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Case Name Mercado v. Dallas County, Texas IM-TX-0043
Docket / Court 3:15-cv-03481-D ( N.D. Tex. )
Additional Docket(s) 3:15-cv-4008-D  [ 15-4008 ]
State/Territory Texas
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Case Summary
On October 26, 2015, sixteen undocumented immigrants formerly detained in Dallas County, Texas, filed this lawsuit in the U.S. 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, ... read more >
On October 26, 2015, sixteen undocumented immigrants formerly detained in Dallas County, Texas, filed this lawsuit in the U.S. 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 Amendments. Represented by private counsel, the plaintiffs sought damages and an injunction preventing the defendants from detaining the plaintiffs solely based on a request from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), 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, in order to facilitate their arrest by ICE. Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed that the defendants unlawfully detained them by prohibiting bond or by failing to release them even after they had been cleared. The case was assigned to Judge Sidney A. Fitzwater.

On December 18, 2015, the defendants moved to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim, and to dismiss the claims against Sheriff Valdez based on qualified immunity. 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-4008).

On June 7, 2016, Judge Fitzwater granted the defendants' motion to dismiss the complaint, but also granted the plaintiffs leave to replead. Judge Fitzwater held that the plaintiffs had failed to plausibly alleged that they had either paid bail or were otherwise eligible for release but were detained solely on the basis of an ICE-issued request to detain. The court also found that the plaintiffs had not plausibly alleged that Dallas County lacked probable cause to detain the plaintiffs after they were otherwise eligible for release. 2016 WL 3166306.

The plaintiffs filed an amended complaint on July 5, 2016. The complaint provided facts demonstrating that Dallas County had not allowed pretrial release even where the detainee paid bond. Instead, the defendants would either continue holding the detainee for transfer to ICE, or would petition the court to find the bail insufficient. The plaintiffs alleged that because of this policy, some detainees chose not to pay bail because they knew doing so would be futile. The complaint further alleged that continuing to hold the 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 May 8, 2017, Judge Fitzwater granted a motion allowing the state of Texas to intervene as a defendant in the case.

On June 16, 2017, Judge Fitzwater granted the plaintiffs’ request to consolidate this case with a related one, Delcid Bonilla v. Dallas County (3:17-cv-201). The plaintiffs subsequently filed a second amended complaint reflecting the consolidation and the additional plaintiffs.

Due to the complexity of the case, the plaintiffs filed a motion for a bellwether trial plan on November 15, 2017. They proposed using five exemplary plaintiffs to represent the 45 named plaintiffs in order to make discovery significantly less expensive and avoid a lengthy trial.

On March 9, 2018, the case was reassigned to Judge Karen Gren Scholer.

On March 30, 2018, Judge Scholer denied the plaintiffs' motion for a bellwether trial plain.

On April 20, 2018, the defendants moved for summary judgment.

Over the next several months, twenty-six of the plaintiffs dismissed their claims with prejudice. Eighteen other plaintiffs fell out of contact with counsel and were designated by the court as pro se.

As of October 18, 2018, there was only one plaintiff still represented by counsel and pursuing a claim. That plaintiff had reached an oral agreement to settle his claim with the defendants.

On October 26, 2018, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss the pro se plaintiffs for lack of prosecution and failure to respond to discovery.

On November 30, 2018, the parties filed a joint motion for entry of an agreed final judgment between the remaining plaintiff and the defendants. The motion stated that the parties had entered into a private settlement agreement.

On December 4, 2018, Judge Scholer ordered entry of the final judgment, whereby the state of Texas agreed to pay the remaining plaintiff $9,500 in complete and total satisfaction of all his claims.

On January 7, 2019, Judge Scholer dismissed the pro se plaintiffs' claims with prejudice.

The case is closed.

Gabriela Hybel - 05/11/2017
Alexandra Gilewicz - 03/25/2018
Sam Kulhanek - 03/20/2020


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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
Over/Unlawful Detention
Immigration/Border
Constitutional rights
Criminal prosecution
Deportation - procedure
Detention - procedures
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Dallas County
Texas
Plaintiff Description Undocumented immigrants formerly detained in Dallas County beyond the time they would otherwise have been released, in order to facilitate their arrest by ICE.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Damages
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Filed 10/26/2015
Case Closing Year 2019
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Docket(s)
3:15-cv-03481-D (N.D. Tex.)
IM-TX-0043-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/30/2019
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]
Second Amended Complaint [ECF# 80 part 1]
IM-TX-0043-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/16/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Second Amended Complaint: Index of Exhibits to Second Amended Complaint to; Exhibit B [ECF# 80 part 2]
IM-TX-0043-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/16/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Second Amended Complaint: Exhibit C; Exhibit I [ECF# 80 part 3]
IM-TX-0043-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/16/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Second Amended Complaint: Exhibit J; Exhibit T [ECF# 80 part 4]
IM-TX-0043-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/16/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Second Amended Complaint: Exhibit U; Exhibit CC [ECF# 80 part 5]
IM-TX-0043-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/16/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Second Amended Complaint: Exhibit DD; Exhibit GG [ECF# 80 part 6]
IM-TX-0043-0011.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/16/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Second Amended Complaint: Exhibit HH; Exhibit KK [ECF# 80 part 7]
IM-TX-0043-0012.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/16/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Agreed Final Judgment Between Plaintiff Ricardo Garza and Defendants [ECF# 287] (N.D. Tex.)
IM-TX-0043-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/04/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Fitzwater, Sidney Allen (N.D. Tex.) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0043-0002 | IM-TX-0043-0004 | IM-TX-0043-9000
Scholer, Karen Gren (N.D. Tex.) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0043-0005 | IM-TX-0043-9000
Toliver, Renee Harris Court not on record [Magistrate] show/hide docs
IM-TX-0043-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Garza, Anthony Matthew (Texas) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0043-0001 | IM-TX-0043-0003 | IM-TX-0043-0005 | IM-TX-0043-0006 | IM-TX-0043-9000
Hindieh, Raymond Mark (Texas) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0043-0001 | IM-TX-0043-0005 | IM-TX-0043-0006 | IM-TX-0043-9000
Lopez−Aranda, Jose (Texas) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0043-9000
Puente, Eric (Texas) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0043-0001 | IM-TX-0043-0003 | IM-TX-0043-0005 | IM-TX-0043-0006 | IM-TX-0043-9000
Zweber, Michael Charles (Texas) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0043-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Ardolf, Tammy Jean (Texas) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0043-9000
Corbello, Courtney Brooke (Texas) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0043-0005 | IM-TX-0043-9000
Hacker, David J. (Texas) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0043-0005 | IM-TX-0043-9000
Harlan, Peter L (Texas) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0043-9000
Leonie, Andrew D. (Texas) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0043-9000 | IM-TX-0043-9000
Mateer, Jeffrey C (Texas) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0043-0005
McCarty, Darren L. (Texas) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0043-0005
Molinare, Shanna Elizabeth (Texas) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0043-0005 | IM-TX-0043-9000
Nimocks, Austin R. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0043-9000
Paxton, Ken (Texas) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0043-0005
Rhea, Heather Kriscenski (Texas) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0043-0005 | IM-TX-0043-9000
Starr, Brantley David (Texas) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0043-0005
Stonedale, Joel (Texas) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0043-9000 | IM-TX-0043-9000
Toth, Michael C. (Texas) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0043-9000 | IM-TX-0043-9000
Other Lawyers Disher, Todd Lawrence (Texas) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0043-9000
Nimocks, Austin (Texas) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0043-9000

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