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Case Name Gomes v. US Department of Homeland Security IM-NH-0001
Docket / Court 1:20-cv-00453 ( D.N.H. )
State/Territory New Hampshire
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Special Collection COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Case Summary
Three immigration detainees filed this petition for writ of habeas corpus and putative class-action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire on April 15, 2020. The putative class was all civil immigration inmates in the Strafford County Department of Corrections (SCDOC) ... read more >
Three immigration detainees filed this petition for writ of habeas corpus and putative class-action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire on April 15, 2020. The putative class was all civil immigration inmates in the Strafford County Department of Corrections (SCDOC). Represented by private counsel, the Federal Defender's Office, and the American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire, they brought suit against the Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, the Acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the superintendent of the Strafford County Department of Corrections. The petitioners/plaintiffs argued that the policies and practices at SCDOC put the class members at substantial risk of harm, thereby violating the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. These policies and practices included a failure to adequately address the spread of COVID-19 within the detention center.

The case was assigned to Chief Judge Lynda McCafferty.

On May 1, the court held a hearing regarding several issues including class certification and the establishment of bail hearings. Three days later, the court granted class certification. The court also ruled that the respondents were being too conservative when deciding which inmates had a serious medical condition. Judge McCafferty ordered that the parties use the list of illnesses on the CDC website as prima facie cases of high-risk detainees; inmates that had those illnesses would be considered high-risk by default.

Amidst the bail hearings, the court discovered that several inmates' medical records were incomplete. This is because the ICE detention centers did not exchange medical records of the inmates as they were transferred. Therefore, if an inmate was housed at one detention center, then moved to a second, the records accumulated at the inmates' first center would not be transferred to the second. If they were transferred again, the records from the second center would not be given to the third, and so on. To remedy this, the court held that if no records were available from SCDOC, the petitioner could still establish a serious medical problem by submitting credible testimony as to the illness.

On May 15, the respondents filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the petitioners lacked Article III standing, that they could not seek relief via a habeas petition, that the alleged facts did not constitute a violation of the Fifth Amendment, and that petitioners failed to put respondents on notice. However, a month and a day later, the court denied this motion for dismissal.

On May 21, the court denied an emergency request to release eight inmates. The court did establish tight constraints on the transfer of inmates between centers, however, after it was established that one inmate tested positive for COVID-19.

ICE files weekly status reports with the court, and the case is ongoing as of July 29, 2020.

Jack Hibbard - 07/29/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Defendant-type
Corrections
Law-enforcement
General
Bathing and hygiene
Conditions of confinement
Habeas Corpus
Placement in detention facilities
Sanitation / living conditions
Immigration/Border
Constitutional rights
Detention - conditions
Medical/Mental Health
COVID-19 Mitigation Granted
COVID-19 Release Requested
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Special Case Type
Habeas
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Habeas Corpus, 28 U.S.C. ยงยง 2241-2253; 2254; 2255
Defendant(s) Acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security
Superintendent of Strafford County Department of Corrections
Plaintiff Description Civil immigration detainees and their class
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filed 04/15/2020
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)
Docket(s)
1:20-cv-00453-LM (D.N.H.)
IM-NH-0001-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/15/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Order [ECF# 50] (2020 WL 2113642) (D.N.H.)
IM-NH-0001-0001.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 05/04/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 52] (D.N.H.)
IM-NH-0001-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/04/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order on Medical Evidence (2020 WL 2605762) (D.N.H.)
IM-NH-0001-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 05/20/2020
Source: Bloomberg Law
Order (2020 WL 2598180) (D.N.H.)
IM-NH-0001-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 05/21/2020
Source: Bloomberg Law
show all people docs
Judges McCafferty, Landya B. (D.N.H.) show/hide docs
IM-NH-0001-0001 | IM-NH-0001-0002 | IM-NH-0001-0003 | IM-NH-0001-0004 | IM-NH-0001-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Abramson, Ronald (New York) show/hide docs
IM-NH-0001-9000
Ayer, Timothy C. (New Hampshire) show/hide docs
IM-NH-0001-9000
Bissonnette, Gilles R (New Hampshire) show/hide docs
IM-NH-0001-9000
Calderon, Marx (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
IM-NH-0001-9000
Deane, W. Daniel (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
IM-NH-0001-9000
Gilbert, Laurel (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
IM-NH-0001-9000
Green, Cathy J. (Connecticut) show/hide docs
IM-NH-0001-9000
Kim, SangYeob (New Hampshire) show/hide docs
IM-NH-0001-9000
Klementowicz, Henry (New Hampshire) show/hide docs
IM-NH-0001-9000
Mirhashem, Behzad (New Hampshire) show/hide docs
IM-NH-0001-9000
Missett, Colin (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
IM-NH-0001-9000
Newman, John P. (New Hampshire) show/hide docs
IM-NH-0001-9000
O'Connell, W. Scott (New Hampshire) show/hide docs
IM-NH-0001-9000
Quillen, Henry Clay (New Hampshire) show/hide docs
IM-NH-0001-9000
Strauss, Michael (New Hampshire) show/hide docs
IM-NH-0001-9000
Vicinanzo, David A. (New Hampshire) show/hide docs
IM-NH-0001-9000
Warecki, Nathan P. (New Hampshire) show/hide docs
IM-NH-0001-9000
White, Emily Assunta (New Hampshire) show/hide docs
IM-NH-0001-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Cohen, Frances Susan (New Hampshire) show/hide docs
IM-NH-0001-9000
Davis, John S. (New Hampshire) show/hide docs
IM-NH-0001-9000
Dronzek, Anna (New Hampshire) show/hide docs
IM-NH-0001-9000
Konesky, Georgiana L. (New Hampshire) show/hide docs
IM-NH-0001-9000
Le, Cam T. (New Hampshire) show/hide docs
IM-NH-0001-9000
Ollila, Terry L. (New Hampshire) show/hide docs
IM-NH-0001-9000
Rabuck, Robert J. (New Hampshire) show/hide docs
IM-NH-0001-9000
Weiland, Kasey A. (New Hampshire) show/hide docs
IM-NH-0001-9000

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