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Case Name Ndambi v. CoreCivic IM-MD-0011
Docket / Court 1:18-cv-03521 ( D. Md. )
State/Territory Maryland
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Special Collection Immigrant Detention Labor Issues
Case Summary
On November 14, 2018, immigrants detained at the Cibola County Correctional Center filed this putative class-action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland. (Although the facility in question is located in New Mexico, the operator is organized as a Maryland corporation.) ... read more >
On November 14, 2018, immigrants detained at the Cibola County Correctional Center filed this putative class-action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland. (Although the facility in question is located in New Mexico, the operator is organized as a Maryland corporation.) They sued the operator of the facility, CoreCivic, under the Fair Labor Standards Act (29 U.S.C. §§ 201-219), the New Mexico Minimum Wage Act, and the common law doctrine of unjust enrichment. The suit alleged that CoreCivic was using immigrant detainees’ labor but paying them less than the federally mandated rate of $7.25 per hour (sometimes as little as $1 per day). Represented by private counsel, they sought to recover underpaid wages and attorneys’ fees and require CoreCivic to treat all current and future Cibola detainees as employees so that they would be entitled to minimum wage. The case was assigned to Judge Richard D. Bennett.

CoreCivic filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim on January 11, 2019, arguing that the plaintiffs’ custodial detention prevented them from assuming an employee/employer relationship. As such, CoreCivic argued, the plaintiffs were not eligible for the minimum wage under the statutes, and the unjust enrichment claim should therefore fail as well.

On February 26, 2019, the plaintiffs filed a motion to conditionally certify a class consisting of "all civilly detained immigrants who performed work for CoreCivic at Cibola through its work program at any time during the period beginning November 14, 2016, and continuing to the date on which notice is issued." The plaintiffs argued that their detention and working conditions at Cibola are sufficient conditions to meet the “similarly-situated” threshold required to file a class action lawsuit.

The district court dismissed the plaintiffs’ claims with prejudice on September 27, 2019. It held that the plaintiffs were not employees of CoreCivic and therefore not entitled to minimum wage. Because CoreCivic was not in violation of any statute, the unjust enrichment claim was also dismissed. 2019 WL 4735428

The plaintiffs appealed this decision to the Fourth Circuit in October 2019; as of August 2020, that appeal is pending.

Justin Hill - 09/23/2019


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Defendant-type
Corrections
Immigration/Border
Employment
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Non-government for profit
Causes of Action Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. §§ 201-219
State law
Defendant(s) CoreCivic, Inc.
Plaintiff Description Three immigrants detained at Cibola County Correctional Center who worked for wages less than the federally-mandated minimum on behalf of a putative class consisting of "all civilly detained immigrants who performed work for CoreCivic at Cibola through its work program at any time during the period beginning November 14, 2016, and continuing to the date on which notice is issued."
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filed 11/14/2018
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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Docket(s)
1:18-cv-3521 (D. Md.)
IM-MD-0011-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/31/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
IM-MD-0011-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/14/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support of Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Complaint [ECF# 36]
IM-MD-0011-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/11/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Motion for Conditional Certification [ECF# 43]
IM-MD-0011-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/26/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Order [ECF# 49] (2019 WL 4735428) (D. Md.)
IM-MD-0011-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 09/27/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
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Judges Bennett, Richard D. (D. Md.) show/hide docs
IM-MD-0011-0004 | IM-MD-0011-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Blustein, Benjamin Jay (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-MD-0011-0001 | IM-MD-0011-0003 | IM-MD-0011-9000
Cammarano, Stacy N. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-MD-0011-0001 | IM-MD-0011-0003 | IM-MD-0011-9000
Free, Robert Andrew (Tennessee) show/hide docs
IM-MD-0011-0001 | IM-MD-0011-0003 | IM-MD-0011-9000
Hancock, D. Michael (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-MD-0011-0001 | IM-MD-0011-0003 | IM-MD-0011-9000
Libman, Robert S (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-MD-0011-0001 | IM-MD-0011-0003 | IM-MD-0011-9000
Maldonado, Nancy L. (Illinois) show/hide docs
IM-MD-0011-0001 | IM-MD-0011-0003 | IM-MD-0011-9000
Owens, Matthew J. (Illinois) show/hide docs
IM-MD-0011-0001 | IM-MD-0011-0003 | IM-MD-0011-9000
Pihos, Deanna (Illinois) show/hide docs
IM-MD-0011-0001 | IM-MD-0011-0003 | IM-MD-0011-9000
Sellers, Joseph Marc (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-MD-0011-0001 | IM-MD-0011-0003 | IM-MD-0011-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Berkowitz, Matthew D. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-MD-0011-0002 | IM-MD-0011-9000
Bernas, K. Maxwell (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-MD-0011-0002 | IM-MD-0011-9000
Lee, Jacob B. (Arizona) show/hide docs
IM-MD-0011-0002 | IM-MD-0011-9000
Love, Rachel (Arizona) show/hide docs
IM-MD-0011-0002 | IM-MD-0011-9000
Maloney, Paul J. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-MD-0011-0002
Struck, Daniel Patrick (Arizona) show/hide docs
IM-MD-0011-0002 | IM-MD-0011-9000

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