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Case Name C.M. v. United States IM-AZ-0027
Docket / Court 2:19-cv-05217-SRB ( D. Ariz. )
State/Territory Arizona
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Attorney Organization American Immigration Council's Legal Action Center
Case Summary
On September 19, 2019, five asylum-seeking parents, on their own behalf and on behalf of their minor children, filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona. The plaintiffs sued the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act. The plaintiffs, represented by private ... read more >
On September 19, 2019, five asylum-seeking parents, on their own behalf and on behalf of their minor children, filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona. The plaintiffs sued the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, the National Immigrant Justice Center, and the American Immigration Council, sought monetary relief and attorneys fees. The plaintiffs alleged that the United States government caused intentional infliction of emotional distress through its child-separation policy. The government separated the asylum-seeking parents from their children, delayed providing parents and children information of each other’s whereabouts and well-being, failed to facilitate adequate communication between the parents and their children while separated, and failed to implement a system to ensure families could be reunited. The government did this deliberately, plaintiffs alleged, to deter other parents with children from seeking asylum in the United States. The case was assigned to Judge Susan Bolton.

On December 23, 2019, the United States moved to dismiss the suit for lack of jurisdiction, citing sovereign immunity not waived by the FTCA. The district court denied the United States's motion on March 30, 2020, holding (1) the family separation alleged in the suit was a persuasive analogy to private conduct such that plaintiffs had established subject-matter jurisdiction under the FTCA and (2) neither the due care nor the discretionary function exception to the FTCA applied because the United States was not enforcing federal law when it separated plaintiffs and their children. 2020 WL 1698191. The United States moved for leave to appeal the district court's order on May 29, 2020, which was denied by the Judge Bolton on July 6, 2020 because the United States failed to present exceptional circumstances such that interlocutory review would be appropriate. 2020 WL 5232560.

The United States filed its answer to the complaint on May 13, 2020 and the parties commenced discovery in July 2020. Discovery continued throughout the end of 2020 into early 2021. On April 19, 2021, the parties filed a joint motion to stay proceedings while they explored a possible settlement. The court stayed proceedings until June 2, 2021, at which time the parties will notify the court if additional abeyance is needed to facilitate settlement. This case is ongoing.

Ashton Dubey - 11/01/2019
Casey D'Alesandro - 04/15/2021


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Family reunification
Placement in detention facilities
Youth / Adult separation
Immigration/Border
Asylum - procedure
Detention - procedures
Family
Causes of Action Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. § 2674
Defendant(s) United States
Plaintiff Description Five asylum-seeking immigrants, on their own behalf and each on behalf of one minor child.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations American Immigration Council's Legal Action Center
Class action status sought No
Class action status outcome Not sought
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filed 09/19/2019
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Court Docket(s)
D. Ariz.
04/09/2021
2:19-cv-5217
IM-AZ-0027-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
D. Ariz.
09/19/2019
Complaint [ECF# 1]
IM-AZ-0027-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Ariz.
03/30/2020
Order [ECF# 31] (2020 WL 1698191)
IM-AZ-0027-0002.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: Westlaw
D. Ariz.
07/06/2020
Order [ECF# 50] (2020 WL 5232560)
IM-AZ-0027-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: Westlaw
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Judges Bolton, Susan Ritchie (D. Ariz.) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0027-0002 | IM-AZ-0027-0003 | IM-AZ-0027-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Cone−Roddy, Emily Jane (Arizona) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0027-9000
Feinberg, Jonathan H. (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0027-0001 | IM-AZ-0027-9000
Fidler, Harry K. (New York) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0027-9000
Fleming, Mark (Illinois) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0027-0001 | IM-AZ-0027-9000
Goettel, Katherine Melloy (Illinois) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0027-9000
Hunt, Travis Charles (Arizona) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0027-9000
Jacobson, Daniel F. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0027-9000
Jones, Robert Stanton (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0027-0001 | IM-AZ-0027-9000
Jones, Tanya Eleni (New York) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0027-9000
Kalivas, Tanya E. (New York) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0027-9000
Kenney, Mary (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0027-0001 | IM-AZ-0027-9000
McMillan, Lucy Sarah (New York) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0027-0001 | IM-AZ-0027-9000
Osmond, Mark Andrew (New York) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0027-9000
Realmuto, Trina (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0027-0001 | IM-AZ-0027-9000
Reeder, Emily Anne (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0027-9000
Reiter, Diana E (New York) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0027-9000
Rosenbaum, David B. (Arizona) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0027-0001 | IM-AZ-0027-9000
Schaeffer, Kaitlyn (New York) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0027-9000
Valenzuela, Claudia (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0027-9000
Walsh, Eric Christopher (New York) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0027-9000
Winger, Emma Curtis (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0027-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Atkinson, Theodore W (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0027-9000
MacWilliams, Philip D. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0027-9000
Majumdar, Irina M. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0027-9000
Other Lawyers Macias, Javier (Texas) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0027-9000

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