Filed Date: April 3, 2020
Clearinghouse coding complete
COVID-19 Summary: Over a dozen non-citizens detained in immigration detention facilities, who had underlying medical conditions rendering them particularly susceptible to COVID-19 complications, filed this suit on April 3, 2020 against U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Atlanta, GA, seeking immediate release. The court granted a motion to dismiss and terminated the case on April 7, 2020.
On April 3, 2020, the Southern Poverty Law Center, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, and private counsel filed suit on behalf of thirteen individuals detained in three U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention or processing centers in Georgia. The plaintiffs named as defendants ICE, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and various officers of those departments. The plaintiffs asked the court to issue a writ of habeas corpus, or in the alternative, issue injunctive relief ordering the immediate release of the plaintiffs. In addition, the plaintiffs sought a declaration stating that the continued detention of individuals at increased risk for severe illness including COVID-19, violates the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment. Further, the plaintiffs asked for an award of attorneys' fees.
The complaint alleged that the medical conditions or underlying diseases of these detained individuals, like diabetes and hypertension, made them particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. The facilities where ICE has detained the plaintiffs lacked access to critical care necessary for treating serious cases of COVID-19.
According to the complaint, imprisoned populations, including those in ICE detention facilities, pose a higher risk for the spread of infectious disease. The plaintiffs stated that in March 2020, over 3,000 medical professionals across the United States urged ICE to release individuals and families to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among detainees as well as facility staff. The complaint also explained that social distancing measures and large-scale quarantines as recommended by the Center for Disease Control are "nearly impossible" in immigration detention due to overcrowding, poor availability of hygiene products, and lack of access to adequate medical services.
In addition to the complaint, plaintiffs filed a motion for a temporary restraining order as well as an emergency writ of habeas corpus and requested an immediate hearing given the time-sensitive nature of the case. The plaintiffs alleged that because the government knew or should have known of the substantial risk to the plaintiffs, the continued detention of these individuals demonstrated deliberate indifference, thereby violating the plaintiffs' right to Due Process under the Fifth Amendment.
On April 6, 2020 the defendants filed a motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction or in the alternative, a transfer of venue. Additionally, the defendants asked the court to sever the plaintiffs' claims by facility.
The plaintiffs, in response, filed a motion for voluntary dismissal on April 6, 2020. The motion, without conceding that this court lacked jurisdiction, gave notice of the dismissal in the interest of expediting emergency relief. The motion stated that the plaintiffs would seek relief in other federal district courts. Martinez v. Donahue was filed on April 7 in the Middle District of Georgia, and Benavides v. Donahue was filed on April 8 in the Southern District of Georgia.
The court granted the motion to dismiss and terminated the case on April 7, 2020.
Richa Bijlani (4/8/2020)
For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/17042981/parties/thompson-v-tsoukaris/
Brouillette, Amanda Nicole (Georgia)
Caldas, Tamara S. (Georgia)
Cassler, Rebecca (Georgia)
Chavez, Paul (Florida)
Crow, Melissa E. (District of Columbia)
Grimberg, Steven Daniel (Georgia)
See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/17042981/thompson-v-tsoukaris/
Last updated June 28, 2023, 3:13 a.m.
State / Territory: Georgia
Filing Date: April 3, 2020
Case Ongoing: Yes
Individuals with underlying medical conditions detained at ICE facilities in Georgia
Public Interest Lawyer: Yes
Filed Pro Se: No
Class Action Sought: No
Class Action Outcome: Not sought
Causes of Action:
Special Case Type(s):
Prevailing Party: None Yet / None
Nature of Relief:
Source of Relief:
Form of Settlement:
Type of Facility: