On November 1, 2006, private counsel and attorneys for the Southern Poverty Law Center filed a class action civil rights suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, challenging a series of raids conducted by federal immigration authorities in Southeast Georgia over the course of at least two weeks in September, 2006. Plaintiffs alleged that federal agents with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, under the guise of locating suspected undocumented workers who had been employed at the Crider poultry facility in Stillmore, Georgia, illegally raided and searched the homes of Latinos in an effort to drive the Latino community out of Southeast Georgia. Plaintiffs specifically alleged that agents searched, detained and interrogated citizens merely because they looked "Mexican," in violation of their rights secured by the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. Plaintiffs sought actual, compensatory, and punitive damages, injunctive and declaratory relief, and class certification. Defendants responded by moving to dismiss the case.
On May 1, 2007, the District Court (Judge Thomas W. Thrash, Jr.) stayed discovery and briefing on plaintiffs' request for class certification, pending the Court's ruling on defendants' dispositive motions.
A first amended complaint was filed on June 14, 2007. Defendants responded by moving to dismiss, or for summary judgment, the various counts alleged in the amended complaint.
On December 5, 2007, the court (Judge Thomas W. Thrash, Jr.) granted defendants' motion to dismiss plaintiffs' claims for injunctive and declaratory relief to redress violations of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. The court found that plaintiffs had not shown a real and immediate threat of future harm. Therefore, on March 27, 2008, the court denied as moot plaintiffs' motion for class certification with respect to the dismissed claims.
That same day, plaintiffs filed a second amended complaint asserting Federal Torts Claims Act (FTCA) claims against the United States. The FTCA claims were for false imprisonment, assault, battery, and trespass. Plaintiffs also asserted Bivens claims against the federal law enforcement agents employed by ICE for violation of plaintiffs' Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights.
On March 31, 2009, the court denied defendant's motion to dismiss the FTCA and Bivens claims. The court found that plaintiffs had exhausted their remedies prior to filing the FTCA claims and that the FTCA claims did not fall under the discretionary function exception. The court also granted plaintiff's motion for leave to file a third amended complaint, which they field on June 19.
On July 29, 2009, plaintiffs, citing a settlement agreement, filed an unopposed motion asking the court to dismiss the lawsuit with prejudice. The case was dismissed on July 31. The Southern Poverty Law Center provided the settlement agreement. In the settlement, the United States agreed to pay plaintiffs $35,000 and plaintiffs agreed to voluntarily dismiss the case.Dan Dalton - 09/24/2007
Jennifer Bronson - 12/05/2013