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Case Name Muniz v. Gallegos IM-OH-0003
Docket / Court 3:09-cv-02865 ( N.D. Ohio )
State/Territory Ohio
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Case Summary
On December 10, 2010, Hispanics who had been restrained and interrogated by law enforcement agents filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio against the U.S. Border Patrol and several Ohio police departments, accusing the defendants of racial profiling ... read more >
On December 10, 2010, Hispanics who had been restrained and interrogated by law enforcement agents filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio against the U.S. Border Patrol and several Ohio police departments, accusing the defendants of racial profiling. Individual plaintiffs along with the organizational plaintiffs (Ohio Immigrant Worker Project and the Farm Labor Organizing Committee, AFL-CIO), were represented by private counsel and Advocates for Basic Legal Equality. Although the complaint was brought as a class action, the plaintiffs never sought class certification.

The plaintiffs alleged that they were restrained and interrogated by the defendants about their immigration status because of their Hispanic appearance, in violation of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. These claims were brought against federal defendants as Bivens claims and against local defendants under § 1983. The plaintiffs also alleged that the defendants had conspired to violate their right to equal protection in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1985(3) and § 1986. They requested injunctive and declaratory relief.

In their first amended complaint, filed on March 1, 2010, the plaintiffs added claims pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and alleged violations of the Immigration and Nationality Act and the Fourteenth Amendment. The plaintiffs also added requests for compensatory relief.

A settlement conference was held in May 2010, but did not lead to a settlement. On September 29, 2010, the District Court (Judge Jack Zouhary) denied without prejudice defendants' motions to dismiss and for summary judgment. The court, however, questioned whether subject matter jurisdiction was proper in this case.

There followed a long period of discovery. The plaintiffs filed a second amended complaint adding factual allegations against federal defendants and attempted to file a third amended complaint to add claims under the Federal Torts Claims Act, but leave to file was denied by the court on June 16, 2012.

Over the course of six months in 2012, the plaintiffs settled with the local defendants and dismissed all claims against the local defendants with prejudice. The settlement agreements were not publicly released. These settlements left only the claims against the federal defendants.

However, on October 19, 2012, the court held that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction over those claims, finding that plaintiffs' claims were barred by sovereign immunity. Muniz-Muniz v. U.S. Border Patrol, No. 3:09 CV 2865, 2012 WL 5197250 (N.D. Ohio Oct. 19, 2012). The district court, therefore, dismissed the plaintiffs' case in its entirety on November 15, 2012.

The plaintiffs then appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. On December 20, 2013, the Sixth Circuit reversed the district court's decision and remanded the case for further proceedings. The Sixth Circuit held that the waiver of sovereign immunity in the APA applied to all non-monetary claims against federal agencies. 741 F.3d 668 (6th Cir. 2013).

After the case was remanded, the parties engaged in further discovery. The defendants moved to dismiss the claims for lack of standing and moved for summary judgment. On May 28, 2014, the district court (Judge Zouhary) denied the defendants' motion to dismiss and motion for summary judgment. 2014 WL 11429041 (N.D. Ohio May 28, 2014).

Discovery continued for the next year and a trial date was set for the summer of 2015. The court held the two-week bench trial in June 2015. After the trial, the court had the parties submit post-trial briefs. After reviewing these briefs and the evidence presented at the trial, on February 24, 2016, the district court (Judge Zouhary) found for the defendants. Judge Zouhary held that the plaintiffs alleged an injury in fact sufficient to establish standing, but that they failed to demonstrate that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) maintained a policy or custom that had a discriminatory effect on Hispanics that was motivated by a discriminatory purpose. Judge Zouhary also held that the plaintiffs failed to establish that CBP had a policy or practice of escalating consensual encounters through immigration interrogations or encouraging local law enforcement officers to unconstitutionally prolong their investigations. 162 F.Supp.3d 623 (N.D. Ohio Feb. 24, 2016).

On April 19, 2016, the plaintiffs appealed the district court's decision. However, on August 24, 2017, the 6th Circuit (Circuit Judges Kethledge, Meritt, and White) upheld the district court's decision. 869 F.3d 442 (6th Cir. 2017).

This case is now closed.

Jennifer Bronson - 10/26/2013
Jessica Kincaid - 05/16/2016
Ava Morgenstern - 11/23/2017

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Unreasonable search and seizure
Race discrimination
Racial profiling
Search policies
National Origin/Ethnicity
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
42 U.S.C. § 1985
Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. §§ 1101 et seq.
U.S. Border Patrol
Village of Attica, Ohio
Plaintiff Description Hispanics who were restrained and interrogated by law enforcement agents
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted Moot
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Undisclosed Settlements
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Filing Year 2009
Case Closing Year 2017
Case Ongoing No
3:09−cv−02865 (N.D. Ohio)
IM-OH-0003-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/24/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
IM-OH-0003-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/10/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint [ECF# 21]
IM-OH-0003-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/01/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order (In RE to Motion to Dismiss and/or in the Alternative Motion for Summary Judgment) [ECF# 76] (N.D. Ohio)
IM-OH-0003-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/29/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order (Regarding Plaintiffs' Motion for Leave to File Third Amended Complaint) [ECF# 161] (N.D. Ohio)
IM-OH-0003-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/15/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion and Order (Granting Motion to Dismiss) [ECF# 195] (2012 WL 5197250) (N.D. Ohio)
IM-OH-0003-0006.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 10/19/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order of Case Dismissal [ECF# 200] (N.D. Ohio)
IM-OH-0003-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/15/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion [Ct. of App. ECF# 205] (741 F.3d 668)
IM-OH-0003-0007.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 12/20/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 216] (2014 WL 11429041) (N.D. Ohio)
IM-OH-0003-0008.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 05/28/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion and Order (162 F.Supp.3d 623) (N.D. Ohio)
IM-OH-0003-0009.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 02/24/2016
Source: Bloomberg Law
Opinion (869 F.3d 442)
IM-OH-0003-0010.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 08/24/2017
Source: U.S. Court of Appeals website
Judges Greer, J. Ronnie (E.D. Tenn)
Kethledge, Raymond M. (Sixth Circuit)
Zouhary, Jack (N.D. Ohio)
IM-OH-0003-0003 | IM-OH-0003-0004 | IM-OH-0003-0005 | IM-OH-0003-0006 | IM-OH-0003-0008 | IM-OH-0003-0009 | IM-OH-0003-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Chablani, Aneel L (Ohio)
IM-OH-0003-0001 | IM-OH-0003-0002 | IM-OH-0003-9000
Heller, Mark R. (Ohio)
IM-OH-0003-0001 | IM-OH-0003-0002 | IM-OH-0003-9000
Mollo, Eugenio Jr. (Ohio)
IM-OH-0003-0001 | IM-OH-0003-0002 | IM-OH-0003-9000
Murray, Leslie O. (Ohio)
IM-OH-0003-0001 | IM-OH-0003-0002 | IM-OH-0003-9000
Murray, John T. (Ohio)
IM-OH-0003-0001 | IM-OH-0003-0002 | IM-OH-0003-9000
Stewart, Michael J. (Ohio)
Defendant's Lawyers Belsan, Timothy Michael (District of Columbia)
Grigsby, Teresa L. (Ohio)
Hannon, Tami Z. (Ohio)
Kisor, Colin A. (District of Columbia)
McLandrich, John T. (Ohio)
Silvis, William C. (District of Columbia)
Sydlow, Holly Taft (District of Columbia)
Szuberla, Joan C. (Ohio)
Tomino, Nick (Ohio)
Weintraub, J. Max (District of Columbia)
Wright, Cara M. (Ohio)

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