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Case Name Argueta v. Myers IM-NJ-0007
Docket / Court 3:08-cv-01652-PGS-DEA ( D.N.J. )
Additional Docket(s) 10-01479  [ 10-1479 ]
State/Territory New Jersey
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Attorney Organization Center for Constitutional Rights
Public Justice
Case Summary
On April 3, 2008, twelve individual plaintiffs filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. Represented by private counsel and attorneys from the Center for Constitutional Rights, the plaintiffs sued U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE") and officers of ... read more >
On April 3, 2008, twelve individual plaintiffs filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. Represented by private counsel and attorneys from the Center for Constitutional Rights, the plaintiffs sued U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE") and officers of the Penns Grove, N.J., Police Department, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the New Jersey Constitution. On May 22, 2008, the plaintiffs amended their complaint. The plaintiffs sought compensatory and punitive damages, injunctive relief, and attorneys' fees and costs.

In the amended complaint, the plaintiffs alleged that the defendants violated their Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights in the course of committing unlawful entries and dragnet searches of homes “in which the agents only loosely suspect immigrant families may reside.” The plaintiffs further argued that the defendants “detained the occupants without judicial warrant or other legal justification.” The defendants' conduct was allegedly part of an enforcement effort called "Operation Return to Sender," designed to apprehend persons subject to outstanding deportation orders whom ICE regarded as "fugitives." In addition to claims based upon Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure and the use of excessive force, the plaintiffs cited the Fifth Amendment's due process clause as a basis for their allegations that the defendants violated the plaintiffs' rights to be free from abusive governmental conduct that shocks the conscience, from prevention of consultation with counsel regarding immigration proceedings, and from denial of equal protection of the laws based upon race and ethnicity. According to the plaintiffs, much of the illegal conduct followed agency imposition of increased arrest quotas on understaffed and ill-trained ICE Fugitive Operations Teams. The Teams subsequently conducted fugitive searches as pretext to arrest undocumented immigrants and relied upon outdated, inaccurate, and incomplete information in ICE databases. Eight of the plaintiffs were named, while four remained anonymous due to fear of retaliation. The plaintiffs include U.S. citizens and lawful residents.

On the same date as the filing of their amended complaint, the plaintiffs sought preliminary and permanent injunctions. The defendants filed two motions to dismiss on June 26, 2008 and July 8, 2008. The Court partially granted the defendants' motion to dismiss the request for preliminary injunction without prejudice, but denied the motion to dismiss the request for permanent injunction on September 8, 2008. On May 7, 2009, the court issued a subsequent order on this motion, denying the defendants’ motion to dismiss, except with regard to the claims asserted by the anonymous plaintiffs. The court argued that they could amend the complaint to include their identity as they had demonstrated why the need for anonymity outweighed the need for fairness. 2009 WL 1307236.

The plaintiffs filed a second amended complaint identifying one of the anonymous plaintiffs on June 8, 2009, which the individual federal defendants moved to dismiss on June 18 on the basis of qualified immunity. The Court denied the motion on January 27, 2010, arguing that the defendants’ conduct plausibly could have violated a clearly established constitutional right of which they were aware existed. In short, the defendants failed to meet the test for qualified immunity. 2010 WL 398839.

Defendants who were higher-ranking ICE officers (rather than the ones carrying out the raids) appealed both of these orders.

While the case was pending in the Third Circuit, the plaintiffs filed their third amended complaint in the district court on April 16, 2010. In response, three of the defendants, who were municipal officers, sought to dismiss the claims against them on June 24 and July 27, 2010. The court granted the motions on Nov. 29, 2010. Meanwhile, on Aug. 9, 2010, the defendants moved to dismiss the complaint. On Feb. 3, 2011, the court dismissed plaintiff Guzman’s substantive due process claim, but sustained her subject matter jurisdiction claim (stating that the Fifth amendment claim should be dismissed because the facts stated were properly already used under the Fourth amendment claim).

On June 14, 2011, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the district court’s order from Jan. 27, 2010 denying the defendants’ motion to dismiss and remanded it for further proceedings. The Third Circuit concluded that the district court had subject matter jurisdiction, but reversed the district court's denial of qualified immunity. The Third Circuit argued that the ICE officers “specifically charged with enforcing federal immigration law” occupied relatively high-ranking positions and acted lawfully by increasing arrest goals. Indeed, “qualified immunity doctrine exists to encourage vigorous and unflinching enforcement of the law.” 643 F.3d 60.

On September 21, 2012, the Court dismissed the case with prejudice on the grounds that the plaintiffs and the ICE Agent defendants “amicably resolved the matter.” The plaintiffs were awarded $295,000 as part of the settlement. The settlement agreement does not appear to be publicly available at this time. The case was left open for 90 days, but as the plaintiffs did not motion to re-open the case, the matter is now closed.

Mike Fagan - 07/02/2008
Allison Hight - 03/19/2016
Gloria Han - 06/15/2017
Virginia Weeks - 11/20/2017


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Unreasonable search and seizure
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief denied
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-basis
Immigration status
National origin discrimination
General
Classification / placement
Excessive force
False arrest
Loss or damage to property
Over/Unlawful Detention
Placement in detention facilities
Racial profiling
Search policies
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Immigration/Border
Constitutional rights
Deportation - procedure
Detention - procedures
ICE/DHS/INS raid
Status/Classification
Undocumented immigrants - rights and duties
Undocumented immigrants - state and local regulation
Language
Spanish
National Origin/Ethnicity
Hispanic
Other
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Bivens
State law
Defendant(s) U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
Plaintiff Description Individuals subjected to ICE raids and searches as part of “Operation Return to Sender”
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Center for Constitutional Rights
Public Justice
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Damages
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Voluntary Dismissal
Case Closing Year 2012
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing IM-MA-0004 : Aguilar v. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (D. Mass.)
Additional Resources
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  Argueta, et al. v. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, et al.
https://ccrjustice.org
Date: Dec. 17, 2012
By: Center for Constitutional Rights
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
2:08-cv-01652-PGS-ES (D.N.J.)
IM-NJ-0007-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/13/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint and Jury Demanded [ECF# 1]
IM-NJ-0007-0013.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/03/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint [ECF# 15]
IM-NJ-0007-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/22/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum of Law in Support of Order to Show Cause [ECF# 16-4]
IM-NJ-0007-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/22/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Motion to Dismiss, Memorandum in Support of Defendant's Motion to Dismiss, and Certificate of Service [ECF# 34]
IM-NJ-0007-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/26/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion [ECF# 94] (2009 WL 1307236) (D.N.J.)
IM-NJ-0007-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 05/07/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion II [ECF# 135] (D.N.J.)
IM-NJ-0007-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/27/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Third Amended Complaint [ECF# 162]
IM-NJ-0007-0015.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/16/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Consent Order on Service of Summons and Third Amended Complaint [ECF# 173] (D.N.J.)
IM-NJ-0007-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/02/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Brief for the Appellants [Ct. of App. ECF# 003110306015]
IM-NJ-0007-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/06/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Brief for Plaintiffs-Appellees [Ct. of App. ECF# 003110360423]
IM-NJ-0007-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/24/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Brief of Amici Curiae Public Justice, The Prisoners' Rights Project of the Legal Aid Society of the City of New York, and the Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project in Support of Plaintiff
IM-NJ-0007-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/08/2010
Order [ECF# 241] (D.N.J.)
IM-NJ-0007-0016.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/03/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion (643 F.3d 60)
IM-NJ-0007-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 06/14/2011
Stipulation of Dismissal [ECF# 275]
IM-NJ-0007-0011.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/02/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 281] (D.N.J.)
IM-NJ-0007-0012.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/21/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Arpert, Douglas E (D.N.J.) [Magistrate]
IM-NJ-0007-9000
Cowen, Robert E. (D.N.J., Third Circuit)
IM-NJ-0007-0003
Fisher, D. Michael (Third Circuit)
IM-NJ-0007-0003
Jordan, Kent A. (D. Del., Third Circuit)
IM-NJ-0007-0003
Salas, Esther (D.N.J.)
IM-NJ-0007-0001 | IM-NJ-0007-0002
Sheridan, Peter G. (D.N.J.)
IM-NJ-0007-0001 | IM-NJ-0007-0002 | IM-NJ-0007-0004 | IM-NJ-0007-0008 | IM-NJ-0007-0009 | IM-NJ-0007-0010 | IM-NJ-0007-0012 | IM-NJ-0007-0016 | IM-NJ-0007-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Azmy, Baher (New York)
IM-NJ-0007-0001 | IM-NJ-0007-0002 | IM-NJ-0007-0008 | IM-NJ-0007-0010 | IM-NJ-0007-0011 | IM-NJ-0007-0013 | IM-NJ-0007-0015 | IM-NJ-0007-9000
Bishop, Heather (New Jersey)
IM-NJ-0007-0001 | IM-NJ-0007-0002 | IM-NJ-0007-0007 | IM-NJ-0007-0013 | IM-NJ-0007-0015 | IM-NJ-0007-9000
Catalina, Frank T.M. (New Jersey)
IM-NJ-0007-0007 | IM-NJ-0007-9000
Farbenblum, Bassina (New Jersey)
IM-NJ-0007-0001 | IM-NJ-0007-0002 | IM-NJ-0007-0013
Hiorth, Megan E. (New Jersey)
IM-NJ-0007-9000
Kraner, Natalie Janet (New Jersey)
IM-NJ-0007-0007 | IM-NJ-0007-0010 | IM-NJ-0007-0015 | IM-NJ-0007-9000
Lambert, Reynold (New Jersey)
IM-NJ-0007-9000
Michelman, Scott (New Jersey)
IM-NJ-0007-0001 | IM-NJ-0007-0002 | IM-NJ-0007-0013
Noferi, Mark (New Jersey)
IM-NJ-0007-0015
Parrilla, Aurora Francesca (New Jersey)
IM-NJ-0007-0007 | IM-NJ-0007-9000
Reiner, David Marshall (New Jersey)
IM-NJ-0007-9000
Thompson, R. Scott (New Jersey)
IM-NJ-0007-0002 | IM-NJ-0007-0008 | IM-NJ-0007-0010 | IM-NJ-0007-0011 | IM-NJ-0007-0013 | IM-NJ-0007-0015 | IM-NJ-0007-9000
Tully, L. Danielle (New Jersey)
IM-NJ-0007-0007 | IM-NJ-0007-0015
Walker, Scott L (New Jersey)
IM-NJ-0007-0001 | IM-NJ-0007-0002 | IM-NJ-0007-0007 | IM-NJ-0007-0013 | IM-NJ-0007-0015 | IM-NJ-0007-9000
Weiss, Catherine (New Jersey)
IM-NJ-0007-0007 | IM-NJ-0007-9000
Zimmerman, Kenneth H. (New Jersey)
IM-NJ-0007-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Carlson, Jesi J. (District of Columbia)
IM-NJ-0007-0011 | IM-NJ-0007-9000
Gelfand, Todd J. (New Jersey)
IM-NJ-0007-9000
Hollis, Christopher W. (District of Columbia)
IM-NJ-0007-9000
Juncaj, Gjon (District of Columbia)
IM-NJ-0007-0008 | IM-NJ-0007-9000
Katsas, Gregory George (District of Columbia)
IM-NJ-0007-0008
Keiper, Melanie Suzanne (District of Columbia)
IM-NJ-0007-0011 | IM-NJ-0007-9000
Kline, David J. (District of Columbia)
IM-NJ-0007-0008
Martin, Edward J. (District of Columbia)
IM-NJ-0007-0010 | IM-NJ-0007-0011 | IM-NJ-0007-9000
Prairie, Nicole Rogers (District of Columbia)
IM-NJ-0007-9000
Richardson, Allan E. (New Jersey)
IM-NJ-0007-9000
Richter, Zachary Carl (District of Columbia)
IM-NJ-0007-9000
Whitman, Sarah Elisabeth (District of Columbia)
IM-NJ-0007-0010 | IM-NJ-0007-9000
Other Lawyers Banks, Steven L. (New York)
IM-NJ-0007-0005
Boston, John (New York)
IM-NJ-0007-0005
Fishman, Paul (New Jersey)
IM-NJ-0007-0006
Herwig, Barbara L. (District of Columbia)
IM-NJ-0007-0006
Love, Angus R. (Pennsylvania)
IM-NJ-0007-0005
Prestel, Claire (District of Columbia)
IM-NJ-0007-0005
Reinert, Alexander A. (New York)
IM-NJ-0007-0005
Scher, Howard S. (District of Columbia)
IM-NJ-0007-0006
West, Tony (District of Columbia)
IM-NJ-0007-0006 | IM-NJ-0007-0010

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