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Case Name Novoa v. GEO Group IM-CA-0142
Docket / Court 5:17-cv-02514 ( C.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Special Collection COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)
Immigrant Detention Labor Issues
Case Summary
COVID-19 Summary: This is a class action lawsuit over labor conditions in the Adelanto Detention Center. The plaintiffs filed a motion for a temporary restraining order on April 6, 2020, requesting relief from work for class members, or adequate protective clothing, antiseptic supplies, and testing, ... read more >
COVID-19 Summary: This is a class action lawsuit over labor conditions in the Adelanto Detention Center. The plaintiffs filed a motion for a temporary restraining order on April 6, 2020, requesting relief from work for class members, or adequate protective clothing, antiseptic supplies, and testing, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. No outcome yet.

On December 19, 2017, an immigrant previously detained from 2012 through 2015 at the Adelanto Detention Center, a civil immigration detention facility, filed this putative class action in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The plaintiff sued GEO Group (GEO), a private company that owned and operated the Adelanto Facility for profit, under the Trafficking Victim Protection Act and California Minimum Wage Law. The plaintiff, represented by private counsel, sought monetary, declaratory, and injunctive relief, claiming violations of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act and California state law. Specifically, the plaintiff alleged that GEO maintained a practice of wage theft, unjust enrichment, and forced labor. The plaintiff alleged that GEO used detainee labor to maximize its own profits, paying detainees just $1 per day to maintain and operate the facility. Because Adelanto Facility had a practice of withholding necessary care to ensure a supply of labor, the plaintiff alleged that the labor was involuntary because detainees were forced to work in order to buy basic necessities that GEO did not provide.

On February 16, 2018, the defendants moved to dismiss the claim, alleging that the plaintiff had failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. The plaintiffs submitted a first amended complaint on July 6, 2018 with no significant deviations from their original complaint. The defendants moved to dismiss the amended complaint on July 20, 2018. The plaintiffs submitted a second amended complaint on December 24, 2018, adding a plaintiff. On September 16, 2019, the plaintiffs filed a third amended complaint, adding plaintiffs, a claim of forced and attempted forced labor, and a claim that the defendant’s counterclaims were a form of retaliation.

In its counterclaims, the defendants claimed that if the plaintiffs prevailed then the defendants would be entitled to all costs and expenses in excess of the $1.00 daily rate paid to them associated with detention because otherwise plaintiffs would be unjustly enriched. This prompted the plaintiff to file an additional counterclaim, alleging that the defendant’s counterclaim was a form of retaliation against the plaintiffs. On November 30, 2018, the court issued an order granting a stipulation to dismiss with prejudice the defendant’s first counterclaim. In response, the defendants filed an additional counterclaim seeking declaratory relief on December 19, 2018. Both parties continued to file counterclaims against one another: the plaintiffs claimed that the defendant’s counterclaims were a form of retaliation; and the defendant sought declaratory relief that no employment relationship existed between GEO and the detainees who participated in the Voluntary Work Program.

On September 27, 2019, the plaintiffs filed a motion to certify a class of “all civil immigration detainees who performed work for GEO at the Adelanto Detention Center in the Work Program since GEO assumed responsibility for the Facility in May 2011.” On November 26, 2019, Judge Jesus G. Bernal granted plaintiffs' motion to certify this class.

On April 6, 2020, the plaintiffs filed a motion for a temporary restraining order that would direct GEO to either (1) halt the use of class members in the provision of work or services under the work program, or (2) protect class members by providing protective clothing, antiseptic supplies, and testing for COVID-19. The plaintiffs simultaneously filed a motion for expedited discovery for their requests that pertained to their motion.

Following oral argument, on April 22, the judge denied the plaintiffs' application for a temporary restraining order.

The case is ongoing.

Cedar Hobbs - 11/30/2019
Caitlin Kierum - 05/09/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Defendant-type
Corrections
General
Conditions of confinement
Disciplinary segregation
Forced labor
Language/ethnic/minority needs
Pattern or Practice
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Immigration/Border
Detention - conditions
Detention - procedures
Employer sanctions
Employment
Undocumented immigrants - rights and duties
Medical/Mental Health
COVID-19 Mitigation Requested
COVID-19 Release Requested
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Non-government for profit
Causes of Action State law
Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), 18 U.S.C. § 1589
Defendant(s) GEO Group
Plaintiff Description Immigrant detained at Adelanto Detention Center; class is all civil immigration detainees who performed work for GEO at the Adelanto Detention Center in the Work Program since GEO assumed responsibility for the facility in May 2011.
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filed 12/19/2017
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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Docket(s)
5:17-cv-02514 (C.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0142-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/22/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief and Damage [ECF# 1]
IM-CA-0142-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/19/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendant the Geo Group, INC.'s Answer to Plaintiff's Original Complaint and the Geo Group INC.'s Counterclaims (1) Unjust Enrichment/Offset (2) Declaratory Relief Demand for Jury Trial [ECF# 45]
IM-CA-0142-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/03/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiff's Answer and Affirmative Defenses to Geo's Conditional Counterclaims Plaintiff's Reply Counterclaim for Retaliation [ECF# 50]
IM-CA-0142-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/24/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendant Geo Group's First Amended Answer and Counterclaim to Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint Demand for Jury trial [ECF# 106]
IM-CA-0142-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/19/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Third Amended Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief and Damages [ECF# 184]
IM-CA-0142-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/16/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order (1) GRANTING Plaintiffs’ Motion for Class Certification (Dkt. No. 192); (2) DENYING Defendant’s Motion to Exclude (Dkt. No. 211); and (3) VACATING the December 2, 2019 Hearing (IN CHAMBERS) [ECF# 223] (C.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0142-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/26/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Ex Parte Application for a Temporary Restraining Order Requiring COVID-19 Prevention Measures for Nationwide Husp Class [ECF# 252-253]
IM-CA-0142-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/06/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Notice of Motion and Motion for Plaintiffs' Motion for Expedited Discovery in Support of Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 254]
IM-CA-0142-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/06/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendant the GEO Group, Inc.'s Opposition to Plaintiffs' Ex Parte Application for a Temporary Restraining Order Requiring COVID-19 Prevention Measures for Nationwide Husp Class [ECF# 255]
IM-CA-0142-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/08/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Declaration of David Van Pelt in Support of Defendant the GEO Group, Inc.'s Opposition to Plaintiffs' Ex Parte Application for a Temporary Restraining Order Requiring COVID-19 Prevention Measures for Nationwide Husp Class (Part 1) [ECF# 256]
IM-CA-0142-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/08/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Declaration of David Van Pelt in Support of Defendant the GEO Group, Inc.'s Opposition to Plaintiffs' Ex Parte Application for a Temporary Restraining Order Requiring COVID-19 Prevention Measures for Nationwide Husp Class (Part 2) [ECF# 256]
IM-CA-0142-0011.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/08/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Reply in Support of their Ex Parte Application for a Temporary Restraining Order Requiring COVID-19 Prevention Measures for Nationwide Husp Class [ECF# 259]
IM-CA-0142-0012.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/12/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Declarations in Support of Plaintiffs' Reply in Further Support of their Ex Parte Application for a Temporary Restraining Order Requiring COVID-19 Prevention Measures for Nationwide Husp Class [ECF# 260 & 260-1 to 260-27]
IM-CA-0142-0013.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/12/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Exhibit A to the Declaration of Eric Staiger [ECF# 261-1]
IM-CA-0142-0015.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/13/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendant the GEO Group, INC.'s Notice of Supplement Declaration with Exhibit 1 Declaration of Eric Staiger [ECF# 262 & 262-1]
IM-CA-0142-0014.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/13/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Exhibit B to the Declaration of Eric Staiger Part 1 [ECF# 262-1]
IM-CA-0142-0016.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/13/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Exhibit B to the Declaration of Eric Staiger Part 2 [ECF# 262-1]
IM-CA-0142-0017.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/13/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Exhibit B to the Declaration of Eric Staiger Part 3 [ECF# 262-1]
IM-CA-0142-0018.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/13/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Exhibit B to the Declaration of Eric Staiger Part 4 [ECF# 262-1]
IM-CA-0142-0019.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/13/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order (1) Denying Plaintiffs' Ex Parte Application for Temporary Restraining Order (Dkt. No. 252) and (2) Denying Plaintiffs' Motion for Expedited Discovery (Dkt. No. 254) (In Chambers) [ECF# 268] (C.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0142-0020.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/22/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
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Judges Bernal, Jesus Gilberto (C.D. Cal.) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0142-0006 | IM-CA-0142-0020 | IM-CA-0142-9000
Kewalramani, Shashi H. Court not on record [Magistrate] show/hide docs
IM-CA-0142-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Ahdoot, Robert R. (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0142-0007 | IM-CA-0142-0008 | IM-CA-0142-0012 | IM-CA-0142-0013 | IM-CA-0142-9000
Burns, Warren T. (Texas) show/hide docs
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Charest, Daniel H. (Texas) show/hide docs
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Free, Robert Andrew (Tennessee) show/hide docs
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Glezakos, Ruhandy (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0142-9000
Gower, Charles J (Louisiana) show/hide docs
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Maya, Theodore W (California) show/hide docs
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Nelson, Korey Arthur (Louisiana) show/hide docs
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Ramos, Nicole (California) show/hide docs
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Shakib, Vanessa Tamara (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0142-9000
Straus, Alex R (California) show/hide docs
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Thompson, William B. (Texas) show/hide docs
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Vincent, E. Lawrence (Texas) show/hide docs
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Wolfson, Tina (California) show/hide docs
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Wright, Lydia (Louisiana) show/hide docs
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Defendant's Lawyers Armstrong, Shannon L (Oregon) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0142-9000
Barnacle, Colin L (Colorado) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0142-0014 | IM-CA-0142-9000
Bobo, Ashley (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0142-0009 | IM-CA-0142-0014
Calhoun, Ashley Elizabeth (California) show/hide docs
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Deacon, Charles A (Texas) show/hide docs
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DeLaney, Damien Paul (California) show/hide docs
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Donohue, John M (Oregon) show/hide docs
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Eby, Christopher J (Colorado) show/hide docs
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Ellison, Dawn A (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Emery, Mark Thomas (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0142-9000
Freund, Robert Sean (California) show/hide docs
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Gallagher, Steven Phillip (California) show/hide docs
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Gallion, Michael L. (California) show/hide docs
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Herrington, Robert J. (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0142-0003 | IM-CA-0142-9000
Holmes, Lesley (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0142-0002 | IM-CA-0142-9000
Linhardt, Alexander L (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0142-9000
Scheffey, Adrienne (Colorado) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0142-0014 | IM-CA-0142-9000
Schipma, Scott A (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0142-9000
Short, Carolyn P. (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0142-9000
Stouck, Jerry (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Tellado, Christina Theresa (California) show/hide docs
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Van Pelt, David (California) show/hide docs
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Wang, Stacey Hsiang Chun (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0142-9000

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