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Case Name Zepeda Rivas v. Jennings IM-CA-0162
Docket / Court 3:20-cv-02731 ( N.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Special Collection COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU of Northern California
ACLU of Southern California
Lawyers Comm. for Civil Rights Under Law
Case Summary
COVID-19 Summary: This is a class-action lawsuit brought on April 20, 2020, by seven individuals in immigration detention at the Mesa Verde Detention Facility (MVDF) and the Yuba County Jail (YCJ), seeking immediate release from unsafe conditions of the jail in light of the global coronavirus ... read more >
COVID-19 Summary: This is a class-action lawsuit brought on April 20, 2020, by seven individuals in immigration detention at the Mesa Verde Detention Facility (MVDF) and the Yuba County Jail (YCJ), seeking immediate release from unsafe conditions of the jail in light of the global coronavirus pandemic. The court granted the request for TRO on April 29, requiring ICE to provide information and access to detainees to facilitate a process of considering bail requests. On June 9, the court granted the motion for preliminary injunction and ordered the defendants to maintain the status quo while the case was pending.


On April 20, 2020, seven noncitizens detained at the Mesa Verde Detention Facility (MVDF) and the Yuba County Jail (YCJ) filed this class-action lawsuit against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), seeking immediate release from what they said were unsafe jail conditions in light of the global coronavirus pandemic. Represented by the ACLU of Northern California and Southern California, the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, and private attorneys, the plaintiffs brought this lawsuit as a habeas petition under 28 U.S.C. under § 2241, and as a declaratory action under 42 U.S.C. § 2201-02. They alleged that their detention violated the Administrative Procedure Act, and their Fifth and First Amendment rights by subjecting them to a serious risk of contracting COVID-19. The plaintiffs sought a declaratory judgment and injunctive relief for the release of detainees in order to maintain a number of detainees for social distancing and prohibition against placing plaintiff class members into solitary confinement as a means of achieving social distancing, as well as attorney fees.

The case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California and initially assigned to Magistrate Judge Sallie Kim, then reassigned to Judge Vince Chhabria.

Concurrently with filing, plaintiffs sought class certification and a temporary restraining order to release a sufficient number of putative class members in order to allow for social distancing. The proposed class consisted of all civil immigration detainees at Mesa Verde and YCJ, with two subclasses: the “YCJ Subclass” and the “Mesa Verde Subclass.”

Plaintiffs are detainees in custody of ICE, many of whom with a high risk of COVID-19 due to underlying medical conditions. However, the conditions they faced during detention had become so dire that detainees at Mesa Verde organized a hunger strike to call attention to the lack of hygiene products, proper testing, and continued foot traffic in and out of the facility. In response to the hunger strike, GEO Group, the ICE contractor that runs the facility, threatened to revoke their access to purchases from the commissary.

On April 25, the defendants moved to stay these proceedings in light of a separate case, Fraihat v. ICE (here in this Clearinghouse) in which a federal judge had just certified a nationwide class of immigration detainees challenging ICE’s overall response to the pandemic. In this case, the court denied the defendant’s motion to stay on April 29, and granted the plaintiffs’ motion for class certification and motion for a temporary restraining order, requiring ICE to provide information and access to detainees to facilitate a process of considering bail requests. 2020 WL 2059848.

On May 27, the defendants sought an order that would:
-Confirm the TRO had expired;
-End the ongoing bail process;
-Vacate all bail orders; and,
-Deny the plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction.
Two days later, the plaintiffs filed a brief opposing the expiration of the TRO.

On June 9, the district court granted the motion for preliminary injunction. 2020 WL 3055449. The court found that although significant improvements had been made since the TRO, ICE had only made the safety improvements because it was ordered to do so. Therefore, the court found a preliminary injunction necessary to lock in place the safety improvements made. The defendants were ordered to maintain the status quo while the case was pending.

A status conference was held on June 19, and the court ordered the defendant to file a status report by June 22, regarding their planned response to the discovery that a member of the medical staff at Mesa Verde tested positive for COVID-19. ICE was ordered to respond to the plaintiff's discovery requests on an expedited basis by June 26.

The defendant submitted status reports on June 22 and 25, reporting that the nurse is in self-isolation. Detainees who had exposure to the nurse tested negative.

A status conference is scheduled for July 6. The case is ongoing.

Averyn Lee - 06/27/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Due Process: Substantive Due Process
Freedom of speech/association
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
Crowding
Crowding / caseload
Defendant-type
Law-enforcement
General
Bathing and hygiene
Conditions of confinement
Sanitation / living conditions
Totality of conditions
Immigration/Border
Constitutional rights
Detention - conditions
Medical/Mental Health
COVID-19 Mitigation Granted
COVID-19 Mitigation Requested
COVID-19 Release Requested
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Special Case Type
Habeas
Type of Facility
Government-run
Non-government for profit
Causes of Action Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Ex Parte Young (Federal) or Bivens
Habeas Corpus, 28 U.S.C. §§ 2241-2253; 2254; 2255
Defendant(s) GEO Group
Immigration and Customs Enforcement
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Plaintiff Description Seven individuals detained at the Mesa Verde Detention Facility and the Yuba County Jail seeking immediate release of detainees from unsafe conditions of the jail in light of the global coronavirus pandemic. The class is all civil immigration detainees at Mesa Verde and YCJ, with two subclasses: the “YCJ Subclass” and the “Mesa Verde Subclass.”
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU of Northern California
ACLU of Southern California
Lawyers Comm. for Civil Rights Under Law
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
None yet
Source of Relief Litigation
None yet
Order Duration 2020 - n/a
Filed 04/20/2020
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)
  Zepeda Rivas v. Jennings (Immigration Detention)
https://www.aclunc.org/
Date: Apr. 24, 2020
By: ACLU of Northern California
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Planned Parenthood Center for Choice, et al. v. Abbott, et al.
www.reproductiverights.org
Date: Apr. 22, 2020
By: Center for Reproductive Rights
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
3:20-cv-02732 (N.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0162-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/17/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus and Class Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief [ECF# 1]
IM-CA-0162-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/20/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Petitioners-Plaintiffs' Notice of Motion and Motion for Temporary Restraining Order [ECF# 5 & 5-1 to 5-5]
IM-CA-0162-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/20/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Declarations in Support of Petitioners-Plaintiffs' Motion for Temporary Restraining Order [ECF# 5-6, 5-7 & 35]
IM-CA-0162-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/20/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs-Petitioners' Notice of Motion and Motion for Provisional Class Certification; Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support Thereof [ECF# 6 & 6-1 to 6-14]
IM-CA-0162-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/20/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Federal Defendants' Opposition to Motions for TRO and Provisional Class Certification, and Motion to Stay in Light of Fraihart [ECF# 37 & 37-1 to 37-20]
IM-CA-0162-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/25/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Reply in Support of Petitioners-Plaintiffs' Motion for Temporary Restraining Order [ECF# 39 & 39-1 to 39-5]
IM-CA-0162-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/27/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opposition to Motion to Stay in Light of Fraihat (ECF NO. 38) [ECF# 40]
IM-CA-0162-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/27/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Reply in Support of Petitioners-Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification [ECF# 41]
IM-CA-0162-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/27/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Federal Defendants' Reply in Support of Motion to Stay in Light of Fraihat [ECF# 50]
IM-CA-0162-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/27/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Motion for Provisional Class Certification, Granting Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order, and Denying Motion for a Stay [ECF# 53] (2020 WL 2059848) (N.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0162-0010.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 04/29/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Petitioners-Plaintiffs' Memorandum of Law Regarding Statutory Authority of Magistrate Judges [ECF# 62]
IM-CA-0162-0011.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/01/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Petitioners-Plaintiffs' Notice of Motion and Motion for Preliminary Injunction and Supporting Exhibits (1/2) [ECF# 229, 229-1 to 229-19]
IM-CA-0162-0012.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/22/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Exhibits to Petitioners-Plaintiffs' Notice of Motion and Motion for Preliminary Injunction (2/2) [ECF# 229-20 to 229-21]
IM-CA-0162-0013.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/22/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Federal Defendants' (1) Motion for Order Confirming that Temporary Restraining Order has Expired, Ending Bail Process, and Vacating Bail Orders and (2) Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 264 (incl. 264-1 to 264-3)]
IM-CA-0162-0014.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/27/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Petitioners-Plaintiffs' Reply in Support of Motion for Preliminary Injunction and Opposition to Motion to Dissolve Temporary Restraining Order [ECF# 286 (incl. 286-1 to 286-3)]
IM-CA-0162-0015.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/29/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Federal Defendants' Reply in Support of Motion for Order Confirming that Temporary Restraining Order has Expired, Ending Bail Process, and Bail Orders and Objection to Plaintiffs' Declaration [ECF# 290]
IM-CA-0162-0016.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/01/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Motion for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 357] (2020 WL 3055449) (N.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0162-0017.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 06/09/2020
Source: ACLU
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Judges Chhabria, Vince Girdhari (N.D. Cal.) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0162-0010 | IM-CA-0162-0017 | IM-CA-0162-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Beier, Genna Ellis (California) show/hide docs
IM-CA-0162-0001 | IM-CA-0162-0002 | IM-CA-0162-0003 | IM-CA-0162-0004 | IM-CA-0162-0006 | IM-CA-0162-0007 | IM-CA-0162-0008 | IM-CA-0162-0011 | IM-CA-0162-0012 | IM-CA-0162-0013 | IM-CA-0162-0015 | IM-CA-0162-9000
Bernwanger, Bree (California) show/hide docs
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Cook, Timothy W (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
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Freeman, William S (California) show/hide docs
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Friedman, Jennifer Taylor (California) show/hide docs
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Gonzalez, Matt (California) show/hide docs
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Kaufman, Michael (California) show/hide docs
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Lakin, Judah Ben (California) show/hide docs
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MacLean, Emilou (California) show/hide docs
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Padilla, Stephanie (California) show/hide docs
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Raju, Manour (California) show/hide docs
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Ressl-Moyer, Tifanei (California) show/hide docs
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Riordan, Sean Connor (California) show/hide docs
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Rodarte, Hayden (California) show/hide docs
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Salceda, Angelica (California) show/hide docs
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Schenker, Martin S. (California) show/hide docs
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Ugarte, Fransisco (California) show/hide docs
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Unger, Francisco (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
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Wells, Jordan (California) show/hide docs
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Wells, Kelly Engel (California) show/hide docs
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Wille, Amalia Margarete (California) show/hide docs
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Defendant's Lawyers Anderson, David Lloyd (California) show/hide docs
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Hon, Willis (California) show/hide docs
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