Case: Villas at Parkside Partners v. City of Farmers Branch

3:08-cv-01551 | U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas

Filed Date: Sept. 3, 2008

Closed Date: May 27, 2014

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On September 3, 2008, several lessors and lessees of residential accommodations in Farmers Branch, Texas, filed a lawsuit against the city in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division, under the Supremacy Clause; 42 U.S.C. § 1981; 42 U.S.C. § 1983; the Fair Housing Act (FHA), 42 U.S.C. § 3601, et. seq.; and the Texas Equal Rights Amendment. The plaintiffs, represented by private and public interest counsel, asked the court for monetary, declaratory and injuncti…

On September 3, 2008, several lessors and lessees of residential accommodations in Farmers Branch, Texas, filed a lawsuit against the city in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division, under the Supremacy Clause; 42 U.S.C. § 1981; 42 U.S.C. § 1983; the Fair Housing Act (FHA), 42 U.S.C. § 3601, et. seq.; and the Texas Equal Rights Amendment. The plaintiffs, represented by private and public interest counsel, asked the court for monetary, declaratory and injunctive relief, claiming that the city's recently adopted Ordinance 2952 violated both the federal and state constitutions and the FHA. Specifically, the plaintiffs alleged that the ordinance's requirement that anyone wishing to rent a home or apartment prove U.S. citizenship or lawful residence and its requirement that landlords evict all tenants that cannot produce such proof were preempted by federal immigration law, in violation of the due process clause of the federal constitution, and in violation of equal protection measures in the federal and state constitutions and the FHA.

The Northern District had already permanently enjoined a substantially similar law, Ordinance 2903, on May 28, 2008. (See IM-TX-0003, and the two cases consolidated with it, IM-TX-0001 and IM-TX-0002, for more information; see also IM-TX-0004, a case on the ordinance brought in Texas state court.) Ordinance 2952 was passed in response to this injunction, and differed from its predecessor in two main ways: (1) it did not incorporate the HUD (Housing and Urban Development) classification system for non-citizen eligibility for housing, and (2) it reserved all determinations of immigration status to the federal government instead of deputizing landlords or local officials.

On September 12, 2008, the Court (Judge Jane J. Boyle) entered a temporary restraining order against Ordinance 2952, and on September 22 it granted the plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction.

After a series of disputes over discovery and admissible evidence in 2009, on March 24, 2010, the Court (Judge Boyle) granted the plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment and denied that of the defendant. Villas at Parkside Partners v. City of Farmers Branch, 701 F. Supp. 2d 835 (N.D. Tex. 2010). It held that the ordinance was preempted by the Supremacy Clause, in that it was an attempt to regulate in the exclusively federal sphere of immigration, and that it was further preempted by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. §§ 1101, et seq., which was meant to be the only means of adjudicating the status of non-citizens and the uniform enforcement of which the ordinance undermined. On March 24, the Court issued an order permanently enjoining the ordinance from being enforced.

The defendants appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and after hearing arguments (October 4, 2011), a three-judge panel (Judge Thomas M. Reavley, Judge Jennifer W. Elrod and Judge James E. Graves Jr.) affirmed the lower court's decision on March 21, 2012. Villas at Parkside Partner v. City of Farmers Branch, 675 F.3d 802 (5th Cir. 2012). In an opinion by Judge Reavley, the panel held that the ordinance was not, as the city maintained, a residential housing regulation, but an impermissible attempt to regulate immigration that impeded the federal government's ability to uniformly enforce its immigration laws and threatened to interfere with its handling of foreign affairs. Judge Elrod, dissenting in part, would have held that the ordinance merely attached consequences to a federal determination of immigration status and did not attempt to regulate immigration per se, but that it was nonetheless preempted in part because the ordinance granted jurisdiction to state courts to review the immigration status of individuals, thus interfering with federal enforcement.

After the appellate ruling, Farmers Branch petitioned for a rehearing of the case en banc, which a majority of the Fifth Circuit appellate court judges approved on July 31, 2012. Then on July 22, 2013, in a 9-5 judgment, the 14-judge en banc panel struck down the ordinance. The 5-judge plurality opinion (Judge Stephen A. Higginson) held the criminal provisions of the ordinance to be conflict-preempted for presenting an obstacle to the purposes of federal anti-harboring law and federal authority to arrest and detain for possible unlawful presence, while the judicial review section of the ordinance was held to be explicitly preempted because federal law reserves the power to classify non-citizens to the federal government. The plurality proceeded to invalidate the entire law because they found the impermissible portions to be unseverable. The Reavely and Dennis opinions held the entirety of the ordinance conflict-preempted on broader grounds. In her partial concurrence/partial dissent, Judge Owen found only subsection (E)(4) and a sentence of (E)(5) from the judicial review section to be preempted, holding the rest of the ordinance not to be in conflict with federal law.

The 5-judge dissent (Judges Edith H. Jones and Jennifer Walker Elrod) found an even narrower portion of the ordinance's judicial review provisions to have been preempted, maintaining that the rest of the ordinance was not in conflict with federal law. The dissent further found that the plurality's severability analysis was flawed, explaining that the ordinance could stand on its own, even divested of criminal penalties, because of the presence of the civil penalties.

Farmers Branch then appealed to the Supreme Court, which denied cert on Mar. 7, 2014. The parties then settled on an attorneys' fees in meditation.

This case is now closed.

Summary Authors

Christopher Schad (6/4/2012)

Kenneth Gray (7/30/2013)

Ava Morgenstern (9/19/2017)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/5027814/parties/villas-at-parkside-partners-v-the-city-of-farmers-branch-texas/


Judge(s)

Boyle, Jane J. (Texas)

Clement, Edith Brown (Louisiana)

Davis, W. Eugene (Louisiana)

Dennis, James L. (Louisiana)

Elrod, Jennifer Walker (Texas)

Garza, Emilio M. (Texas)

Graves, James Earl Jr. (Mississippi)

Haynes, Catharina (Texas)

Higginson, Stephen Andrew (Louisiana)

Jolly, E. Grady (Mississippi)

Judge(s)

Boyle, Jane J. (Texas)

Clement, Edith Brown (Louisiana)

Davis, W. Eugene (Louisiana)

Dennis, James L. (Louisiana)

Elrod, Jennifer Walker (Texas)

Garza, Emilio M. (Texas)

Graves, James Earl Jr. (Mississippi)

Haynes, Catharina (Texas)

Higginson, Stephen Andrew (Louisiana)

Jolly, E. Grady (Mississippi)

Jones, Edith Hollan (Texas)

Owen, Priscilla Richman (Texas)

Prado, Edward Charles (Texas)

Reavley, Thomas Morrow (Texas)

Southwick, Leslie (Mississippi)

Stewart, Carl E. (Louisiana)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Anello, Farrin R (New York)

Biles, C. Dunham (Texas)

Brewer, William A. III (Texas)

Renard, James S. (Texas)

Smith, Michael L. (Texas)

Solano, Henry L. (Colorado)

Ternan, Jack GB (Texas)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Dowdy, William Trey C. III (Texas)

Hethmon, Michael M. (District of Columbia)

Jung, P. Michael (Texas)

Kobach, Kris W. (Missouri)

Masso, Jadd F (Texas)

Shanes, Scott (Texas)

Other Attorney(s)

Bernal, Diego Manuel (Texas)

Broiles, David (Texas)

Graybill, Lisa Shawn (Texas)

Guttentag, Lucas (California)

Jadwat, Omar C. (New York)

Newell, Jennifer Chang (California)

Perales, Nina (Texas)

Perez, Marisol Linda (Texas)

Valerian, Dominic (California)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket [PACER]

April 27, 2015 Docket

Ordinance No. 2952

Villas at Parkside Partners v. Farmers Branch

No Court

Jan. 22, 2008 Statute/Ordinance/Regulation
1

Plaintiffs' Complaint and Jury Demand

Sept. 3, 2008 Complaint
22

Order (consolidating with Case No. 08-1551)

Reyes v. City of Farmers Branch

Sept. 16, 2008 Order/Opinion

Press Release

Villas at Parkside Partners v. City of Farmers Branch

No Court

March 24, 2010 Press Release
177

Memorandum Opinion and Order

701 F.Supp.2d 835

March 24, 2010 Order/Opinion

Opinion (5th Cir.)

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

675 F.3d 802

March 21, 2012 Order/Opinion

Order (granting En Banc rehearing)

Villas at Parkside Partners v. Farmers Branch

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

688 F.3d 801

July 31, 2012 Order/Opinion

En Banc Opinion

Villas at Parkside Partners v. Farmers Branch

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

726 F.3d 524

July 22, 2013 Order/Opinion

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/5027814/villas-at-parkside-partners-v-the-city-of-farmers-branch-texas/

Last updated May 11, 2022, 8 p.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link
177

ORDER granting in part and denying in part 92 Motion for Summary Judgment; granting in part and denying in part 93 Motion for Summary Judgment; granting in part and denying in part 96 Motion for Summary Judgment. See Order for details. (Ordered by Judge Jane J Boyle on 3/24/2010) (Judge Jane J Boyle)

March 24, 2010 RECAP
197

ORDER granting in part and denying in part 182 Motion for Attorney Fees and DIRECTING the parties to mediation. (Ordered by Judge Jane J Boyle on 7/9/2010) (Judge Jane J Boyle)

July 9, 2010 RECAP
198

ORDER granting in part and denying in part 184 Motion for Attorney Fees and DIRECTING the parties to mediation. (Ordered by Judge Jane J Boyle on 7/9/2010) (Judge Jane J Boyle)

July 9, 2010 RECAP

State / Territory: Texas

Case Type(s):

Immigration and/or the Border

Key Dates

Filing Date: Sept. 3, 2008

Closing Date: May 27, 2014

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Owners of and residents at several apartment complexes in Farmers Branch, Texas

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

ACLU Affiliates (any)

ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project

ACLU National (all projects)

MALDEF

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

City of Farmers Branch, TX (Dallas), City

Defendant Type(s):

Jurisdiction-wide

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

42 U.S.C. § 1981

Fair Housing Act/Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq.

State law

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Federalism (including 10th Amendment)

Freedom of speech/association

Supremacy Clause

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Attorneys fees

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Content of Injunction:

Preliminary relief granted

Issues

General:

Disparate Treatment

Housing

Discrimination-area:

Housing Sales/Rental

Discrimination-basis:

Immigration status

Immigration/Border:

Constitutional rights

Undocumented immigrants - rights and duties

Undocumented immigrants - state and local regulation