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Case Name Benavides v. Gartland IM-GA-0015
Docket / Court 5:20-cv-00046 ( S.D. Ga. )
Additional Docket(s) 4:20-cv-0069  [ 20-69 ]  Southern District of GA (U.S.)
State/Territory Georgia
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Special Collection COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)
Attorney Organization Southern Poverty Law Center
Case Summary
COVID-19 Summary: This is a habeas and injunctive action brought on behalf of immigration detainees in the Folkston ICE Processing Center, alleging that their underlying medical conditions made them especially vulnerable to COVID-19 and that release was the only appropriate remedy to the ... read more >
COVID-19 Summary: This is a habeas and injunctive action brought on behalf of immigration detainees in the Folkston ICE Processing Center, alleging that their underlying medical conditions made them especially vulnerable to COVID-19 and that release was the only appropriate remedy to the constitutional violations occurring via their detention. The court denied entering a TRO on April 18, and denied entering a preliminary injunction on July 8.


On April 8, 2020, three detainees in the Folkston ICE Processing center brought this action in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia. Represented by the Southern Poverty Law Center and private counsel, the plaintiffs sued Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the ICE Field Office, and the Folkston ICE Processing Center. Suing under the federal habeas statute (28 U.S.C. § 2241), the plaintiffs alleged violations of their Due Process rights under the Fifth Amendment. Specifically, they alleged that the conditions at Folkston, including the failure to provide adequate medical care, housing in close quarters, and unsanitary living spaces, put the plaintiffs at a severe risk for contracting COVID-19. They alleged that their underlying medical conditions made them particularly vulnerable to serious illness or death from the virus, and that release was the only appropriate remedy.

The original case (no. 4:20-cv-0069) was transferred in-district and received a new docket number (no. 5:20-cv-00046). The original case was assigned to Judge Christopher L. Ray, but was assigned to Judge Lisa Wood and Magistrate Judge Benjamin W. Cheesbro after the transfer.

Simultaneous with the complaint, the plaintiffs also filed a motion for temporary restraining order, stating that release of the plaintiffs was the only adequate remedy to the constitutional violations occurring. The defendants filed a motion in opposition on April 14.

On April 18, Judge Wood denied the plaintiffs' motion for preliminary relief, stating that they had not shown that complete release was appropriate relief and that they were unlikely to succeed on the merits of their claims.

The defendants filed a motion to dismiss on May 1. On May 7, the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint, which the defendants moved to dismiss on May 18. On May 8, the plaintiffs filed a motion for preliminary injunction and emergency writ of habeas corpus. The defendants filed an opposition on June 4.

On July 8, Judge Wood denied the plaintiffs' second motion for preliminary injunction and writ of habeas corpus, finding the plaintiffs were unlikely to succeed on their constitutional claims, due to factual disputes over whether the defendants were actually in violations with CDC guidance. In a separate order, Judge Wood stayed the discovery deadlines until the court's decision on the pending motion to dismiss.

The case remains ongoing.

Caitlin Kierum - 07/20/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Due Process: Substantive Due Process
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief denied
Crowding
Crowding / caseload
General
Conditions of confinement
Totality of conditions
Immigration/Border
Detention - conditions
Medical/Mental Health
COVID-19 Release Denied
COVID-19 Release Requested
Special Case Type
Habeas
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Habeas Corpus, 28 U.S.C. §§ 2241-2253; 2254; 2255
Defendant(s) Folkston ICE Processing Center
Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Plaintiff Description Detainees in the Folkston ICE Processing Center
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Southern Poverty Law Center
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Filed 04/08/2020
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing IM-GA-0014 : Thompson v. Tsoukaris (N.D. Ga.)
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Docket(s)
4:20-cv-00069-RSB-CLR (S.D. Ga.)
IM-GA-0015-9001.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/09/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
5:20−cv−00046 (S.D. Ga.)
IM-GA-0015-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/13/2020
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-0015-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/08/2020
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# 4-1 & 4-3 to 4-6]
IM-GA-0015-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/08/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 32] (2020 WL 1914916) (S.D. Ga.)
IM-GA-0015-0005.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 04/18/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 and Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 36]
IM-GA-0015-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/07/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Petitioners-Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction and Emergency Writ of Habeas Corpus [ECF# 41 & 41-1]
IM-GA-0015-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/08/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 89] (2020 WL 3839938) (S.D. Ga.)
IM-GA-0015-0006.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 07/08/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 90] (S.D. Ga.)
IM-GA-0015-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/13/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Baker, R. Stan (S.D. Ga.) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0015-9001
Cheesbro, Benjamin W. Court not on record [Magistrate] show/hide docs
IM-GA-0015-0007 | IM-GA-0015-9001
Wood, Lisa Godbey (S.D. Ga.) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0015-0005 | IM-GA-0015-0006 | IM-GA-0015-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Brouillette, Amanda Nicole (Georgia) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0015-0001 | IM-GA-0015-0002 | IM-GA-0015-0003 | IM-GA-0015-0004 | IM-GA-0015-9000
Caldas, Tamara S. (Georgia) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0015-0001 | IM-GA-0015-0002 | IM-GA-0015-0003 | IM-GA-0015-0004
Cassler, Rebecca (Georgia) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0015-0001 | IM-GA-0015-0002 | IM-GA-0015-0003 | IM-GA-0015-0004 | IM-GA-0015-9000
Chavez, Paul R (California) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0015-0001 | IM-GA-0015-0002 | IM-GA-0015-0003 | IM-GA-0015-0004 | IM-GA-0015-9000
Crow, Melissa E. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0015-0001 | IM-GA-0015-0002 | IM-GA-0015-0003 | IM-GA-0015-0004 | IM-GA-0015-9000
Isted, Kathryn E (Georgia) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0015-0001 | IM-GA-0015-0002 | IM-GA-0015-0003 | IM-GA-0015-0004 | IM-GA-0015-9000
Li, Hillary (Georgia) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0015-0001 | IM-GA-0015-0002 | IM-GA-0015-0003 | IM-GA-0015-0004 | IM-GA-0015-9000
Mesa-Estrada, Victoria (Florida) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0015-0001 | IM-GA-0015-0002 | IM-GA-0015-0003 | IM-GA-0015-0004
Nguyen, Phi U. (Georgia) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0015-0001 | IM-GA-0015-0002 | IM-GA-0015-0003 | IM-GA-0015-0004 | IM-GA-0015-9000
Reeves, Mark Howard (Georgia) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0015-0001 | IM-GA-0015-0002 | IM-GA-0015-0003 | IM-GA-0015-0004 | IM-GA-0015-9000 | IM-GA-0015-9001
Sandley, Caitlin J. (Alabama) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0015-9000
Williams, Lorilei (Georgia) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0015-0001 | IM-GA-0015-0002 | IM-GA-0015-0003 | IM-GA-0015-0004 | IM-GA-0015-9000
Willis, Gracie Harper (Georgia) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0015-0001 | IM-GA-0015-0002 | IM-GA-0015-0003 | IM-GA-0015-0004 | IM-GA-0015-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Leithart, Otto Woelke (Georgia) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0015-9000 | IM-GA-0015-9001

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