Plaintiffs filed this class-action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for New Jersey to challenge the constitutionality of the Town of Riverside Ordinance 2006-16 ("Illegal Immigration Relief Act"), which forbid housing and employment of undocumented immigrants. Plaintiffs alleged that the Ordinance was an improper attempt by local government to enforce federal immigration laws in violation of the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution and that it caused national origin discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Fair Housing Act and 42 U.S.C. § 1981. Plaintiffs sought injunctive and declaratory relief, as well as class certification.
This case was one of two lawsuits challenging the Ordinance. The other case, Riverside Coalition of Business Persons and Landlords v. Township of Riverside, cause # L-2965-06. [IM-NJ-1], was filed in New Jersey state court and challenged the Ordinance as violating the New Jersey Constitution.
Riverside initially agreed to suspend enforcement of the Ordinance or any amendments while the legality of the Ordinance was litigated. Riverside's agreement resulted in a Consent Order being entered in the state court case on October 25, 2006. Despite that agreement, the Riverside Township Council introduced a revised version of the Ordinance at its council meeting on the evening of October 25, 2006. On November 22, 2006, the Township approved and enacted Revised Ordinance 2006-26 which was patterned on a similar ordinance enacted in Hazleton, Pennsylvania. (The Hazleton Ordinance was the subject of federal court litigation - see Lozano v. City of Hazleton, IM-PA-1).
On January 5, 2007, Plaintiffs filed an amended complaint to reflect that the Ordinance had been amended by Revised Ordinance 2006-26. Plaintiffs also voluntarily dismissed the Riverside mayor as a party defendant. The District Court entered a scheduling order which set deadlines for discovery and dispositive motions.
Citing escalating legal costs and an adverse ruling in the Lozano v. City of Hazleton case, the Township introduced a measure in August 2007 to repeal the Revised Ordinance 2006-26. On September 17, 2007, the Township Council repealed Revised Ordinance 2006-26 by a 3 to 1 vote.
On September 21, 2007, plaintiffs filed a motion for summary judgment and motion for attorneys' fees. Defendants opposed plaintiffs' request for attorneys' fees, citing the fact that the Township voluntarily repealed the Revised Ordinance.
The court dismissed the pending motions and closed the case on November 30, 2007. Elizabeth Daligga - 07/16/2012