University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name Murillo v. Servicios Agricolas Mex, Inc. IM-AZ-0012
Docket / Court 2:07-cv-02581-EHC ( D. Ariz. )
Additional Docket(s) CV07-01492-PHX-GMS  [ 07-1492 ]
State/Territory Arizona
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Case Summary
On December 19, 2007, attorneys with Community Legal Services of Arizona and Farmworker Justice filed this suit in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona on behalf of American farmworkers who had been replaced by foreign workers during 2006-2007 and previous citrus harvesting ... read more >
On December 19, 2007, attorneys with Community Legal Services of Arizona and Farmworker Justice filed this suit in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona on behalf of American farmworkers who had been replaced by foreign workers during 2006-2007 and previous citrus harvesting seasons. Plaintiffs alleged that defendants, an Arizona grower and farm labor contractor, violated 42 U.S.C. § 1981 and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act ("AWPA"), 29 U.S.C. §§ 1802 et seq., by providing false and misleading information to the federal government concerning the terms and conditions of employing farmworkers. Plaintiffs, who all worked for defendants during the 2005-2006 season, alleged that defendants refused to rehire them for the 2006-2007 season and instead told the government that they couldn't find any workers, therefore forcing them to hire migrant workers under the H-2A foreign guest-worker program. Plaintiffs sought lost wages and an injunction to prevent the defendants from discriminating against U.S. workers in their hiring practices.

Shortly after the case began, it was consolidated with another action for pretrial purposes only (Reynaldo Guerra Jimenez, et al. v. Servicios Agricolas Mex Inc., et al., No. CV07-1492-PHX-GMS). On September 20, 2010, the Court (Judge G. Murray Snow) entered an order denying the defendants' motion for summary judgment and granting and denying in part the plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment. 742 F. Supp. 2d 1078 (D. Az. 2010). The Court found that the plaintiffs had put forth evidence that defendants had refused to rehire them and had instead hired non-citizen immigrant workers. The Court held that the defendants had deprived the plaintiffs of an equal right to contract, as was enjoyed by others, and that the defendants had engaged in such discrimination against the plaintiffs based on their citizenship status. The Court denied summary judgment to all other claims.

On April 8, 2011, the parties notified the Court that they had reached a settlement in the Jimenez case; however, the parties also informed the Court that they were unable to settle the claims in this case. The Court unconsolidated the two cases and dismissed Jimenez with prejudice.

From August 23 through September 2, 2011, a seven-day bench trial was held before Judge Snow. The defendants moved for judgment as a matter of law after they rested their case.

On March 27, 2012, Judge Snow entered his findings of fact and conclusions of law. 2012 WL 1030084 (D. Az. Mar. 27, 2012). The Court found that the defendants violated the "working arrangement" they had undertaken with certain plaintiffs, and that they did not inform these plaintiffs prior to the beginning of the season that defendants would not be employing them. As a result, the Court found, a number of the plaintiffs were unemployed for some time at the beginning of the harvest season while they sought work elsewhere. The Court held this was a violation of a provision of AWPA, 29 U.S.C. § 1832(c), and awarded statutory damages in the amount of $500 to ten of the plaintiffs, $250 to another ten, and $150 to another eight. The Court awarded no relief to the remaining 143 plaintiffs. The Court entered judgment accordingly on April 26, 2012.

On May 25, 2012, the plaintiffs filed a notice of appeal, seeking review of the Court's final judgment. The case was argued before and submitted to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in March of 2014. On March 6, 2015, a panel of three Ninth Circuit judges affirmed the District Court’s holding, stating that the defendants had complied with the AWPA regarding the remaining plaintiffs. 592 Fed.Appx. 613 (Mem). The defendants were able to show that “the job” in dispute was no longer the same opportunity due to a 90-mile location change.

The case is now closed.

Dan Dalton - 12/21/2007
Dan Whitman - 10/07/2014
Mary Kate Sickel - 03/13/2018

compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Immigration status
Temporary foreign workers program
Work authorization - criteria
Work authorization - procedures
National Origin/Ethnicity
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1981
Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Workers Protection Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 1801-1871
Defendant(s) Marlin Ranching Company
Richard De Leon, Ralph De Leon, d/b/a Servicios Agricolas Mexicanos
Servicios Agricolas Mex, Inc.
Plaintiff Description Displaced U.S. farmworkers employed by Defendants in the 2005-2006 and previous citrus harvesting seasons and replaced by foreign migrant workers
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Damages
Source of Relief Litigation
Filed 12/19/2007
Case Closing Year 2015
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
  See this case at (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
CV07-01492-PHX-GMS (D. Ariz.)
IM-AZ-0012-9001.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/30/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
2:07-cv-02581-EHC (D. Ariz.)
IM-AZ-0012-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/06/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief
IM-AZ-0012-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/19/2007
US Farmworkers Displaced by Guestworkers Sue Employers for Discrimination, Violation of Worker Protection Laws
IM-AZ-0012-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/19/2007
Order denying Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment, and Granting in Part and Denying in Part Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment [ECF# 207] (742 F.Supp.2d 1078) (D. Ariz.)
IM-AZ-0012-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 09/20/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Fifth Amended Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief and Damages [ECF# 59-3]
IM-AZ-0012-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/12/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law [ECF# 93] (2012 WL 1030084) (D. Ariz.)
IM-AZ-0012-0005.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 03/27/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum [Ct. of App. ECF# 137-2] (592 Fed.Appx. 613)
IM-AZ-0012-0006.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 03/06/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Berzon, Marsha Siegel (Ninth Circuit) show/hide docs
Noonan, John T. Jr. (Ninth Circuit) show/hide docs
Snow, G. Murray (State Appellate Court, D. Ariz.) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0012-0003 | IM-AZ-0012-0005 | IM-AZ-0012-9000 | IM-AZ-0012-9001
Thomas, Sidney Runyan (Ninth Circuit) show/hide docs
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bridge, Pamela Marie (Arizona) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0012-0001 | IM-AZ-0012-0004 | IM-AZ-0012-9000 | IM-AZ-0012-9001
Karsh, Joshua (Illinois) show/hide docs
McKay, George H. (Arizona) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0012-0001 | IM-AZ-0012-9000 | IM-AZ-0012-9001
Ruiz, Virginia (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0012-9000 | IM-AZ-0012-9001
Willenson, Marni (Illinois) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0012-9000 | IM-AZ-0012-9001
Defendant's Lawyers Campbell, Harold Edward III (Arizona) show/hide docs
Crowe, Thomas N. (Arizona) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0012-9000 | IM-AZ-0012-9001

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -