University of Michigan Law School
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Case Name Rodriguez Alvarado v. United States IM-NJ-0010
Docket / Court 2:16-cv-05028 ( D.N.J. )
State/Territory New Jersey
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Attorney Organization Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization (Yale)
Case Summary
This is a civil rights lawsuit to redress the wrongful detention, unlawful conditions of confinement, and other inhumane treatment that allegedly suffered by an individual plaintiff and her minor child.

The plaintiffs have faced multiple threats and abuse from the police in their own ... read more >
This is a civil rights lawsuit to redress the wrongful detention, unlawful conditions of confinement, and other inhumane treatment that allegedly suffered by an individual plaintiff and her minor child.

The plaintiffs have faced multiple threats and abuse from the police in their own country Honduras due to their political activeness and outspoken manner. As the conditions became worse, they decided to flee to U.S. The first attempt in November 2014 failed--Mexican authorities arrested them and returned them to Honduras. On a second attempt, they successfully reached the U.S.-Mexico border on January 16, 2015.

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents soon apprehended the family and placed them to a holding facility, known as a “icebox,” because of its cold temperatures. The conditions in the holding facilities were alleged as "inhumane"--the plaintiff and her 8-year-old who has asthma were asked to sleep on the wet and cold floor in a crowded place. The only food they were provided were cold sandwiches. Moreover, their sleep were constantly interrupted by the agent with flashlights.

In addition, during their stay, despite the fact that the plaintiff kept informing the CBP agent that she feared returning to Honduras, the agents kept pressuring her with threat to sign papers accepting removal to Honduras. Furthermore, ICE also attempted to separate A.S.R from his mother.

On February 10, 2015, an Asylum Officer interviewed the plaintiff and her son. The asylum officer determined that the plaintiff had demonstrated a reasonable fear of torture if returned to Honduras and that A.S.R. had passed his credible fear interview.

Although there was no firm evidence that an eight-year-old boy posed
any danger to the community or was a risk of flight, the agent concluded that no amount of bond or conditions of supervised release could ensure his future appearance for removal proceedings. The plaintiff alleged this practice violated the Flores consent decree, which requires ICE to expeditiously place minors in licensed facilities and prioritizes the prompt release of minors held in immigration detention.

On or about May 14, 2015, the plaintiff won her withholding of removal case before Immigration Judge Lourdes Rodriguez De Jongh, who found that the plaintiff more likely than not would be persecuted if returned to Honduras. The plaintiffs then filed Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) administrative claims with DHS for all the tortious actions that alleged committed by ICE, CBP, and CCA officials acting under the supervision of DHS. DHS denied the Plaintiffs’ claims on February 26, 2016. After administratively exhausting their claims under the FTCA, plaintiffs filed a civil right lawsuit against the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act, for the tortious acts of its employees. The lawsuit was represented by the public interest lawyers and filed in the District Court of New Jersey. Plaintiffs claimed defendants committed Abuse of Process, False Imprisonment, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Negligent Supervision and Negligence under FTCA. They asked for the compensatory damages.

On November 18, 2016, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss the case or have the case transferred to the proper venue of either the Southern or Western District of Texas.

On May 25, 2017, the court denied the defendants' motion to dismiss or transfer, finding the venue was proper. 2017 WL 2303758. On June 6, 2017 the defendants filed a motion with plaintiffs' permission to file their answer on June 30, 2017. The court granted the defendants' motion.

Initial Pre-Trial Conference was held on August 14, 2017. Subsequent hearing conferences have occurred repeatedly.

The case is still ongoing.

Sihang Zhang - 12/28/2016
Taylor Brook - 03/21/2018

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Affected Gender
Immigration status
Assault/abuse by staff
False arrest
Admission - procedure
Detention - conditions
Detention - criteria
Detention - procedures
National Origin/Ethnicity
Plaintiff Type
Non-DOJ federal government plaintiff
Type of Facility
Causes of Action Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. § 2674
Defendant(s) United States of America
United States of America
United States of America
United States of America
Plaintiff Description Plaintiff is a forty-year-old Honduran woman and mother of a nine-year-old, who had been subject to abuse by the police in her own country and tried to flee from Honduran to U.S. with her partner and her son.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization (Yale)
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted Moot
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Unknown
Source of Relief None yet
Order Duration 2016 - n/a
Filing Year 2016
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  See this case at (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
2:16-cv-05028-MCA-MAH (D.N.J.)
IM-NJ-0010-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/21/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
IM-NJ-0010-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/17/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion [ECF# 34] (2017 WL 2303758) (D.N.J.)
IM-NJ-0010-0002.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 05/25/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
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Judges Arleo, Madeline Cox (D.N.J.) show/hide docs
IM-NJ-0010-0002 | IM-NJ-0010-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Ahmad, Muneer I. (Connecticut) show/hide docs
Lasdon, Douglas (New York) show/hide docs
Loyo, Ruben (Connecticut) show/hide docs
IM-NJ-0010-0001 | IM-NJ-0010-9000
Lustberg, Lawrence S. (New Jersey) show/hide docs
IM-NJ-0010-0001 | IM-NJ-0010-9000
Mukherjee, Elora (New York) show/hide docs
IM-NJ-0010-0001 | IM-NJ-0010-9000
Wishnie, Michael J. (Connecticut) show/hide docs
Defendant's Lawyers Dharia, Kruti D. (New Jersey) show/hide docs
Meyler, Daniel W (New York) show/hide docs

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