University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Centro de la Comunidad Hispana v. Town of Oyster Bay IM-NY-0049
Docket / Court 2:10-cv-02262-DRH-ARL ( E.D.N.Y. )
Additional Docket(s) 10-2505  [ 10-2505 ]
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project
LatinoJustice PRLDEF
Case Summary
On May 18, 2010, two organizations comprised of day laborers and/or predominately Latino immigrant workers filed a class action lawsuit in the Eastern District Court of New York under the First and Fourteenth Amendments against the Town of Oyster Bay. The plaintiffs, represented by the ACLU and ... read more >
On May 18, 2010, two organizations comprised of day laborers and/or predominately Latino immigrant workers filed a class action lawsuit in the Eastern District Court of New York under the First and Fourteenth Amendments against the Town of Oyster Bay. The plaintiffs, represented by the ACLU and LatinoJustice PRLDEF, sought injunctive relief, declaratory relief, and attorneys' fees and costs, claiming that the defendants, through the passage of an ordinance prohibiting the solicitation of labor from the town's streets and sidewalks, unlawfully prohibited speech related to employment and had a discriminatory animus against predominately Latino immigrant day laborers.

In September 2009, the Town Board enacted the ordinance in question. It prohibited any person from standing on a street corner stopping or attempting to stop a passing car for employment-related purposes. It also prohibited drivers from stopping their cars for the same purposes. The proposed purpose of the ordinance was to promote the health, safety, and welfare of motorists and pedestrians on the streets of the town. However, the supervisor referenced the ordinance as a temporary solution to dealing with those who were not on the path to citizenship. Comments from the public showed that town residents feared groups of men unfamiliar to them standing on the streets. There was also proof of animosity towards immigrant day laborers, such as town residents saying the day laborers were unsightly, illegal, and not wanted in that town.

Plaintiffs argued that since New York laws already addressed health and safety concerns on the streets, this animus against predominantly Latino immigrant day laborers was what actually motivated the passing of the ordinance and that this violated the First Amendment right to free speech and Fourteenth Amendment right to equal protection. They also argued that the law was unconstitutionally vague in violation of the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. As a result of the ordinance, day laborers had suffered a significant loss of wages and harassment from police officers and people driving by them.

Two days after the complaint was filed, on May 20, 2010, the District Court (Judge Denis Reagan Hurley) granted the plaintiffs' motion for a temporary restraining order preventing the town from enforcing the ordinance at issue. Then, on June 1, 2010, the District Court granted the plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction against the enforcement of the ordinance at issue, pending final resolution of the First Amendment claims. In response to this order, the defendants filed a notice of appeal with the Second Circuit Court of Appeals on June 21, 2010. The case was argued in the Second Circuit under the docket number 10-2505-cv. Little docket activity occurred until May 17, 2011, when the Second Circuit (Judges Barrington D. Parker, Gerard E. Lynch, and Raymond J. Lohier, Jr.) affirmed the District Court's order converting the temporary restraining order into a preliminary injunction and remanded the case back to the District Court for further proceedings.

After a few months of discovery, on September 29, 2011, the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint. The parties continued through the discovery process. On March 30, 2012, the District Court (Magistrate Judge Arlene Rosario Lindsay) granted the plaintiffs' motion for a protective order to withhold from discovery certain privileged documents: The identification documents and/or immigration status of the individual day laborers known to the plaintiffs. The parties then continued to go through more discovery litigation.

On June 18, 2013, the District Court (Judge Hurley) affirmed Magistrate Judge Lindsay's protective order, allowing plaintiffs to withhold privileged documents in the discovery process. Additionally, the District Court rejected the defendants' arguments that the plaintiffs lacked standing in this case, dismissing the defendants' motion for partial summary judgment. 954 F.Supp.2d 127.

On December 1, 2013, the plaintiffs moved for summary judgment to permanently prevent the ordinance from ever taking effect, as it was unconstitutional. In the almost two-year interim, a similar court case, Reed v. Town of Gilbert was decided by the Supreme Court on June 18, 2015, which provided a rationale to dismiss this case as unconstitutional under the First Amendment and permanently enjoin the ordinance. On September 3, 2015, the District Court (Judge Hurley) cited this case as part of its rationale and issued a judgment that enjoined the ordinance permanently and declared the ordinance unconstitutional under the First Amendment. Because the District Court found that the ordinance did not withstand scrutiny under the First Amendment, it did not address the plaintiffs' due process or Equal Protection claims in its judgment. 128 F.Supp.3d 597.

On September 15, 2015, the defendants appealed the District Court's decision to enjoin the ordinance. The appeal continued in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals under the docket number 15-2914-cv. During this appeal, the defendants also argued that the plaintiffs did not have standing to bring this case. On August 22, 2017, the Second Circuit (Judges Dennis Jacobs, Barrington D. Parker, and Jane A. Restani) affirmed the District Court's ruling enjoining the ordinance. The Second Circuit found that the District Court did not err in finding the ordinance unconstitutional under the First Amendment and that the plaintiffs indeed had standing to bring suit against the defendants.868 F.3d 104.

As of October 17, 2018, litigation was still ongoing as to the exact amount of attorney's fees and costs that the defendants owe the plaintiffs.

Perry Miska - 03/24/2014
Caitlin Hatakeyama - 10/19/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Freedom of speech/association
Content of Injunction
Discrimination Prohibition
Discrimination-basis
Immigration status
National origin discrimination
Race discrimination
General
Disparate Impact
Disparate Treatment
Over/Unlawful Detention
Racial profiling
Transportation
Immigration/Border
Constitutional rights
Criminal prosecution
Employment
Immigration lawyers
Temporary foreign workers program
Undocumented immigrants - rights and duties
Undocumented immigrants - state and local regulation
National Origin/Ethnicity
Hispanic
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Defendant(s) Town of Oyster Bay
Plaintiff Description Plaintiffs are two organizations on behalf of immigrant workers and day laborers, who, because of the Town of Oyster Bay Ordinance, are prohibited from soliciting work on streets and sidewalks allegedly because of their race and national origin.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project
LatinoJustice PRLDEF
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted Moot
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Declaratory Judgment
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Order Duration 2015 - n/a
Filing Year 2010
Case Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
2:10−cv−02262 (E.D.N.Y.)
IM-NY-0049-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/17/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
IM-NY-0049-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/18/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order to Show Cause and Temporary Restraining Order [ECF# 10] (E.D.N.Y.)
IM-NY-0049-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/20/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 19] (E.D.N.Y.)
IM-NY-0049-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/01/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Summary Order [USCA Affirming District Court's Grant of a Preliminary Injunction] [Ct. of App. ECF# 33] (420 Fed.Appx. 97)
IM-NY-0049-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 05/17/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Complaint [ECF# 40]
IM-NY-0049-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/28/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Granting Plaintiffs' Motion for a Protective Order] [ECF# 60] (E.D.N.Y.)
IM-NY-0049-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/30/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum and Order [Denying Defendants' Motion for Partial Summary Judgment] [ECF# 94] (954 F.Supp.2d 127) (E.D.N.Y.)
IM-NY-0049-0007.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 06/18/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Hurley, Denis Reagan (E.D.N.Y.)
IM-NY-0049-0002 | IM-NY-0049-0004 | IM-NY-0049-0007 | IM-NY-0049-9000
Lindsay, Arlene Rosario (E.D.N.Y.) [Magistrate]
IM-NY-0049-0006 | IM-NY-0049-9000
Lohier, Raymond Joseph Jr. (Second Circuit)
IM-NY-0049-0003
Lynch, Gerard E. (S.D.N.Y., Second Circuit)
IM-NY-0049-0003
Parker, Barrington Daniels Jr. (Second Circuit, S.D.N.Y.)
IM-NY-0049-0003
Plaintiff's Lawyers Anello, Farrin R (New York)
IM-NY-0049-0001
Eisenberg, Arthur (New York)
IM-NY-0049-0001 | IM-NY-0049-0005 | IM-NY-0049-9000
Fredrickson, Samantha (New York)
IM-NY-0049-0001
Gelernt, Lee (New York)
IM-NY-0049-0001 | IM-NY-0049-0005 | IM-NY-0049-9000
Harrist, Erin Beth (New York)
IM-NY-0049-9000
Huizar, Laura (New York)
IM-NY-0049-9000
Iturralde, Christina (New York)
IM-NY-0049-0001 | IM-NY-0049-0005 | IM-NY-0049-9000
Joynes, Elizabeth (New York)
IM-NY-0049-9000
Levine, Alan (New York)
IM-NY-0049-0001 | IM-NY-0049-0005 | IM-NY-0049-9000
Pinon, Adriana (Texas)
IM-NY-0049-0001 | IM-NY-0049-0005 | IM-NY-0049-9000
Stoughton, Corey (New York)
IM-NY-0049-0001 | IM-NY-0049-0005 | IM-NY-0049-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Hill, Timothy F. (New York)
IM-NY-0049-9000
Kendric, Christopher (New York)
IM-NY-0049-9000
Sinnreich, Jonathan Halsby (New York)
IM-NY-0049-9000

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