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Case Name Doe v. Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center Commission IM-VA-0006
Docket / Court 5:17-cv-00097 ( W.D. Va. )
State/Territory Virginia
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Attorney Organization Washington Lawyers' Committee
Case Summary
On Oct. 4, 2017, a minor in immigration detention filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia. Represented by the Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs as well as private counsel, plaintiff sued the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center ... read more >
On Oct. 4, 2017, a minor in immigration detention filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia. Represented by the Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs as well as private counsel, plaintiff sued the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center Commission, the owner and operator of his detention facility. Plaintiff brought the suit under the federal civil rights statute 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff also sought class action certification for all similarly situated minors who were or would be detained at the same facility.

Plaintiff alleged that he was a 17-year-old Mexican unaccompanied minor, detained at the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center (SVJC) in Staunton, VA, for the sole reason that he had entered the U.S. without authorization. Plaintiff had suffered from domestic abuse and other violence in Mexico, and had fled to the U.S. to seek asylum. However, his prolonged detention at various U.S. facilities had exacerbated his trauma.

Plaintiff alleged that he and other juvenile immigrant detainees at the SVJC were "subjected to unconstitutional conditions that shock the conscience, including violence by staff, abusive and excessive use of seclusion and restraints, and the denial of necessary mental health care." Additionally, plaintiff alleged that SVJC staff treated the Latino immigrant detainees (who were held for civil immigration offenses) more harshly than the mostly white, non-immigrant detainees (who were held for criminal offenses).

Defendant had violated the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, plaintiff asserted, by using excessive force against and displaying deliberate indifference to civil detainees, as well as discriminating against immigrant detainees based on their race and national origin.

Plaintiff sought declaratory and injunctive relief requiring defendants to cease the challenged conditions at SVJC, and to provide class members with the standard of care and conditions of confinement mandated by the Constitution.

Judge Elizabeth K. Dillon was assigned to this case on Oct. 4, 2017. The Court held status conferences on Dec. 4, 2017 and on Jan. 9, 2018.

Plaintiff filed an amended complaint on Jan. 31. The amended complaint stated that in December, plaintiff had been transferred to another Virginia facility but remained in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) and could be transferred back to SVJC at any time. The amended complaint also added two more plaintiffs currently detained at SVJC.

Plaintiffs moved for a preliminary injunction on Feb. 28, asking the Court to enjoin defendants from imposing improper, excessive, and inherently injurious discipline and punishment upon plaintiffs, in terms of physical force and denial of adequate mental health treatment.

On June 27, 2018, the court granted class certification for the following class: "Latino unaccompanied alien children (UACs) who are currently detained or will be detained in the future at Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center who either: (i) have been, are, or will be subject to the disciplinary policies and practices used by SVJC staff; or (ii) have needed, currently need, or will in the future need care and treatment for mental health problems while detained at SVJC."

The plaintiffs filed an amended complaint on July 11, 2018. The next month, the plaintiffs withdrew their motion for preliminary injunction.

This case is ongoing.

Ava Morgenstern - 05/05/2018
Virginia Weeks - 08/26/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Defendant-type
Corrections
Discrimination-basis
Immigration status
National origin discrimination
Race discrimination
General
Assault/abuse by staff
Bathing and hygiene
Conditions of confinement
Confinement/isolation
Counseling
Disciplinary procedures
Disciplinary segregation
Disparate Treatment
Excessive force
Food service / nutrition / hydration
Juveniles
Personal injury
Recreation / Exercise
Restraints : physical
Sanitation / living conditions
Solitary confinement/Supermax (conditions or process)
Suicide prevention
Immigration/Border
Constitutional rights
Detention - conditions
Undocumented immigrants - rights and duties
Medical/Mental Health
Mental health care, general
Self-injurious behaviors
Suicide prevention
National Origin/Ethnicity
Hispanic
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Defendant(s) Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center Commission
Plaintiff Description Class of juvenile minors held at a detention facility for unaccompanied immigrant minors
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Washington Lawyers' Committee
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filing Year 2017
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  Wiley Rein and Washington Lawyers' Committee File Fifth Amendment Complaint on Behalf of Immigrants Detained in Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center
www.washlaw.org
Date: Oct. 4, 2017
By: Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Wiley Rein and Washington Lawyers’ Committee File Fifth Amendment Complaint on Behalf of Immigrants Detained in Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center
www.wileyrein.com
Date: Oct. 4, 2017
By: Wiley Rein LLP
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
5:17−cv−00097−EKD (W.D. Va.)
IM-VA-0006-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/11/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint [ECF# 1]
IM-VA-0006-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/04/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Class Action Complaint [ECF# 17]
IM-VA-0006-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/31/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum of Law in Support of Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 34]
IM-VA-0006-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/28/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Reply Memorandum of Law in Support of Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 50]
IM-VA-0006-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/04/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Certifying Class [ECF# 63] (W.D. Va.)
IM-VA-0006-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/27/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Second Amended Class Action Complaint [ECF# 68]
IM-VA-0006-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/11/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Dillon, Elizabeth Kay (W.D. Va.)
IM-VA-0006-0005 | IM-VA-0006-9000
Hoppe, Joel C. Court not on record [Magistrate]
IM-VA-0006-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Dinan, Christine Tschiderer (District of Columbia)
IM-VA-0006-0001 | IM-VA-0006-0002 | IM-VA-0006-0003 | IM-VA-0006-0004 | IM-VA-0006-9000
Howard, Theodore Augustus (District of Columbia)
IM-VA-0006-0002 | IM-VA-0006-0003 | IM-VA-0006-0004 | IM-VA-0006-0006 | IM-VA-0006-9000
Lieberman, Hannah E. M. (District of Columbia)
IM-VA-0006-0002 | IM-VA-0006-0003 | IM-VA-0006-0004 | IM-VA-0006-0006 | IM-VA-0006-9000
Tobias, Bradley C. (District of Columbia)
IM-VA-0006-0002 | IM-VA-0006-0003 | IM-VA-0006-0004 | IM-VA-0006-0006 | IM-VA-0006-9000
Yang, Tiffany S. (District of Columbia)
IM-VA-0006-0006 | IM-VA-0006-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Botkins, Jason (Virginia)
IM-VA-0006-9000
Michelsen, Melisa G. (Virginia)
IM-VA-0006-9000

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