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Case Name Utah Coalition of La Raza v. Herbert IM-UT-0002
Docket / Court 2:11-cv-00401 ( D. Utah )
State/Territory Utah
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU National (all projects)
National Immigration Law Center
Case Summary
On May 3, 2011, a coalition of immigrant rights groups and individual immigrants filed this class action lawsuit against the State of Utah in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah, Central Division, challenging the state's immigration-enforcement law, House Bill 497 (HB 497). The ... read more >
On May 3, 2011, a coalition of immigrant rights groups and individual immigrants filed this class action lawsuit against the State of Utah in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah, Central Division, challenging the state's immigration-enforcement law, House Bill 497 (HB 497). The plaintiffs, represented by the state and national ACLU, the National Immigration Law Center, and private counsel, brought suit under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981, 1983; the Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201; and state law, claiming that the law was unconstitutional.

Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed that HB 497, in requiring state and local law enforcement to check the identification of all people they stop, arrest or detain and ascertain whether they are in the country lawfully; allowing them to make warrantless arrests on "reasonable suspicion" that a person is an alien who is (1) subject to a removal order by an immigration court, (2) subject to an immigration detainer request, or (3) charged or convicted in another state with one or more "aggravated felonies;" and criminalizing the act of encouraging or inducing illegal immigrants to come to, enter or reside in Utah, is preempted under the Supremacy Clause and in violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. The plaintiffs sought a declaration of the law's unconstitutionality and an injunction barring enforcement of the law before it came into effect on May 10, 2011.

(In passing HB 497, Utah became the first state to follow the lead of Arizona in enacting aggressive immigration-related laws at the state level; Indiana, Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina were soon to follow. For the case challenging the Arizona's SB 1070, see United States v. Arizona [IM-AZ-0015]; for the case challenging Indiana's SEA 590, see Buquer v. City of Indianapolis [IM-IN-0002]; for the case challenging Georgia's HB 87, see Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights v. Deal [IM-GA-0007]; for cases challenging Alabama's HB 56, see United States v. Alabama [IM-AL-0005], Hispanic Interest Coalition v. Bentley [IM-AL-0006], and Parsley v. Bentley [IM-AL-0007]; and for cases challenging South Carolina's Act 69, see Lowcountry Immigration Coalition v. Haley [IM-SC-0001] and United States v. South Carolina [IM-SC-0002].)

On May 6, 2011, plaintiffs filed a motion for a preliminary injunction. After a hearing on May 10, the district court (Judge Clark Waddoups) issued a temporary restraining order on May 11, barring enforcement of HB 497 pending further order of the court and giving parties time to brief the court regarding the merits of plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction. 2011 WL 7143098 (D. Utah May 11, 2011).

Over the course of the summer, various amicus curiae briefs were filed in support of plaintiffs, including those by the governments of Mexico and various Central and South American countries.

On August 1, 2011, plaintiffs filed a motion for class certification.

On November 22, 2011, the federal government filed a separate lawsuit challenging the Utah law solely on preemption grounds. It was consolidated with this case on November 28, and on December 15, the Department of Justice filed its own motion for a preliminary injunction.

Rather than deciding on any of the motions before it, on February 21, 2012, the district court declared that it would refrain from making any rulings until the Supreme Court issued its decision in United States v. Arizona (IM-AZ-0015) but confirmed that the restraining order would continue until it ruled on the pending motions for preliminary injunction.

While the district court awaited the Supreme Court’s decision, the plaintiffs filed several notices of supplemental authority in 2013 to support its pending motions for preliminary injunctions. The plaintiffs cited circuit court decisions and argued that those provided further support that HB 497 was unconstitutional on Supremacy Clause grounds.

Once the Supreme Court ruled on all but few motions for United States v. Arizona, the Judge Waddoups ruled on all three pending motions for preliminary injunctions on June 18, 2014. First, the court ruled against the United States and plaintiffs’ overall facial challenge against HB 497 as a whole because the constitutional language did not expressly preempt all immigration-related state legislation, and the Supreme Court did not hold that the entire field of immigration regulation is either conflict or field preempted. But the court ruled against the key provisions of HB 497, such as Section 10 and 11, which granted warrantless arrest based solely on suspicion of immigration status and made it criminal to assist or encourage undocumented immigrants. The court also put strict limits on when the police could check the identification of detained individuals to verify immigration status.

On November 25, 2014, the parties filed a joint report regarding the discussions toward agreeing on a proposed final judgment in light of the court’s preliminary injunction decision. In the proposed final judgment, the State of Utah agreed to permanently scrap the key problematic provisions of HB 497 and implement the remaining sections under restriction. For example, the parties agreed to severely limit Sections 3 and 4 of HB 497, which made it clear that police are not allowed to stop or detain an individual simply to verify their immigration status.

On December 4, 2014, the district court entered a judgment per the parties’ proposed final judgment and dismissed without prejudice the plaintiffs’ and the United States’ remaining claims that were not yet adjudicated. On April 28, 2015, the parties notified the court about the settlement of attorney fees and costs and later advised the Court that the payment has been made. The case is now closed.

Christopher Schad - 06/20/2012
MJ Koo - 03/23/2017

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Right to travel
Unreasonable search and seizure
National origin discrimination
Race discrimination
Search policies
Border police
Constitutional rights
Criminal prosecution
Detention - criteria
Detention - procedures
Undocumented immigrants - rights and duties
Undocumented immigrants - state and local regulation
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1981
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
State law
Defendant(s) The State of Utah
Plaintiff Description a coalition of immigrant rights groups and individual immigrants, and, after consolidation, the United States
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU National (all projects)
National Immigration Law Center
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Order Duration 2011 - n/a
Filing Year 2011
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing IM-UT-0003 : United States v. Utah (D. Utah)
IM-AZ-0015 : United States v. Arizona (D. Ariz.)
2:11-cv-00401-CW (D. Utah)
IM-UT-0002-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/15/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief - Class Action [ECF# 2]
IM-UT-0002-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/03/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum in Support of Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 37]
IM-UT-0002-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/06/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Granting Plaintiffs' Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order] [ECF# 45] (2011 WL 7143098) (D. Utah)
IM-UT-0002-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 05/11/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Reserving Ruling Pending the Supreme Court's Decision in United States v. Arizona] [ECF# 183] (D. Utah)
IM-UT-0002-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/21/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Response to Amicus Curiae's Notice of Supplemental Authority, in Support of Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 227]
IM-UT-0002-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/27/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Notice of Supplemental Authority in Support Plaintiffs' Motions for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 228]
IM-UT-0002-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/15/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Decision and Order [ECF# 231] (26 F.Supp.3d 1125) (D. Utah)
IM-UT-0002-0006.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 06/18/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
[Proposed] Final Judgment [ECF# 240-1] (D. Utah)
IM-UT-0002-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/24/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Final Judgment [ECF# 241] (D. Utah)
IM-UT-0002-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/04/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Notice Re: Settlement of Attorney Fees and Costs Claim [ECF# 248]
IM-UT-0002-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/28/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Waddoups, Clark (D. Utah)
IM-UT-0002-0003 | IM-UT-0002-0004 | IM-UT-0002-0005 | IM-UT-0002-0006 | IM-UT-0002-0007 | IM-UT-0002-0007 | IM-UT-0002-9000
Wells, Brooke C. (D. Utah)
Plaintiff's Lawyers Cheer, Shiu-Ming (California)
IM-UT-0002-0001 | IM-UT-0002-0002 | IM-UT-0002-9000
Chilakamarri, Varu (District of Columbia)
Cohn, Joseph S. (New Jersey)
Desormeau, Katherine (California)
IM-UT-0002-0001 | IM-UT-0002-0002 | IM-UT-0002-9000
Farrell, Leah M. (Utah)
IM-UT-0002-0009 | IM-UT-0002-0010 | IM-UT-0002-9000
Goddard, Darcy M. (Utah)
IM-UT-0002-0001 | IM-UT-0002-0002 | IM-UT-0002-9000
Goldberg, Arthur Robert (District of Columbia)
Granados, Esperanza (Utah)
IM-UT-0002-0001 | IM-UT-0002-0002 | IM-UT-0002-9000
Jadwat, Omar C. (New York)
IM-UT-0002-0001 | IM-UT-0002-0002 | IM-UT-0002-9000
Joaquin, Linton (California)
IM-UT-0002-0001 | IM-UT-0002-0002 | IM-UT-0002-9000
Keaney, Melissa S. (California)
IM-UT-0002-0001 | IM-UT-0002-0002 | IM-UT-0002-9000
Mukherjee, Elora (New York)
IM-UT-0002-0001 | IM-UT-0002-0002 | IM-UT-0002-9000
Newell, Jennifer Chang (California)
IM-UT-0002-0005 | IM-UT-0002-0007 | IM-UT-0002-0007 | IM-UT-0002-0009 | IM-UT-0002-0010 | IM-UT-0002-9000
Phillips, Bradley S. (California)
IM-UT-0002-0001 | IM-UT-0002-0002 | IM-UT-0002-9000
Price, Daniel D. (Utah)
Segura, Andre Ivan (New York)
IM-UT-0002-0001 | IM-UT-0002-0002 | IM-UT-0002-9000
Simpson, W. Scott (District of Columbia)
IM-UT-0002-0005 | IM-UT-0002-0007 | IM-UT-0002-0007
Sugarman, Kenneth John (California)
Tumlin, Karen C. (California)
IM-UT-0002-0001 | IM-UT-0002-0002 | IM-UT-0002-0008 | IM-UT-0002-0009 | IM-UT-0002-0010 | IM-UT-0002-9000
Wang, Cecillia D (California)
IM-UT-0002-0001 | IM-UT-0002-0002 | IM-UT-0002-9000
Wilkenfeld, Joshua (District of Columbia)
Defendant's Lawyers Evans, Timothy D. (Utah)
Gray, Jeffrey S. (Utah)
Jensen, Jerrold S. (Utah)
Lawrence, Barry G. (Utah)
Lott, Philip S. (Utah)
IM-UT-0002-0005 | IM-UT-0002-0007 | IM-UT-0002-0007 | IM-UT-0002-0008 | IM-UT-0002-9000
Roberts, Thomas D. (Utah)
Other Lawyers Barnard, Brian M. (Utah)
Clark, Christopher R. (New York)
Deutchman, Michelle N. (California)
Freeman, Steven M. (New York)
Gorniak, Carla (New York)
Hale, Andrew R. (Utah)
Hethmon, Michael M. (District of Columbia)
Jenkins, Lon A. (Utah)
Marsden, Milo Steven (Utah)
Mazar, Yael Lerman (California)
McDonald, Kathleen E. (Utah)
Mylar, Frank D. (Utah)
Newsom, Elizabeth W. (District of Columbia)
Roe, Garrett R. (District of Columbia)
Santon, Katherine J. (California)
Schoenfeld, Alan E. (New York)
Shaholli, Sarah Kathleen (California)
Skolnick, Michael F. (Utah)
Solano, Henry L. (New York)
Tarin, Aaron (Utah)
Walther, Laura J. (District of Columbia)

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