University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name Gordon v. Napolitano [later Johnson, Nielsen] IM-MA-0005
Docket / Court 3:13-cv-30146-MAP ( D. Mass. )
State/Territory Massachusetts
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Special Collection Post-WalMart decisions on class certification
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project
ACLU National (all projects)
Case Summary
On August 8, 2013, several noncitizens being held in mandatory detention filed this class-action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts against the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and various county sheriffs in ... read more >
On August 8, 2013, several noncitizens being held in mandatory detention filed this class-action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts against the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and various county sheriffs in Massachusetts. The plaintiffs argued that their detention in deportation proceedings -- without any chance for release on bail when they were released from criminal custody months or years before -- violated the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) (8 U.S.C. § 1226). The plaintiffs, represented by the ACLU and Lutheran Social Services, sought class certification and injunctive and declaratory relief. They also brought a petition for a writ of habeas corpus seeking individualized bond hearings to challenge their immigration detentions.

The plaintiffs were lawful permanent residents (LPRs) who were convicted of crimes and were released from criminal custody long before they were detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a component of DHS. ICE had determined that they were subject to mandatory detention under the INA. The plaintiffs alleged that ICE misapplied the mandatory detention statute (8 U.S.C. § 1226(c)) to individuals like them, who had been living in the United States for years after their release without incident. That statute required the government to detain certain noncitizens "when the alien is released." The plaintiffs argued that the statute only allowed mandatory detention for people who were convicted of certain crimes and who were taken into immigration custody at the time they were released from the criminal justice system for such a crime.

On October 23, 2013, following proceedings on the defendants' motion to dismiss and the plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction, the Court (Judge Michael A. Ponsor) ordered the defendants to grant the plaintiffs individualized bond hearings within thirty days while the Court prepared its memorandum opinion. The Court also denied the defendants' motion to dismiss and the plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction. In its order, the Court accepted the plaintiffs' interpretation of the INA provision at issue. The Court also directed the parties to file briefs within thirty days on the question of whether it was proper for the Court to retain the case to resolve the class-wide allegations. Gordon v. Johnson, 991 F. Supp. 2d 258 (D. Mass. 2013). On December 16, the defendants appealed the order.

On December 19, 2013, the District Court held a hearing on the plaintiffs' motion for class certification. The Court granted the plaintiffs leave to file an amended complaint, adding three further petitioners seeking individualized bond hearings. On February 7, 2014, the Court ordered these petitioners to be provided with individualized bond hearings. On April 7, the defendants appealed this order.

Over the next few months, several motions were filed: a renewed motion for certification of the plaintiff class; the plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment; and the defendants' renewed motion to dismiss. The plaintiffs also filed a second amended complaint, adding an additional petitioner seeking an individualized bond hearing. On March 27, 2014, the District Court granted the plaintiffs' motion for class certification, granted the new petitioner an individualized bond hearing, and denied the defendants' motion to dismiss. Gordon v. Johnson, 300 F.R.D. 28 (D. Mass. 2014). On May 23, the defendants appealed this order. The class was certified as: "all aliens who are or will be detained in Massachusetts under 8 U.S.C. § 1226(c), whom the government alleges to be subject to a ground of removability as described in 8 U.S.C. § 1226(c)(1)(A)-(D), and who were not taken into immigration custody within forty-eight hours (or, if a weekend or holiday intervenes, within no more than five days) of release from the relevant predicate custody."

On May 21, 2014, the District Court (Judge Ponsor) granted the plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment, and scheduled a hearing to review the defendants' compliance with the order, and to discuss entry of final judgment. Gordon v. Johnson, 300 F.R.D. 31 (D. Mass. 2014). On July 2, the defendants appealed this order.

The defendants' first appeal, from the October 23 order, was consolidated with Castañeda v. Souza, another case in the same Court before Judge William G. Young. Both cases involved the same legal issue: whether mandatory immigration detention applies only to noncitizens being detained by immigration authorities "when . . . released" from some predicate criminal custody.

On October 6, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit affirmed the District Court's order, holding that the plaintiffs were not detained within a "reasonable time" after being released from state criminal custody, and that ICE's failure to detain them within a "reasonable time" mandated individualized bond hearings for the plaintiffs. Castañeda v. Souza, 769 F.3d 32 (1st Cir. Oct. 6, 2014).

The defendants' remaining three appeals were all consolidated in the First Circuit, and were held in abeyance until the Court of Appeals adjudicated the first appeal. With the Court's decision in Castañeda, the Court of Appeals lifted the stay and set a briefing schedule on the consolidated appeal.

However, the defendants requested an en banc rehearing of Castañeda, which the First Circuit granted. After oral argument on April 7, 2015, the First Circuit's en banc panel issued a December 23, 2015 opinion and order, affirming the District Court's judgment by a divided vote. The First Circuit then granted the parties' request to dismiss several pending appeals.

Meanwhile, the First Circuit had been considering the defendants' appeal of the District Court's May 21, 2014 order granting summary judgment to the plaintiffs in the Gordon case. On November 21, 2016, the First Circuit (Case No. 14-01729) vacated the District Court's grant of summary judgment, declaratory judgment, and injunctive relief, as inconsistent with Castañeda, and asked the District Court to determine how to proceed on remand in light of Castañeda.

Back in the District Court, after discussing next steps, the parties proceeded with the case, engaging in discovery.

On March 22, the defendants moved to stay proceedings pending the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Nielsen v. Preap (a case addressing the same legal issue); Judge Ponsor granted defendants' motion on Apr. 18.

This case was reassigned to Chief Judge Patti B. Saris on July 10, 2018.

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in Nielsen v. Preap on March 19, 2019. The Court reversed a Ninth Circuit decision holding that the mandatory-detention requirement applied only if a covered noncitizen is arrested by immigration officials as soon as he is released from jail. The Court held that regardless of when a noncitizen is detained by ICE following release, what determines whether they are subject to mandatory detention under the INA is whether they have committed one of the predicate offenses listed in the statute. 139 S. Ct. 954.

Judge Saris requested a joint status report from the parties to this case in light of the Supreme Court's decision in Preap.

On June 26, 2019, Judge Saris ordered that this case be dismissed without prejudice to the filing of a new civil action challenging on constitutional grounds the application of mandatory detention to noncitizens who are not taken into immigration custody immediately upon release from criminal custody.

This case is closed.

Jennifer Bronson - 11/14/2013
Dan Whitman - 11/03/2014
Ava Morgenstern - 04/24/2018
Sam Kulhanek - 03/28/2020


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief denied
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Law-enforcement
General
Bail/Bond
Fines/Fees/Bail/Bond
Habeas Corpus
Over/Unlawful Detention
Immigration/Border
Detention - criteria
Detention - procedures
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Special Case Type
Habeas
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Habeas Corpus, 28 U.S.C. §§ 2241-2253; 2254; 2255
Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. §§ 1101 et seq.
Defendant(s) Department of Homeland Security
Department of Justice
Sheriff's Office
Sheriff's Office
Sheriff's Office
Sheriff's Office
Sheriff's Office
Plaintiff Description Lawful permanent residents in detention.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project
ACLU National (all projects)
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Habeas relief
Source of Relief Litigation
Filed 08/08/2013
Case Closing Year 2019
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing IM-MA-0006 : Reid v. Donelan (D. Mass.)
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  Nielsen v. Preap
ACLU
Date: March 19, 2019
By: ACLU
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Gordon v. Johnson and CASTAÑEDA v. Souza
www.aclu.org
Date: Dec. 23, 2015
By: American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Locked Up: Class-Action Lawsuits Challenge Mandatory Detention of Immigrants
www.aclu.org
Date: Aug. 8, 2013
By: Sarah Mehta (American Civil Liberties Union)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
3:13-cv-30146 (D. Mass.)
IM-MA-0005-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/01/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint and Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus [ECF# 1]
IM-MA-0005-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/08/2013
Source: ACLU
Order Regarding Plaintiff's Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus, Plaintiff's Motion for a Preliminary Injunction, and Defendants' Motion to Dismiss [ECF# 47] (2013 WL 5774843) (D. Mass.)
IM-MA-0005-0002.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 10/23/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum and Order Regarding Plaintiff's Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus, Plaintiff's Motion for a Preliminary Injunction, and Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (991 F.Supp.2d 258) (D. Mass.)
IM-MA-0005-0005.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 12/31/2013
Source: Westlaw
Order Regarding Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification, Plaintiff Cesar Chavarria Restrepo's Individual Habeas Petition, and Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (300 F.R.D. 28) (D. Mass.)
IM-MA-0005-0006.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 03/27/2014
Source: Westlaw
Memorandum & Order Regarding Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification and Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment [ECF# 120] (300 F.R.D. 31) (D. Mass.)
IM-MA-0005-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 05/21/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Circuit Opinion [Affirming the Judgment of the District Court] (769 F.3d 32)
IM-MA-0005-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 10/06/2014
Source: ACLU
Opinion En Banc [Ct. of App. ECF# BL-95] (810 F.3d 15)
IM-MA-0005-0008.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 12/23/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Barron, David Jeremiah (First Circuit) show/hide docs
IM-MA-0005-0008
Dyk, Timothy B. (Fed. Circuit) show/hide docs
IM-MA-0005-0003
Howard, Jeffrey R. (First Circuit) show/hide docs
IM-MA-0005-0008
Kayatta, William Joseph Jr. (First Circuit) show/hide docs
IM-MA-0005-0008
Lynch, Sandra Lea (First Circuit) show/hide docs
IM-MA-0005-0008
Ponsor, Michael Adrian (D. Mass.) show/hide docs
IM-MA-0005-0002 | IM-MA-0005-0004 | IM-MA-0005-0005 | IM-MA-0005-0006 | IM-MA-0005-9000
Saris, Patti B. (D. Mass.) show/hide docs
IM-MA-0005-9000
Thompson, Ojetta Rogeriee (First Circuit) show/hide docs
IM-MA-0005-0003 | IM-MA-0005-0008
Torruella, Juan R. (D.P.R., First Circuit) show/hide docs
IM-MA-0005-0003 | IM-MA-0005-0008
Plaintiff's Lawyers Badger, Elizabeth A. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
IM-MA-0005-0001 | IM-MA-0005-9000
Hausman, David (New York) show/hide docs
IM-MA-0005-9000
Lafaille, Adriana (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
IM-MA-0005-0001 | IM-MA-0005-9000
Lee, Eunice (New York) show/hide docs
IM-MA-0005-9000
Nyein, Michelle K. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
IM-MA-0005-9000
Rabinovitz, Judy (New York) show/hide docs
IM-MA-0005-0001 | IM-MA-0005-9000
Rossman, Jessie J. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
IM-MA-0005-0001
Saraswat, Anant K. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
IM-MA-0005-9000
Segal, Matthew (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
IM-MA-0005-0001 | IM-MA-0005-9000
Tan, Michael K. T. (New York) show/hide docs
IM-MA-0005-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Collins, Jeffrey T. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
IM-MA-0005-9000
Fabian, Sarah B. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-MA-0005-9000
Gavoor, Aram A. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-MA-0005-9000
Go, Samuel P. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-MA-0005-9000
Goodwin, Karen L. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
IM-MA-0005-9000
Stevens, Elizabeth Jones (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-MA-0005-9000

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -