University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name R.V. v. Mnuchin PB-MD-0007
Docket / Court 8:20-cv-01148-PWG ( D. Md. )
State/Territory Maryland
Case Type(s) Public Benefits / Government Services
Special Collection COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)
Case Summary
COVID-19 Summary: This is a putative class action complaint filed by seven children and their parents against the Secretary of the Treasury and the United States, challenging the social security number (SSN) requirement of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act. The ... read more >
COVID-19 Summary: This is a putative class action complaint filed by seven children and their parents against the Secretary of the Treasury and the United States, challenging the social security number (SSN) requirement of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act. The plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief prohibiting the refusal of economic impact payments due to the parents’ undocumented status, as well as monetary damages. On May 22, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a motion to dismiss which was denied on June 19. The case is ongoing.


On May 5, seven children and their parents filed a putative class-action against the Secretary of the Treasury and the United States, challenging the social security number (SSN) requirement of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act. On March 27, President Trump announced the CARES Act aimed to provide economic impact payments to those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The CARES Act authorized the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to distribute $1200.00 to each eligible individual with a social insurance number (SSN). The plaintiffs alleged that the SSN requirement was discriminatory as SSNs were only issued to citizens and immigrants with work authorization. The plaintiffs noted that immigrants without work authorization used an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to pay their income taxes, which was not accepted. The plaintiffs further alleged that as a result, the Act discriminated against children with undocumented parents in violation of the due process clause under the Fifth Amendment. Filed in the the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, the plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief prohibiting the refusal of economic impact payments due to the parents’ undocumented status. The plaintiffs sought monetary damages awarding $500 to each citizen child plaintiff or to the parent plaintiffs. Represented by the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection, and Villanova University, the plaintiffs sought to represent all children with one or both parents with undocumented status. The plaintiffs also sought attorney fees. The case was assigned to Judge Paul W. Grimm.

The plaintiffs sought to certify a nationwide class of all U.S. citizen children under age 17 who had been or would be denied the benefits of economic impact payments for “qualified children” under the CARES Act solely because the children have a parent who is an undocumented immigrant who has no social security number. They also sought to certify a second class for damages, defined as: persons whose U.S. citizen children have not received the benefits of economic impact payments for “qualified children” under the CARES Act solely because at least one of the children’s parents is an undocumented immigrant who has no social security number.

On May 22, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the plaintiffs lacked both Article III and statutory standing because qualifying children are not entitled to the tax credit. They also argued that the plaintiffs failed to state an equal protection claim since there was no impermissible alienage classification as the CARES Act turns on whether a person has an SSN, not alienage. Finally, they argued that the Court did not have subject matter jurisdiction due to sovereign immunity.

On June 19, the defendant’s motion to dismiss was denied. 2020 WL 3402300. The court found that the plaintiffs had Article III standing and adequately alleged an equal protection claim despite not being direct recipients of the credit. The court also found jurisdiction under the Tucker Act, a jurisdictional statute that waives immunity protection and authorizes monetary claims founded upon the constitution. Since the plaintiffs’ claims for relief arose under the constitution, and the CARES Act can be interpreted as a money-mandating statute, the court found subject matter jurisdiction. The defendants were ordered to file an answer by July 10. The court is expected to schedule a summary judgment briefing. The case is ongoing.

Averyn Lee - 07/12/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Due Process: Substantive Due Process
Equal Protection
Discrimination-basis
Immigration status
General
Public benefits (includes, e.g., in-state tuition, govt. jobs)
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Defendant(s) Secretary of the Treasury
United States of America
Plaintiff Description Seven children and their parents on behalf of all U.S. citizen children under age 17 who have been or will be denied the benefits of economic impact payments for “qualified children” under the CARES Act solely because the children have a parent who is an undocumented immigrant who has no social security number
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Pending
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filed 05/05/2020
Case Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
8:20-cv-01148-PWG (D. Md.)
PB-MD-0007-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/10/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint [ECF# 1]
PB-MD-0007-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/05/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Motion to Dismiss [ECF# 32]
PB-MD-0007-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/22/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiff's Opposition to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss [ECF# 33]
PB-MD-0007-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/29/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion and Order [ECF# 34] (2020 WL 3402300) (D. Md.)
PB-MD-0007-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 06/19/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Grimm, Paul William (D. Md.) show/hide docs
PB-MD-0007-0004 | PB-MD-0007-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Backer, Jonathan L. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-MD-0007-0001 | PB-MD-0007-0003 | PB-MD-0007-9000
Book, Leslie (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
PB-MD-0007-0001 | PB-MD-0007-0003 | PB-MD-0007-9000
Friedman, Robert D. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-MD-0007-0001 | PB-MD-0007-0003 | PB-MD-0007-9000
Marshak, Amy (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-MD-0007-0001 | PB-MD-0007-0003 | PB-MD-0007-9000
McCord, Mary B. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-MD-0007-0001 | PB-MD-0007-0003 | PB-MD-0007-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Konig, Jordan Andrew (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-MD-0007-0002 | PB-MD-0007-9000
Williamson, Christopher James (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-MD-0007-0002 | PB-MD-0007-9000

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