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Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Torres v. Goddard IM-AZ-0007
Docket / Court 2:06-cv-02482-SMM ( D. Ariz. )
State/Territory Arizona
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Case Summary
This case is one of a pair of lawsuits filed against the Arizona Attorney General to challenge his practice of seizing money wire transferred to Mexico through Western Union. In an attempt to curtail the smuggling of undocumented immigrants by trafficking organizations (known as "coyotes") from ... read more >
This case is one of a pair of lawsuits filed against the Arizona Attorney General to challenge his practice of seizing money wire transferred to Mexico through Western Union. In an attempt to curtail the smuggling of undocumented immigrants by trafficking organizations (known as "coyotes") from Mexico to Arizona, the Arizona Attorney General had obtained warrants and seized millions of dollars of money that was wire transferred to Mexico. The Attorney General focused on amounts over $500, which were believed to have been sent as payments to Mexican smugglers who had transported people or drugs into Arizona.

On October 18, 2006, three individuals who claimed they had transferred money through Western Union for legitimate purposes but had their money seized by authorities brought this putative class-action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona. They brought the complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that the seizures violated their rights secured by the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments and the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution. They sought declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as money damages. The case was assigned to Judge Stephen M. McNamee.

Plaintiffs' complaint was subsequently amended twice, but the substantive claims remained the same.

Subsequently, plaintiffs filed a Motion for Class Certification. On March 31, 2010, the court denied plaintiffs' motion for class certification, Torres v. Goddard, No. CV 06-2482-PHX-SMM, 2010 WL 3023272 (D. Ariz. July 30, 2010), and the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit then denied plaintiffs' permission to immediately appeal the court's ruling.

Plaintiffs filed a motion for summary judgment and defendants' filed a cross-motion for summary judgment. On September 4, 2012, the court granted defendants' motion, finding that defendants were entitled to absolute immunity. Torres v. Horne, No. CV-06-2482-PHX-SMM, 2012 WL 3818974 (D. Ariz. Sept. 4, 2012). The case was therefore dismissed.

Plaintiffs then appealed to the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [Docket Number: 12-17096]. On July 15, 2016, the panel affirmed in part and reversed in part the district court’s summary judgment. The panel was made up of Judge Stephen Reinhardt, Judge Alex Kozinski, and Judge Jay S. Bybee. The Ninth Circuit found that, although defendants did have qualified immunity in regard to some actions, they did not have absolute immunity over all of their actions. The case was remanded back to the district court. Torres v. Goddard, 793 F.3d 1046 (9th Cir. 2015)

On July 1, 2016, the district court ruled in favor of defendants again, holding that defendants had qualified immunity for the acts for which they did not have absolute immunity, and dismissed the case. Torres v. Goddard, 194 F. Supp. 3d 886 (D. Ariz. 2016). Plaintiffs once more appealed the case to the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

On June 25, 2018, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s opinion. Due to Judge Reinhardt’s death and Judge Kozinski’s retirement, the panel was made up of Judge Jacqueline Nguyen, Judge John Owens, and Judge Jay S. Bybee. Torres v. Goddard, No. 16-16315, 2018 WL 3099433 (9th Cir. June 25, 2018).

As of July 2018, the Ninth Circuit’s most recent opinion has yet to be filed with the district court, as the last entries in the district court docket are from 2016. Unless plaintiffs try to have the case heard before the Supreme Court of the United States, the case is likely closed.

Dan Dalton - 09/17/2007
Jennifer Bronson - 11/27/2013
Rebecca Strauss - 07/13/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Unreasonable search and seizure
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Law-enforcement
General
Grievance Procedures
Inadequate citizen complaint investigations and procedures
Loss or damage to property
Immigration/Border
Constitutional rights
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Arizona Attorney General
Plaintiff Description Three individuals who sent money through a wire transfer service or banking institution to be received in Arizona or in Sonora, Mexico, and had that money seized pursuant to a criteria-based warrant.
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Filing Year 2006
Case Closing Year 2018
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing IM-AZ-0006 : Western Union Financial Services, Inc. v. Goddard (D. Ariz.)
IM-AZ-0008 : In the Matter of: Monies Described in Appendix One to the Supporting Affidavit (State Court)
IM-AZ-0009 : State ex rel. Goddard v. Western Union Financial Services, Inc. (State Court)
Docket(s)
2:06-cv-02482-SMM (D. Ariz.)
IM-AZ-0007-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/03/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint
IM-AZ-0007-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/18/2006
Order (2007 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 2341) (D. Ariz.)
IM-AZ-0007-0006.pdf | LEXIS | Detail
Date: 01/10/2007
Source: LexisNexis
Order (D. Ariz.)
IM-AZ-0007-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/12/2007
Second Amended Complaint [ECF# 141]
IM-AZ-0007-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/08/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum of Decision and Order (Denying Plantiffs' Motion for Class Certification) [ECF# 183] (D. Ariz.)
IM-AZ-0007-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/30/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum of Decision and Order (Granting Defendants' Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment and Denying Plaintiffs Motion for Summary Judgment) [ECF# 261] (2012 WL 3818974) (D. Ariz.)
IM-AZ-0007-0005.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 09/04/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion [Ct. of App. ECF# 56] (793 F.3d 1046)
IM-AZ-0007-0008.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 08/10/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum of Decision and Order [ECF# 284] (194 F.Supp.3d 886) (D. Ariz.)
IM-AZ-0007-0009.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 06/29/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum [Ct. of App. ECF# 47-1] (2018 WL 3099433)
IM-AZ-0007-0010.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 06/25/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges McNamee, Stephen M. (D. Ariz.)
IM-AZ-0007-0003 | IM-AZ-0007-0004 | IM-AZ-0007-0005 | IM-AZ-0007-0006 | IM-AZ-0007-0009 | IM-AZ-0007-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bass Ehler, Karyn L. (Illinois)
IM-AZ-0007-0007
Berger-White, Juliet (Illinois)
IM-AZ-0007-9000
Cabou, Jean-Jacques (Arizona)
IM-AZ-0007-0001 | IM-AZ-0007-0006 | IM-AZ-0007-0007 | IM-AZ-0007-9000
Eckstein, Timothy Joel (Arizona)
IM-AZ-0007-0001 | IM-AZ-0007-0006 | IM-AZ-0007-0007 | IM-AZ-0007-9000
Karsh, Joshua (Illinois)
IM-AZ-0007-0007 | IM-AZ-0007-9000
Montgomery, Alex R. (Illinois)
IM-AZ-0007-9000
O'Brien, Patrick M. (Illinois)
IM-AZ-0007-9000
Piers, Matthew J. (Illinois)
IM-AZ-0007-0007 | IM-AZ-0007-9000
Rowland, Mary M. (Illinois)
IM-AZ-0007-0007 | IM-AZ-0007-9000
Wilmes, Christopher J. (Illinois)
IM-AZ-0007-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Correa, Paul (Arizona)
IM-AZ-0007-9000
Goodwin, Michael King (Arizona)
IM-AZ-0007-0006 | IM-AZ-0007-9000
Hinson, Michael H. (Arizona)
IM-AZ-0007-0006 | IM-AZ-0007-9000
Richards, William August (Arizona)
IM-AZ-0007-0006 | IM-AZ-0007-9000
Weinzweig, David Daniel (Arizona)
IM-AZ-0007-9000

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