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Case Name Thompson v. Tsoukaris IM-GA-0014
Docket / Court 1:20-cv-01449 ( N.D. Ga. )
State/Territory Georgia
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Special Collection COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)
Attorney Organization Asian Americans Advancing Justice / AAJC
Southern Poverty Law Center
Case Summary
COVID-19 Summary: Over a dozen non-citizens detained in immigration detention facilities, who had underlying medical conditions rendering them particularly susceptible to COVID-19 complications, filed this suit on April 3, 2020 against U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Atlanta, GA, ... read more >
COVID-19 Summary: Over a dozen non-citizens detained in immigration detention facilities, who had underlying medical conditions rendering them particularly susceptible to COVID-19 complications, filed this suit on April 3, 2020 against U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Atlanta, GA, seeking immediate release. The court granted a motion to dismiss and terminated the case on April 7, 2020.


On April 3, 2020, the Southern Poverty Law Center, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, and private counsel filed suit on behalf of thirteen individuals detained in three U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention or processing centers in Georgia. The plaintiffs named as defendants ICE, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and various officers of those departments. The plaintiffs asked the court to issue a writ of habeas corpus, or in the alternative, issue injunctive relief ordering the immediate release of the plaintiffs. In addition, the plaintiffs sought a declaration stating that the continued detention of individuals at increased risk for severe illness including COVID-19, violates the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment. Further, the plaintiffs asked for an award of attorneys' fees.

The complaint alleged that the medical conditions or underlying diseases of these detained individuals, like diabetes and hypertension, made them particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. The facilities where ICE has detained the plaintiffs lacked access to critical care necessary for treating serious cases of COVID-19.

According to the complaint, imprisoned populations, including those in ICE detention facilities, pose a higher risk for the spread of infectious disease. The plaintiffs stated that in March 2020, over 3,000 medical professionals across the United States urged ICE to release individuals and families to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among detainees as well as facility staff. The complaint also explained that social distancing measures and large-scale quarantines as recommended by the Center for Disease Control are "nearly impossible" in immigration detention due to overcrowding, poor availability of hygiene products, and lack of access to adequate medical services.

In addition to the complaint, plaintiffs filed a motion for a temporary restraining order as well as an emergency writ of habeas corpus and requested an immediate hearing given the time-sensitive nature of the case. The plaintiffs alleged that because the government knew or should have known of the substantial risk to the plaintiffs, the continued detention of these individuals demonstrated deliberate indifference, thereby violating the plaintiffs' right to Due Process under the Fifth Amendment.

On April 6, 2020 the defendants filed a motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction or in the alternative, a transfer of venue. Additionally, the defendants asked the court to sever the plaintiffs' claims by facility.

The plaintiffs, in response, filed a motion for voluntary dismissal on April 6, 2020. The motion, without conceding that this court lacked jurisdiction, gave notice of the dismissal in the interest of expediting emergency relief. The motion stated that the plaintiffs would seek relief in other federal district courts. Martinez v. Donahue was filed on April 7 in the Middle District of Georgia, and Benavides v. Donahue was filed on April 8 in the Southern District of Georgia.

The court granted the motion to dismiss and terminated the case on April 7, 2020.

Richa Bijlani - 04/08/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process: Substantive Due Process
Equal Protection
Defendant-type
Law-enforcement
General
Conditions of confinement
Habeas Corpus
Over/Unlawful Detention
Sanitation / living conditions
Totality of conditions
Immigration/Border
Constitutional rights
Detention - conditions
Undocumented immigrants - rights and duties
Medical/Mental Health
COVID-19 Release Denied
COVID-19 Release Requested
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Special Case Type
Habeas
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Ex parte Young (federal or state officials)
Habeas Corpus, 28 U.S.C. §§ 2241-2253; 2254; 2255
Defendant(s) U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Plaintiff Description Individuals with underlying medical conditions detained at ICE facilities in Georgia
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Asian Americans Advancing Justice / AAJC
Southern Poverty Law Center
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Form of Settlement Voluntary Dismissal
Filed 04/03/2020
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing IM-GA-0016 : Martinez v. Donahue (M.D. Ga.)
IM-GA-0015 : Benavides v. Gartland (S.D. Ga.)
Additional Resources
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Docket(s)
1:20-cv-01449 (N.D. Ga.)
IM-GA-0014-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/07/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 and Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
IM-GA-0014-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/03/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Emergency Writ of Habeas Corpus [ECF# 5]
IM-GA-0014-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/03/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
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Judges Grimberg, Steven Daniel (N.D. Ga.) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0014-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Brouillette, Amanda Nicole (Georgia) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0014-0001 | IM-GA-0014-0003 | IM-GA-0014-9000
Caldas, Tamara S. (Georgia) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0014-0001 | IM-GA-0014-0003 | IM-GA-0014-9000
Cassler, Rebecca (Georgia) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0014-0001 | IM-GA-0014-0003 | IM-GA-0014-9000
Chavez, Paul (Florida) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0014-0001 | IM-GA-0014-0003
Crow, Melissa E. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0014-0001 | IM-GA-0014-0003
Isted, Kathryn E (Georgia) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0014-0001 | IM-GA-0014-0003 | IM-GA-0014-9000
Li, Hillary (Georgia) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0014-0001 | IM-GA-0014-0003 | IM-GA-0014-9000
Mesa-Estrada, Victoria (Florida) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0014-0001 | IM-GA-0014-0003
Nguyen, Phi U. (Georgia) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0014-0001 | IM-GA-0014-0003 | IM-GA-0014-9000
Williams, Lorilei (Georgia) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0014-0001 | IM-GA-0014-0003
Willis, Gracie Harper (Georgia) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0014-0001 | IM-GA-0014-0003 | IM-GA-0014-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Treadwell, Trishanda L (Georgia) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0014-9000
Williams, Samuel (Georgia) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0014-9000

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