-0009-0002 | IM-FL-0009-0003 | IM-FL-0009-0004 | IM-FL-0009-0005
Doyle, Mary K. (District of Columbia)
IM-FL-0009-0008
Giuliani, Rudolph (New York)
IM-FL-0009-0001 | IM-FL-0009-0003 | IM-FL-0009-0004 | IM-FL-0009-0010
Herwig, Barbara L. (District of Columbia)
IM-FL-0009-0001 | IM-FL-0009-0004
Kellner, Leon (Florida)
IM-FL-0009-0001 | IM-FL-0009-0003 | IM-FL-0009-0004 | IM-FL-0009-0007
Kenny, Patricia (Florida)
IM-FL-0009-0006 | IM-FL-0009-0007
Koehmstedt, Mary T. (District of Columbia)
IM-FL-0009-0009
Larkin, Paul J. (District of Columbia)
IM-FL-0009-0011
Lee, Rex E. (District of Columbia)
IM-FL-0009-0015
Lindemann, Michael (District of Columbia)
IM-FL-0009-0007 | IM-FL-0009-0008
Marcus, Stanley (Florida)
IM-FL-0009-0001 | IM-FL-0009-0003 | IM-FL-0009-0004
Mosely, Thomas E (Florida)
IM-FL-0009-0002 | IM-FL-0009-0005
O'Donnell, Sonia (Florida)
IM-FL-0009-0001 | IM-FL-0009-0004
Peters, Jim (Florida)
IM-FL-0009-0002
Singer, Michael Jay (District of Columbia)
IM-FL-0009-0001 | IM-FL-0009-0004 | IM-FL-0009-0008 | IM-FL-0009-0009
Strickland, Nade E (Georgia)
IM-FL-0009-0001
Other Lawyers Tucker, J Kendrick (Florida)
IM-FL-0009-0001 | IM-FL-0009-0003 | IM-FL-0009-0004 | IM-FL-0009-0010

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