Case: Dora v. Sessions

1:18-cv-01938 | U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia

Filed Date: Aug. 17, 2018

Closed Date: Feb. 5, 2019

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On August 17, 2018, 29 parents who were forcibly separated from their children by the federal government filed this lawsuit in U.S. District Court of District Columbia. The plaintiffs sued the Department of Justice for violating the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. §§ 1101 et seq.), the Rehabilitation Act (29 U.S.C. § 701), the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.), and the Due Process Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The Plaintiffs, represented by Muslim Advocates as …

On August 17, 2018, 29 parents who were forcibly separated from their children by the federal government filed this lawsuit in U.S. District Court of District Columbia. The plaintiffs sued the Department of Justice for violating the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. §§ 1101 et seq.), the Rehabilitation Act (29 U.S.C. § 701), the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.), and the Due Process Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The Plaintiffs, represented by Muslim Advocates as well as the Legal Aid Justice Center and the law firm of Eversheds & Sunderland, LLP, sought an order compelling the defendants to vacate the results of credible fear interviews, which had found them eligible for removal, as well as the resulting orders of removal. The plaintiffs sought declaratory relief and new credible fear interviews.

Specifically, the plaintiffs alleged that under DOJ policy, parents were forced to undergo credible fear interviews while they were suffering from emotional and psychological trauma from being separated from their children. Credible fear interviews determine whether an asylum seeker faces a credible fear of persecution or torture when returned to their home country. Unable to articulate their experiences due to trauma, the plaintiffs received negative credible fear determinations and faced immediate deportation.

This case was assigned to Judge Paul L. Friedman.

On August 17, 2018, the plaintiffs filed a motion to proceed under pseudonyms and a redacted complaint. The defendant filed a motion to extend time to file an answer on October 22, 2018. On December 31, 2018, the defendant again filed such a motion.

Along with two related cases, MMM v. Sessions and Ms. L v. ICE, this case settled. On November 15, 2018, Judge Dana M. Sabraw (the judge assigned in Ms. L. v. ICE) issued a final approval of the settlement. According to this settlement, the government committed to conducting a good faith review of the plaintiff’s prior credible fear findings to determine if reconsideration would be appropriate. However, the government refused to return any parent who had already been deported.

On February 5, 2019, the plaintiffs filed a notice of voluntary dismissal. This case is now closed, but the court in Ms. L v. ICE retained jurisdiction to enforce the settlement agreement. For more information on that case, including disputes that have developed over the settlement's terms, see here.

Summary Authors

Bogyung Lim (2/5/2020)

Related Cases

Ms. L. v. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Southern District of California (2018)

M.M.M. v. Sessions, Southern District of California (2018)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attrorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/7702427/parties/dora-v-sessions/


Judge(s)

Friedman, Paul L. (District of Columbia)

Sabraw, Dana Makoto (California)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Aguirre, Samir A. (District of Columbia)

Amdur, Spencer E. W. (California)

Balakrishnan, Anand V. (New York)

Barmeyer, Wilson G. (District of Columbia)

Flatt, Margaret (Georgia)

Fleming, John Howard (Georgia)

Ford, Kara (New York)

Gelernt, Lee (New York)

Judge(s)

Friedman, Paul L. (District of Columbia)

Sabraw, Dana Makoto (California)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Aguirre, Samir A. (District of Columbia)

Amdur, Spencer E. W. (California)

Balakrishnan, Anand V. (New York)

Barmeyer, Wilson G. (District of Columbia)

Flatt, Margaret (Georgia)

Fleming, John Howard (Georgia)

Ford, Kara (New York)

Gelernt, Lee (New York)

Gregg, Sophia Leticia (Virginia)

Kang, Stephen B. (California)

McClarnon, Carol T. (District of Columbia)

Rabinovitz, Judy (New York)

Sandoval-Moshenberg, Simon (Virginia)

Shebaya, Sirine (District of Columbia)

Smith, Johnathan James (District of Columbia)

Vakili, Bardis (California)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Bettwy, Samuel William (California)

Braverman, Adam (California)

Fabian, Sarah B. (District of Columbia)

Hunt, Joseph H. (District of Columbia)

Murley, Nicole N. (District of Columbia)

Peachey, William Charles (District of Columbia)

Robins, Jeffrey S (District of Columbia)

Silvis, William C. (District of Columbia)

Stewart, Scott Grant (District of Columbia)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

1:18-cv-01938

Docket [PACER]

Feb. 5, 2019

Feb. 5, 2019

Docket
3

1:18-cv-01938

Complaint

Aug. 17, 2018

Aug. 17, 2018

Complaint
220-1

3:18-cv-00428

Plan to Address the Asylum Claims of Class-Member Parents and Children who are Physically Present in the United States

Ms. L. v. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California

Sept. 12, 2018

Sept. 12, 2018

Settlement Agreement
321

3:18-cv-00428

Order Certifying the Settlement Classes and Granting Final Approval of Class Action Settlement

Ms. L. v. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California

Nov. 15, 2018

Nov. 15, 2018

Order/Opinion

Resources

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/7702427/dora-v-sessions/

Last updated July 24, 2022, 3:03 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
1

MOTION to Proceed Under Pseudonyms and to File Supporting Exhibits Under Seal by ALEX, ALMA, BEATRIZ, BENJAMIN, CARLA, CARLOS, DORA, ESPERANZA, FANY, GINA, HELENA, ISIDRA, JENIFER, KARA, LINDA, MINDY, NORA, ORELIA, PATRICIA, QUELA, RITA, SYLVIA, TANIA, ULA, VICTORIA, WILMA, XIOMARA, YADIRA, ZANDRA (Attachments: # 1 Declaration of Carol T. McClarnon, # 2 Text of Proposed Order)(jf) (Entered: 08/21/2018)

1 Declaration of Carol T. McClarnon

View on PACER

2 Text of Proposed Order

View on PACER

Aug. 17, 2018

Aug. 17, 2018

PACER
2

ORDER temporarily granting 1 MOTION to Proceed Under Pseudonyms and to File Supporting Exhibits Under Seal. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 08/17/2018. (jf) (Entered: 08/21/2018)

Aug. 17, 2018

Aug. 17, 2018

RECAP
3

REDACTED COMPLAINT against L. FRANCIS CISSNA, KEVIN K. MCALEENAN, KIRSTJEN NIELSEN, JEFFERSON B. SESSIONS, III, RONALD VITIELLO ( Filing fee $ 400, receipt number 4616094175) filed by ULA, GINA, ZANDRA, QUELA, ALMA, DORA, RITA, PATRICIA, YADIRA, ALEX, BENJAMIN, TANIA, NORA, XIOMARA, JENIFER, KARA, VICTORIA, MINDY, WILMA, CARLOS, FANY, BEATRIZ, ISIDRA, LINDA, ORELIA, HELENA, CARLA, SYLVIA, ESPERANZA. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A, # 2 Exhibit B, # 3 Exhibit C, # 4 Exhibit D, # 5 Civil Cover Sheet)(jf) (Entered: 08/21/2018)

1 Exhibit A

View on RECAP

2 Exhibit B

View on RECAP

3 Exhibit C

View on RECAP

4 Exhibit D

View on RECAP

5 Civil Cover Sheet

View on PACER

Aug. 17, 2018

Aug. 17, 2018

RECAP

SUMMONS (5) Issued as to L. FRANCIS CISSNA, KEVIN K. MCALEENAN, KIRSTJEN NIELSEN, JEFFERSON B. SESSIONS, III, RONALD VITIELLO, U.S. Attorney and U.S. Attorney General (jf)

Aug. 17, 2018

Aug. 17, 2018

PACER

SUMMONS (4) Issued as to L. FRANCIS CISSNA, KEVIN K. MCALEENAN, KIRSTJEN NIELSEN, JEFFERSON B. SESSIONS, III, RONALD VITIELLO, and U.S. Attorney General (jf) .

Aug. 17, 2018

Aug. 17, 2018

PACER
4

NOTICE OF RELATED CASE by All Plaintiffs. Case related to Case No. 18-1835. (jf) (Entered: 08/21/2018)

Aug. 17, 2018

Aug. 17, 2018

RECAP
5

SEALED COMPLAINT re 3 Redacted Complaint filed by ULA, RITA, HELENA, YADIRA, ORELIA, JENIFER, KARA, ALMA, BEATRIZ, DORA, VICTORIA, SYLVIA, ZANDRA, QUELA, LINDA, CARLA, ESPERANZA, ISIDRA, ALEX, WILMA, MINDY, CARLOS, TANIA, BENJAMIN, GINA, FANY, XIOMARA, PATRICIA, NORA. (This document is SEALED and only available to authorized persons.) (Attachments: # 1 Sealed Names)(zjf) (Entered: 08/21/2018)

Aug. 17, 2018

Aug. 17, 2018

PACER

SUMMONS (1) Issued as to U.S. Attorney (jf)

Aug. 20, 2018

Aug. 20, 2018

PACER
6

NOTICE of Appearance by Jeffrey S Robins on behalf of All Defendants (Robins, Jeffrey) (Entered: 08/22/2018)

Aug. 22, 2018

Aug. 22, 2018

PACER
7

ENTERED IN ERROR. . . . .NOTICE of Appearance by Sirine Shebaya on behalf of ALL PLAINTIFFS (Shebaya, Sirine) Modified on 8/30/2018 (ztd). (Entered: 08/28/2018)

Aug. 28, 2018

Aug. 28, 2018

PACER
8

NOTICE of Appearance by Johnathan James Smith on behalf of ALL PLAINTIFFS (Smith, Johnathan) (Entered: 08/30/2018)

Aug. 30, 2018

Aug. 30, 2018

PACER

NOTICE OF ERROR re 7 Notice of Appearance; emailed to sirine@muslimadvocates.org, cc'd 7 associated attorneys -- The PDF file you docketed contained errors: 1. Incorrect header/caption/case number, 2. Please refile document, 3. Please file in the correct case. (ztd, )

Aug. 30, 2018

Aug. 30, 2018

PACER
9

NOTICE of Appearance by Sirine Shebaya on behalf of ALL PLAINTIFFS (Shebaya, Sirine) (Entered: 08/31/2018)

Aug. 31, 2018

Aug. 31, 2018

PACER
10

Joint STATUS REPORT by ALL PLAINTIFFS. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Notice Lodging Agreement for Court's Approval in Case No. 18cv1832, # 2 Certificate of Service)(Barmeyer, Wilson) (Entered: 09/24/2018)

Sept. 24, 2018

Sept. 24, 2018

PACER
11

NOTICE of Appearance by Sirine Shebaya on behalf of All Plaintiffs (Shebaya, Sirine) (Entered: 09/24/2018)

Sept. 24, 2018

Sept. 24, 2018

PACER

MINUTE ORDER. In view of the parties' joint status report 10, the parties shall file a further joint status report on or before October 26, 2018. Signed by Judge Paul L. Friedman on Septenber 26, 2018. (MA)

Sept. 26, 2018

Sept. 26, 2018

PACER

Set/Reset Deadlines: Status Report due by 10/26/2018 (tj)

Sept. 27, 2018

Sept. 27, 2018

PACER
12

Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to File Answer re 3 Complaint,, by L. FRANCIS CISSNA, KEVIN K. MCALEENAN, KIRSTJEN NIELSEN, JEFFERSON B. SESSIONS, III, RONALD VITIELLO (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Robins, Jeffrey) (Entered: 10/22/2018)

Oct. 22, 2018

Oct. 22, 2018

PACER

MINUTE ORDER granting defendants' unopposed motion 12 for extension of time to file their responsive pleading. Defendants shall file their responsive pleading on or before January 1, 2019. Signed by Judge Paul L. Friedman on October 23, 2018. (lcplf1)

Oct. 23, 2018

Oct. 23, 2018

PACER
13

Joint STATUS REPORT by DORA. (Barmeyer, Wilson) (Entered: 10/26/2018)

Oct. 26, 2018

Oct. 26, 2018

PACER
14

Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to File Answer re 3 Complaint,, 5 Sealed Document, by L. FRANCIS CISSNA, KEVIN K. MCALEENAN, KIRSTJEN NIELSEN, JEFFERSON B. SESSIONS, III, RONALD VITIELLO (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Robins, Jeffrey) (Entered: 12/31/2018)

Dec. 31, 2018

Dec. 31, 2018

PACER
15

ORDER granting defendants' unopposed motion 14 to stay the deadline for the filing of defendants' answer or responsive pleading, commensurate with the duration of the lapse in appropriations. Signed by Judge Paul L. Friedman on January 2, 2019. (lcplf1) (Entered: 01/02/2019)

Jan. 2, 2019

Jan. 2, 2019

PACER

MINUTE ORDER: In accordance with 15 the Court's Order granting Defendants' unopposed motion to stay commensurate with the duration of the lapse in appropriations, and the subsequent restoration of appropriations on 1/25/19 after 35 days, the stay on the filing deadline is lifted. Defendants' answer or responsive pleading to 31 Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint is due February 5, 2019, 35 days after the original deadline of January 1, 2019. Signed by Judge Paul L. Friedman on January 31, 2019.

Jan. 31, 2019

Jan. 31, 2019

PACER
16

NOTICE OF WITHDRAWAL OF APPEARANCE as to ALL PLAINTIFFS. Attorney Johnathan James Smith terminated. (Smith, Johnathan) (Entered: 02/01/2019)

Feb. 1, 2019

Feb. 1, 2019

PACER
17

NOTICE of Voluntary Dismissal by DORA (Barmeyer, Wilson) (Entered: 02/05/2019)

Feb. 5, 2019

Feb. 5, 2019

PACER

Case Details

State / Territory: District of Columbia

Case Type(s):

Immigration and/or the Border

Special Collection(s):

Trump Immigration Enforcement Order Challenges

Multi-LexSum (in sample)

Key Dates

Filing Date: Aug. 17, 2018

Closing Date: Feb. 5, 2019

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

29 parents who underwent credible fear interviews after being separated from their children.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

Muslim Advocates

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

U.S. Department of Justice (District of Columbia), Federal

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (District of Columbia), Federal

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (District of Columbia), Federal

Defendant Type(s):

Law-enforcement

Case Details

Causes of Action:

Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701

Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.

Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. §§ 1101 et seq.

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Due Process: Procedural Due Process

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Voluntary Dismissal

Issues

General:

Family reunification

Parents (visitation, involvement)

Reasonable Accommodations

Youth / Adult separation

Discrimination-basis:

Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)

Disability:

Integrated setting

Medical/Mental Health:

Medical care, general

Mental health care, general

Suicide prevention

Immigration/Border:

Asylum - criteria

Asylum - procedure

Constitutional rights

Deportation - criteria

Deportation - judicial review

Deportation - procedure

Family Separation

Undocumented immigrants - rights and duties