Case: Alianza Americas v. DeSantis

1:22-cv-11550 | U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts

Filed Date: Sept. 20, 2022

Case Ongoing

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

This is a case about the relocation of about fifty immigrants from Texas to Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, by chartered planes. The plaintiffs alleged that the defendants—Florida officials and unidentified individuals—induced the immigrants to board two planes with promises of employment, housing, and educational opportunities at their destination, but that once the planes landed in Martha's Vineyard, the immigrants were left without any assistance and the defendants were unreachable.  On Se…

This is a case about the relocation of about fifty immigrants from Texas to Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, by chartered planes. The plaintiffs alleged that the defendants—Florida officials and unidentified individuals—induced the immigrants to board two planes with promises of employment, housing, and educational opportunities at their destination, but that once the planes landed in Martha's Vineyard, the immigrants were left without any assistance and the defendants were unreachable. 

On September 20, 2022, three Venezuelan individuals, seeking to represent a class of "all immigrants who [had] been, or [would] in the future be, induced by Defendants to travel across state lines by fraud and misrepresentation," and Alianza Americas, a nonprofit that seeks to support immigrant communities, filed this putative class action lawsuit in the United States district court for the District of Massachusetts. The plaintiffs sued the state of Florida, the Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, and unidentified accomplices under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, 42 U.S.C. § 2000(d) and 42 U.S.C. § 1985(3), alleging numerous constitutional and federal statutory violations, as well as violations of state law. Represented by Lawyers for Civil Rights, the plaintiffs sought certification of their class, declaratory and injunctive relief, and compensatory, emotional distress, and punitive damages. Plaintiffs specifically asked the court to declare the defendants’ conduct unconstitutional and enjoin the defendants from inducing immigrants to travel across state lines by fraud and misrepresentation. The case was assigned to Judge Allison D. Burroughs and Magistrate Judge Jennifer C. Boal. One day after filing, Judge Burroughs granted the plaintiffs' motion ot proceed pseudonymously.

The private plaintiffs fled Venezuela for Texas and immediately surrendered themselves to federal immigration officials. The plaintiffs were allegedly approached by unidentified individuals outside of migrant shelters in Texas and promised shelter and employment by the defendants if they boarded a flight that they were told was destined for Boston or Washington D.C. The complaint alleges that when the chartered planes dropped the immigrants off on Martha's Vineyard, it quickly became apparent that no one knew they were coming, but the defendants disappeared and could not be reached through the communication details they had provided. One day after the flight landed in Martha's Vineyard, Governor DeSantis announced that he had funded the endeavor through appropriations by the Florida Legislature to the Florida Department of Transportation. The funds were designated to be used for the state's program targeting the relocation of immigrants to sanctuary states, which Florida is not. 

In their complaint, the plaintiffs alleged that by fraudulently inducing the immigrants to board a plane to Martha's Vineyard—which they were unable to exit once it was in flight—the immigrants were unreasonably seized in violation of the Fourth Amendment and that the defendants' scheme constituted a conspiracy to deprive them of their civil rights in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1985(3). The plaintiffs also alleged that their Fourteenth Amendment due process rights were violated when (1) the defendants fraudulently induced the immigrants to cross state lines with empty promises for the purpose of a political stunt and (2) the defendants transported them thousands of miles away from the location of their federal immigration proceedings without first holding a hearing. The plaintiffs also alleged that the defendants  violated the Equal Protection clause of the Fourteenth by discriminating against them on the basis of race and national origin, noting that the defendants had not targeted for relocation any individuals that were white or born in the United States. 

The plaintiffs also alleged that the defendants' actions violated the Supremacy Clause because the Constitution grants the federal government sole and exclusive power to regulate immigration. They therefore alleged that by transporting immigrants who were under the management of federal immigration authorities, the defendants were in direct conflict with federal immigration policy.  

The plaintiffs also asserted a claim under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA), which created the Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund in order to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic effects. They argued that the funds used to transport them originated from ARPA and therefore needed to adhere to the Act's use restrictions. The plaintiffs argued that the conduct of the defendants did not fall within the approved uses of the funds. 

Lastly, the plaintiffs also alleged a number of claims arising under state law: fraud, deceit, false imprisonment, and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress. The plaintiffs alleged that they had relied on the defendants’ promises of housing, work, and basic human services to their detriment and that the defendants concealed their true motive of using the immigrants to make a political point about immigration policy. The plaintiffs also alleged that they suffered emotional trauma after being transported to a different state in an unfamiliar country during a time when they were in need of the services that defendants had falsely offered.  

On October 5, 2022, a private U.S. citizen moved to intervene on behalf of himself and all other citizens of the United States to vindicate "basic human rights" and "defend [U.S.] borders and sovereignty," arguing that intervention was warranted because "taxpayer[s] must pay the costs associated with illegal immigration[.]" Judge Burroughs denied the motion to intervene in a brief order issued November 21, 2022, finding that intervention would not "be helpful, constructive, or protect an otherwise unrepresented interest."

This case was ongoing as of November 27, 2022. 

Summary Authors

Rhea Sharma (11/6/2022)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document
1

1:22-cv-11550

Class Action Complaint and Jury Demanded

Sept. 20, 2022

Sept. 20, 2022

Complaint
1

1:22-cv-11550

Class Action Complaint and Jury Demand

Sept. 20, 2022

Sept. 20, 2022

Complaint

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/65362095/alianza-americas-v-desantis/

Last updated Dec. 25, 2022, 3:03 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
1

COMPLAINT against All Defendants Filing fee: $ 402, receipt number AMADC-9506839 (Fee Status: Filing Fee paid), filed by Alianza Americas, Jesus Doe, Pablo Doe, Yanet Doe. (Attachments: # 1 Civil Cover Sheet Civil Cover Sheet, # 2 Civil Cover Sheet Category Form)(Love, Jacob) (Entered: 09/20/2022)

1 Civil Cover Sheet Civil Cover Sheet

View on PACER

2 Civil Cover Sheet Category Form

View on PACER

Sept. 20, 2022

Sept. 20, 2022

Clearinghouse
2

NOTICE of Appearance by Jacob M. Love on behalf of Alianza Americas, Jesus Doe, Pablo Doe, Yanet Doe (Love, Jacob) (Entered: 09/20/2022)

Sept. 20, 2022

Sept. 20, 2022

RECAP
3

ELECTRONIC NOTICE of Case Assignment. Judge Allison D. Burroughs assigned to case. If the trial Judge issues an Order of Reference of any matter in this case to a Magistrate Judge, the matter will be transmitted to Magistrate Judge Jennifer C. Boal. (Danieli, Chris) (Entered: 09/20/2022)

Sept. 20, 2022

Sept. 20, 2022

PACER
4

Summons Issued as to All Defendants. Counsel receiving this notice electronically should download this summons, complete one for each defendant and serve it in accordance with Fed.R.Civ.P. 4 and LR 4.1. Summons will be mailed to plaintiff(s) not receiving notice electronically for completion of service. (Currie, Haley) (Entered: 09/20/2022)

Sept. 20, 2022

Sept. 20, 2022

PACER
5

MOTION to Proceed Pseudonymously by Jesus Doe, Pablo Doe, Yanet Doe. (Attachments: # 1 Attorney Declaration)(Love, Jacob) (Entered: 09/20/2022)

1 Attorney Declaration

View on PACER

Sept. 20, 2022

Sept. 20, 2022

RECAP
6

NOTICE of Appearance by Ivan E. Espinoza-Madrigal on behalf of Alianza Americas, Jesus Doe, Pablo Doe, Yanet Doe (Espinoza-Madrigal, Ivan) (Entered: 09/20/2022)

Sept. 20, 2022

Sept. 20, 2022

RECAP

Notice of Case Assignment

Sept. 20, 2022

Sept. 20, 2022

PACER
7

Judge Allison D. Burroughs: ELECTRONIC ORDER entered. Plaintiffs’ motion to proceed pseudonymously, [ECF No. 5 ], is GRANTED. There is a “strong presumption against the use of pseudonyms in civil litigation.” Doe v. Mass. Inst. of Tech., No. 22-cv-1056, 2022 WL 3646028, at *4 (1st Cir. 2022) (citation omitted). Courts, however, have “discretion to allow a party to proceed pseudonymously in circumstances where that party ‘has a substantial privacy right which outweighs the customary and constitutionally-embedded presumption of openness in judicial proceedings.’” Doe v. W. New England Univ., No. 19-cv-30124, 2019 WL 10890195, at *1 (D. Mass. Dec. 16, 2019) (citation omitted). In adjudicating a motion to proceed under pseudonym, the First Circuit has recently instructed that the “inquiry should focus upon the extent to which the facts align with one or more of the following paradigms: whether the case is one in which the movant reasonably fears that coming out of the shadows will cause him unusually severe physical or mental harm; whether the case is one in which compelled disclosure of the movant's name will likely lead to disclosure of a nonparty's identity, causing the latter substantial harm; whether the case is one in which compelled disclosure would likely deter, to an unacceptable degree, similarly situated individuals from litigating; or whether the federal suit is bound up with a prior proceeding subject by law to confidentiality protections and forcing disclosure of the party’s identity would significantly impinge upon the interests served by keeping the prior proceeding confidential.” Mass. Inst. of Tech., 2022 WL 3646028, at *8.Having considered Plaintiffs’ motion, the Court finds that Plaintiffs have rebutted the presumption in favor of disclosure. Once counsel for Defendants have entered appearances, they may elect to file a motion for reconsideration. (McManus, Caetlin) (Entered: 09/21/2022)

Sept. 21, 2022

Sept. 21, 2022

PACER
8

NOTICE of Appearance by Mirian Albert on behalf of Alianza Americas, Jesus Doe, Pablo Doe, Yanet Doe (Albert, Mirian) (Entered: 09/21/2022)

Sept. 21, 2022

Sept. 21, 2022

PACER

Order on Motion for Miscellaneous Relief

Sept. 21, 2022

Sept. 21, 2022

PACER
9

Letter/request (non-motion) from Non- Party Derrick lee Cardello-Smith. (McManus, Caetlin) (Entered: 09/30/2022)

Sept. 30, 2022

Sept. 30, 2022

RECAP
10

NOTICE of Appearance by Oren M. Sellstrom on behalf of Alianza Americas, Jesus Doe, Pablo Doe, Yanet Doe (Sellstrom, Oren) (Entered: 10/04/2022)

Oct. 4, 2022

Oct. 4, 2022

PACER
11

MOTION to Intervene by Emanuel McCray. (McManus, Caetlin) (Entered: 10/05/2022)

Oct. 5, 2022

Oct. 5, 2022

RECAP
12

NOTICE of Appearance by Madeleine K. Rodriguez on behalf of Alianza Americas, Jesus Doe, Pablo Doe, Yanet Doe (Rodriguez, Madeleine) (Entered: 10/19/2022)

Oct. 19, 2022

Oct. 19, 2022

PACER
13

NOTICE of Appearance by Matthew E. Miller on behalf of Alianza Americas, Jesus Doe, Pablo Doe, Yanet Doe (Miller, Matthew) (Entered: 10/19/2022)

Oct. 19, 2022

Oct. 19, 2022

PACER
14

NOTICE of Appearance by Kenneth S. Leonetti on behalf of Alianza Americas, Jesus Doe, Pablo Doe, Yanet Doe (Leonetti, Kenneth) (Entered: 10/19/2022)

Oct. 19, 2022

Oct. 19, 2022

PACER
15

Opposition re 11 MOTION to Intervene filed by Alianza Americas, Jesus Doe, Pablo Doe, Yanet Doe. (Leonetti, Kenneth) (Entered: 10/19/2022)

Oct. 19, 2022

Oct. 19, 2022

RECAP
16

Letter/request to file documents by non-party Derrick Lee Cordello-Smith (Attachments: # 1 Notice of Appearance, # 2 Motion to Amend)(McManus, Caetlin) (Entered: 10/20/2022)

Oct. 20, 2022

Oct. 20, 2022

PACER
17

Letter/request to file documents by non-party Derrick Lee Cardello-Smith. (Attachments: # 1 Notice of Appearance, # 2 Motion to Amend) (Pacho, Arnold) (Entered: 10/21/2022)

Oct. 21, 2022

Oct. 21, 2022

PACER
18

Judge Allison D. Burroughs: ELECTRONIC ORDER entered. The Court is in receipt of [ECF Nos. 16, 17 ] filed by a non-party to the case. To the extent [ECF Nos. 16-2 and 17-2] seek to amend the case caption, they are DENIED, and to the extent the movant asks to file an amicus brief, that request is also DENIED.(McManus, Caetlin) (Entered: 10/27/2022)

Oct. 27, 2022

Oct. 27, 2022

PACER

Order

Oct. 27, 2022

Oct. 27, 2022

PACER
19

Letter/request for leave to file from Non- Party Derrick lee Cardello-Smith. (Attachments: # 1 Motion to File an Amicus Brief, # 2 Brief in Support of Motion for Leave to Filee)(McManus, Caetlin) (Entered: 10/28/2022)

Oct. 28, 2022

Oct. 28, 2022

PACER
20

Judge Allison D. Burroughs: ORDER entered. MEMORANDUM AND ORDER DENYING Emanuel McCray's Motion to Intervene [ECF No. 11 ]. (McManus, Caetlin) (Entered: 11/21/2022)

Nov. 21, 2022

Nov. 21, 2022

RECAP
21

AMENDED COMPLAINT against All Defendants, filed by Alianza Americas, Jesus Doe, Pablo Doe, Yanet Doe.(Leonetti, Kenneth) (Entered: 11/29/2022)

Nov. 29, 2022

Nov. 29, 2022

RECAP
22

Summons Issued as to Perla Huerta, Lawrence A. Keefe, James Montgomerie, James Uthmeier, Vertol Systems Company, Inc.. Counsel receiving this notice electronically should download this summons, complete one for each defendant and serve it in accordance with Fed.R.Civ.P. 4 and LR 4.1. Summons will be mailed to plaintiff(s) not receiving notice electronically for completion of service. (McManus, Caetlin) (Entered: 12/02/2022)

Dec. 2, 2022

Dec. 2, 2022

RECAP
23

MOTION for Leave to Appear Pro Hac Vice for admission of Benjamin H. Weissman Filing fee: $ 100, receipt number AMADC-9629916 by Alianza Americas, Jesus Doe, Pablo Doe, Yanet Doe. (Attachments: # 1 Certificate of Benjamin H. Weissman, Esq.)(Rodriguez, Madeleine) (Entered: 12/14/2022)

Dec. 14, 2022

Dec. 14, 2022

PACER
24

Judge Allison D. Burroughs: ELECTRONIC ORDER entered granting 23 Motion for Leave to Appear Pro Hac Vice Added Benjamin H. Weissman. Attorneys admitted Pro Hac Vice must have an individual PACER account, not a shared firm account, to electronically file in the District of Massachusetts. To register for a PACER account, go the Pacer website at https://pacer.uscourts.gov/register-account. You must put the docket number on your form when registering or it will be rejected.Pro Hac Vice Admission Request Instructions https://www.mad.uscourts.gov/caseinfo/nextgen-pro-hac-vice.htm.A Notice of Appearance must be entered on the docket by the newly admitted attorney. Pursuant to Local Rule 83.5.3, local counsel shall also file an appearance in this matter. Further, local counsel shall review all filings and shall personally appear in Court for any hearings or conferences, unless expressly excused by the Court for good cause. (McManus, Caetlin) (Entered: 12/14/2022)

Dec. 14, 2022

Dec. 14, 2022

PACER

Order on Motion for Leave to Appear

Dec. 14, 2022

Dec. 14, 2022

PACER
25

NOTICE of Appearance by Benjamin H. Weissman on behalf of Alianza Americas, Jesus Doe, Pablo Doe, Yanet Doe (Weissman, Benjamin) (Entered: 12/16/2022)

Dec. 16, 2022

Dec. 16, 2022

RECAP
26

AFFIDAVIT OF SERVICE Executed by Yanet Doe, Alianza Americas, Pablo Doe, Jesus Doe. Florida, State of served on 12/16/2022, answer due 1/6/2023. Acknowledgement filed by Yanet Doe; Alianza Americas; Pablo Doe; Jesus Doe. (Weissman, Benjamin) (Entered: 12/16/2022)

Dec. 16, 2022

Dec. 16, 2022

RECAP
27

NOTICE of Appearance by Thomas C. Frongillo on behalf of Ronald DeSantis, Florida Department of Transportation, Florida, State of, Lawrence A. Keefe, Jared W. Perdue, James Uthmeier (Frongillo, Thomas) (Entered: 12/22/2022)

Dec. 22, 2022

Dec. 22, 2022

PACER
28

Assented to MOTION for Extension of Time to January 31, 2023 to File Response/Reply as to 21 Amended Complaint by Ronald DeSantis, Florida Department of Transportation, Florida, State of, Lawrence A. Keefe, Jared W. Perdue, James Uthmeier.(Frongillo, Thomas) (Entered: 12/22/2022)

Dec. 22, 2022

Dec. 22, 2022

PACER
29

Judge Allison D. Burroughs: ELECTRONIC ORDER entered granting 28 Assented to MOTION for Extension of Time to January 31, 2023 to File Response/Reply as to 21 Amended Complaint (Folan, Karen) (Entered: 12/22/2022)

Dec. 22, 2022

Dec. 22, 2022

PACER
30

NOTICE of Appearance by Brian T. Kelly on behalf of James Montgomerie, Vertol Systems Company, Inc. (Kelly, Brian) (Entered: 12/22/2022)

Dec. 22, 2022

Dec. 22, 2022

PACER

Order on Motion for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply

Dec. 22, 2022

Dec. 22, 2022

PACER
31

Assented to MOTION for Extension of Time to January 31, 2023 to Respond to First Amended Complaint by James Montgomerie, Vertol Systems Company, Inc..(Kelly, Brian) Filing event modified on 12/23/2022 (McManus, Caetlin). (Entered: 12/22/2022)

Dec. 23, 2022

Dec. 23, 2022

PACER
32

Judge Allison D. Burroughs: ELECTRONIC ORDER entered granting 31 Motion for Extension of Time to Answer re 21 Amended Complaint. James Montgomerie answer due 1/31/2023; Vertol Systems Company, Inc. answer due 1/31/2023. (McManus, Caetlin) (Entered: 12/23/2022)

Dec. 23, 2022

Dec. 23, 2022

PACER

Order on Motion for Extension of Time to Answer

Dec. 23, 2022

Dec. 23, 2022

PACER

Case Details

State / Territory: Massachusetts

Case Type(s):

Immigration and/or the Border

Key Dates

Filing Date: Sept. 20, 2022

Case Ongoing: Yes

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

All immigrants who have been, or will in the future be, induced by defendants to travel across state lines by fraud misrepresentation.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Non-profit NON-religious organization

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Pending

Defendants

Florida (Florida), State

Defendant Type(s):

Jurisdiction-wide

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

42 U.S.C. § 1985

Title VI, Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d et seq.

Available Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Outcome

Prevailing Party: None Yet / None

Nature of Relief:

None yet

Source of Relief:

None yet

Issues

Immigration/Border:

Undocumented immigrants - rights and duties