University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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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 Immigrant Detention Labor Issues
Case Summary
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 ... read more >
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 their first amended complaint on July 6, 2018 with no significant deviations from their original complaint. The defendants moved to dismiss the amended claim on July 20, 2018. The plaintiffs submitted their second complaint on December 24, 2018, adding a plaintiff. On September 16, 2019, 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.

On July 3, 2018, the defendants filed a counterclaim against the plaintiffs, alleging 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 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.”

As of October 11, 2019, the parties were engaged in discovery. The case is ongoing.

Cedar Hobbs - 10/12/2019


compress summary

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Discrimination-basis
Immigration status
General
Forced labor
Language/ethnic/minority needs
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Immigration/Border
Detention - conditions
Detention - procedures
Employment
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; putative 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 Pending
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filing Year 2017
Case Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
5:17-cv-02514 (C.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0142-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/09/2019
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]
show all people docs
Judges Bernal, Jesus Gilberto (C.D. Cal.) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0142-9000
Kewalramani, Sahshi 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-0142-9000
Burns, Warren T. (Texas) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0142-0001 | IM-CA-0142-9000
Charest, Daniel H. (Texas) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0142-9000
Free, R. Andrew (Tennessee) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0142-0001 | IM-CA-0142-9000
Glezakos, Ruhandy (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0142-9000
Gower, Charles J (Louisiana) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0142-9000
Maya, Theodore W (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0142-9000
Nelson, Korey Arthur (Louisiana) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0142-0004 | IM-CA-0142-9000
Shakib, Vanessa Tamara (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0142-9000
Straus, Alex R (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0142-9000
Thompson, William B. (Texas) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0142-0001 | IM-CA-0142-9000
Wolfson, Tina (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0142-9000
Wright, Lydia (Louisiana) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0142-0005 | IM-CA-0142-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Armstrong, Shannon L (Oregon) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0142-9000
Barnacle, Colin L (Colorado) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0142-9000
Calhoun, Ashley Elizabeth (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0142-9000
Deacon, Charles A (Texas) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0142-9000
DeLaney, Damien Paul (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0142-9000
Donohue, John M (Oregon) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0142-9000
Eby, Christopher J (Colorado) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0142-9000
Ellison, Dawn A (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0142-9000
Emery, Mark Thomas (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0142-9000
Freund, Robert Sean (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0142-9000
Gallagher, Steven Phillip (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0142-9000
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
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
IM-CA-0142-9000
Tellado, Christina Theresa (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0142-9000
Wang, Stacey Hsiang Chun (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0142-9000

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