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Case Name Grassroots Leadership v. Texas Department of Family and Protective Services IM-TX-0041
Docket / Court D-1-GN-15-004336 ( State Court )
Additional Docket(s) 1:15-cv-00945-SS  [ 15-945 ]
State/Territory Texas
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Case Summary
On September 26, 2015, Grassroots Leadership (an Austin-based nonprofit that opposes private prison companies), 22 detainees (11 mothers and 11 children), and a licensed childcare service provider, filed this suit in state court, in the 353rd Judicial District Court of Travis County, to prevent the ... read more >
On September 26, 2015, Grassroots Leadership (an Austin-based nonprofit that opposes private prison companies), 22 detainees (11 mothers and 11 children), and a licensed childcare service provider, filed this suit in state court, in the 353rd Judicial District Court of Travis County, to prevent the state of Texas from licensing two family immigration detention centers, in which U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was detaining mothers and their children.

The case was brought about based on a much earlier precedent. In 1997, a settlement was reached in a federal civil rights suit, Flores v. Reno, 84-cv-04544 (C.D. Cal) (IM-CA-0002 in this clearinghouse), providing that minors detained by the U.S. as their immigration cases proceeded could only be housed in non-secure and licensed settings. In July and August 2015, U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee agreed with the Flores plaintiffs that the settlement applied to minors who were apprehended along with their parents, as well as to unaccompanied minors. Accordingly, Judge Gee held, the settlement barred long-term family detention in detention centers not licensed for children's occupancy by the state in which they were located. Of three such family detention centers nationwide, two were in Texas: Dilley and Karnes.

In September 2015, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), adopted an emergency regulation, allegedly authorized by Texas statute (Tit. 40, Pt. 19, Ch. 748, Subch. A, R. 748.7). The regulation allowed the state to issue childcare licenses to the detention centers. The plaintiffs in this case went to state court, claiming that DFPS lacked statutory authority to license the detention centers, which were run for ICE by for-profit prison companies, Corrections Corporations of America (CCA) and the GEO Group.

On October 22, 2016, DFPS sought to remove the case to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas. It was assigned docket number 15-cv-00945 (W.D. Tex). However, U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks held there was no federal jurisdiction, because action arose under state rather than federal law. The case was accordingly remanded to the Texas state court.

Back in state court, the plaintiffs argued that the regulation was procedurally improper because no emergency existed. On November 20, 2015, Texas trial court Judge Karin Crump agreed, and temporarily enjoined the regulation.

DFPS then reissued the regulation using the ordinary, non-emergency procedure, opening it up for public comment. It went into effect on March 1, 2016. Three days later, DFPS licensed the smaller of the two ICE detention centers, in Karnes.

The plaintiffs in this case continued to object to the regulation, however, arguing primarily that it was beyond DFPS's statutory authority. They sought a temporary restraining order against licensure of the second, larger, Dilley detention center. On May 4, 2016, Judge Crump granted the requested temporary restraining order. The Court stated that the plaintiffs had shown "a probable right to a declaratory judgment" that the regulation impermissibly exceeded the agency's statutory authority, and held that the temporary restraining order was necessary to preserve the status quo while litigation proceeded, to avoid irreparable harm to the plaintiffs.

A hearing was set for May 13, 2016; after hearing evidence, Judge Crump extended the temporary restraining order and set another hearing for June 1. At that hearing, she heard more evidence, and extended the order further. The final hearing was set for September 2016.

On June 3, 2016, Judge Crump issued a temporary injunction ordering the defendants to refrain from issuing a license to Dilley.

On December 2, 2016, Judge Crump issued a final judgment. She held that DFPS's emergency rule violated Texas statutory standards for licensing residential childcare facilities. However, she also declined to grant the plaintiffs' request for attorneys' fees. Judge Crump then issued an amended final judgment on December 16.

The defendants filed a notice of appeal on December 21, 2016. That day, the Texas Court of Appeals transferred the case from the Court's 3rd District (Austin) to its 8th District (El Paso); the docket number is 08-16-00334-CV.

In May 2017, the Texas State Senate passed a bill that would have overridden Judge Crump's decision, allowing DFPS to license the Dilley and Karnes detention centers as childcare facilities. Private prison companies had lobbied for the bill. However, this bill did not pass in the Texas State House.

Back in the Texas Court of Appeals, DFPS and both prison companies filed three separate initial briefs on June 6, 2017. Grassroots Leadership, the detained mothers and children, and another individual filed their single response on October 19, 2017. DFPS and the prison companies filed replies on November 28, 2017; the plaintiffs replied on January 30, 2018.

This case is ongoing in state appellate court.

Soojin Cha - 08/04/2016
Ava Morgenstern - 02/20/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Classification / placement
Conditions of confinement
Extradition
Juveniles
Placement in detention facilities
Placement in shelters
Sanitation / living conditions
Youth / Adult separation
Immigration/Border
Detention - conditions
Family
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Non-government for profit
Causes of Action State law
Defendant(s) Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS)
Plaintiff Description Grassroots Leadership, a non-profit organization advocating against for-profit incarceration, on behalf of immigrants who were detained in family detention camps.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Declaratory Judgment
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Order Duration 2016 - n/a
Filing Year 2015
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing IM-CA-0002 : Flores v. Reno [later Meese, Johnson, Kelly, Sessions] (C.D. Cal.)
Additional Resources
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  Lawsuit [Grassroots Leadership v. Texas Department of Family and Protective Services]
www.grassrootsleadership.org
Date: Dec. 6, 2016
By: Grassroots Leadership
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
1:15−cv−00945−SS (W.D. Tex.)
IM-TX-0041-9001.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/09/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D-1-GN-15-004336 (State Trial Court)
IM-TX-0041-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/17/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
08-16-00334-cv (State Court of Appeals)
IM-TX-0041-9002.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/28/2017
Source: State Court Website
General Documents
Petition [ECF# 6-1]
IM-TX-0041-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/26/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Rule 11 Agreement [ECF# 6-1]
IM-TX-0041-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/26/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Denying Removal] [ECF# 12] (W.D. Tex.)
IM-TX-0041-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/03/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Temporary Restraining Order (Nov 20, 2015)
IM-TX-0041-0002.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 11/20/2015
Source: Plaintiffs' counsel
Proposed Temporary Restraining Order
IM-TX-0041-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/01/2016
Source: State Court Website
Second Amended Petition Seeking a Temporary Restraining Order and Declaratory Relief [ECF# 5160]
IM-TX-0041-0012.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/03/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Application for Temporary Restraining Order with Injunction and Brief in Support [ECF# 5554]
IM-TX-0041-0011.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/03/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Temporary Restraining Order
IM-TX-0041-0001.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 05/04/2016
Source: Plaintiffs' counsel
Corrections Corporation of America's Plea in Intervention [ECF# 5265]
IM-TX-0041-0014.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/12/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
The GEO Group's Original Plea in Intervention [ECF# 5415]
IM-TX-0041-0013.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/12/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Responses to Defendants' Objections to Injunctive Relief
IM-TX-0041-0003.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 05/27/2016
Source: Plaintiffs' counsel
Temporary Injunction [ECF# 5156]
IM-TX-0041-0015.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/03/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Final Judgment
IM-TX-0041-0016.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 12/02/2016
Source: Plaintiffs' counsel
Appellants' Brief
IM-TX-0041-0017.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 06/06/2017
Source: State Court Website
Brief for Appellant the GEO Group, Inc.
IM-TX-0041-0018.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 06/06/2017
Source: State Court Website
Brief of Appellant Corecivic
IM-TX-0041-0019.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 06/06/2017
Source: State Court Website
Brief of Appellees
IM-TX-0041-0020.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 10/19/2017
Source: State Court Website
Reply Brief of Appellant The GEO Group, INC.
IM-TX-0041-0021.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 11/28/2017
Source: State Court Website
Appellants’ Reply Brief
IM-TX-0041-0022.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 11/28/2017
Source: State Court Website
Reply Brief of Appellant Corecivic
IM-TX-0041-0023.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 11/28/2017
Source: State Court Website
Appellees' Sur-Reply
IM-TX-0041-0024.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/30/2018
Source: State Court Website
Judges Crump, Karin Court not on record
IM-TX-0041-0001 | IM-TX-0041-0002 | IM-TX-0041-0015 | IM-TX-0041-0016 | IM-TX-0041-9002
Sparks, Sam (W.D. Tex.)
IM-TX-0041-0007 | IM-TX-0041-9001
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bunker-Henderson, Nichole Beth (Texas)
IM-TX-0041-9002
Disher, Todd Lawrence (Texas)
IM-TX-0041-9002
Doggett, Robert (Texas)
IM-TX-0041-0003 | IM-TX-0041-0004 | IM-TX-0041-0005 | IM-TX-0041-0011 | IM-TX-0041-0012 | IM-TX-0041-0020 | IM-TX-0041-0024 | IM-TX-0041-9000 | IM-TX-0041-9001 | IM-TX-0041-9002
Edelman, Andrew (Texas)
IM-TX-0041-0019 | IM-TX-0041-0023 | IM-TX-0041-9002
Emery, Mark Thomas (District of Columbia)
IM-TX-0041-0018 | IM-TX-0041-0021 | IM-TX-0041-9002
Keller, Scott A. (Texas)
IM-TX-0041-0017 | IM-TX-0041-0022
Mateer, Jeffrey C. (Texas)
IM-TX-0041-0017 | IM-TX-0041-0022
Monson, Kristofer S. (Texas)
IM-TX-0041-0017 | IM-TX-0041-0022
Paxton, Ken (Texas)
IM-TX-0041-0017 | IM-TX-0041-0022
Wesevich, Jerome W. (Texas)
IM-TX-0041-0003 | IM-TX-0041-0004 | IM-TX-0041-0011 | IM-TX-0041-0012 | IM-TX-0041-0020 | IM-TX-0041-0024 | IM-TX-0041-9001 | IM-TX-0041-9002
Wilkin, Bruce (Texas)
IM-TX-0041-0019 | IM-TX-0041-0023 | IM-TX-0041-9002
York, Bertina B. (Texas)
IM-TX-0041-0018 | IM-TX-0041-0021 | IM-TX-0041-9002
Defendant's Lawyers Bacarisse, Nicholas B. (Texas)
IM-TX-0041-0020 | IM-TX-0041-0024
Brown, Jay W. (Texas)
IM-TX-0041-0014 | IM-TX-0041-0019 | IM-TX-0041-0023 | IM-TX-0041-9000 | IM-TX-0041-9002
Deacon, Charles A (Texas)
IM-TX-0041-0013 | IM-TX-0041-0018 | IM-TX-0041-0021 | IM-TX-0041-9000 | IM-TX-0041-9002
Holsinger, Kara (Texas)
IM-TX-0041-9001
Tulinski, Pat (Texas)
IM-TX-0041-0005 | IM-TX-0041-9000 | IM-TX-0041-9001
Warr, Amy (Texas)
IM-TX-0041-0020 | IM-TX-0041-0024

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