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Case Name Mercado v. Dallas County, Texas IM-TX-0043
Docket / Court 3:15-cv-03481-D ( N.D. Tex. )
State/Territory Texas
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Case Summary
On October 26, 2015, undocumented aliens held in detention by Dallas County filed this lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas. The plaintiffs sued Dallas County and the Dallas County Sheriff under 42 U.S.C. §1983 for violations of the Fourth, Fifth, and ... read more >
On October 26, 2015, undocumented aliens held in detention by Dallas County filed this lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas. The plaintiffs sued Dallas County and the Dallas County Sheriff under 42 U.S.C. §1983 for violations of the Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendment. Represented by private counsel, the plaintiffs asked the court to enjoin the defendants from detaining plaintiffs solely based on a request from ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement), an immigration hold, or an immigration detainer. The plaintiffs claimed that the defendants had violated their constitutional rights by holding them in Dallas County jails for an additional 48 hours after the time they would otherwise have been released. Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed that the defendants detained them by prohibiting bond or by failing to release them even after they have been cleared.

The case was assigned to Judge Sidney A. Fitzwater. On December 18, 2015 the defendants moved to dismiss the case for failure to state a claim. On January 8, 2016, the case was consolidated with another action brought by the same counsel against Dallas County on behalf of a group of plaintiffs asserting identical claims (3:15-cv-04008-D).

On June 7, 2016 Judge Fitzwater granted the defendants' motion to dismiss the complaint but granted the plaintiffs leave to replead. Judge Fitzwater held that the plaintiffs had failed to demonstrate that any plaintiffs had actually posted bail or that the Dallas County lacked probable cause to believe that defendants had committed criminal offenses. 2016 WL 3166306.

The plaintiffs filed an amended complaint on July 5, 2016. The complaint provided facts demonstrating that the Dallas County had not allowed pretrail release even where the court had set bail. Instead the defendants would either continue holding the detainee for transfer to ICE, or would petition the court to find the bail insufficient. Plaintiff had either attempted to pay bail and not been released or chose not to pay bail because they knew doing so would be futile. The complaint further alleged that continuing to hold plaintiffs after they would have otherwise been cleared for release without probable cause as to a different criminal offense constituted overdetention. The amended complaint did not list Sheriff Lupe Valdez as a defendant.

Dallas County then moved to dismiss the amended complaint. On January 17, 2017, Judge Fitzwater denied in part and granted in part the defendant's motion. He held that the plaintiffs had standing and could bring suit for violations of the Fourth Amendment. He dismissed the plaintiffs' due process claims under the Fourteenth Amendment because the claims were already 'covered by' the Fourth Amendment. 2017 WL 169102.

On March 8, 2017, Judge Fitzwater granted a motion allowing Texas to intervene as a defendant in the case.

The parties are continuing to engage in discovery.

Gabriela Hybel - 05/11/2017


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Unreasonable search and seizure
Defendant-type
Law-enforcement
General
Bail/Bond
Confinement/isolation
False arrest
Over/Unlawful Detention
Placement in detention facilities
Immigration/Border
Constitutional rights
Criminal prosecution
Deportation - procedure
Detention - procedures
Status/Classification
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Dallas County
Texas
Plaintiff Description Individuals detained in County Jail at request of ICE
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Case Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
3:15-cv-03481-D (N.D. Tex.)
IM-TX-0043-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/08/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
IM-TX-0043-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/26/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion [ECF# 30] (2016 WL 3166306) (N.D. Tex.)
IM-TX-0043-0002.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 06/07/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint [ECF# 31]
IM-TX-0043-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/05/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion [ECF# 53] (2017 WL 169102) (N.D. Tex.)
IM-TX-0043-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 01/17/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Fitzwater, Sidney Allen (N.D. Tex.)
IM-TX-0043-0002 | IM-TX-0043-0004 | IM-TX-0043-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Garza, Anthony Matthew (Texas)
IM-TX-0043-0001 | IM-TX-0043-0003 | IM-TX-0043-9000
Hindieh, Raymond Mark (Texas)
IM-TX-0043-0001 | IM-TX-0043-9000
Puente, Eric (Texas)
IM-TX-0043-0001 | IM-TX-0043-0003 | IM-TX-0043-9000
Zweber, Michael Charles (Texas)
IM-TX-0043-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Hacker, David J. (Texas)
IM-TX-0043-9000
Harlan, Peter L (Texas)
IM-TX-0043-9000
Leonie, Andrew D. (Texas)
IM-TX-0043-9000
Nimocks, Austin R. (District of Columbia)
IM-TX-0043-9000
Stonedale, Joel (Texas)
IM-TX-0043-9000
Toth, Michael C. (Texas)
IM-TX-0043-9000

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