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Case Name Augusto v. Moniz IM-MA-0024
Docket / Court 1:20-cv-10685 ( D. Mass. )
State/Territory Massachusetts
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Special Collection COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)
Post-WalMart decisions on class certification
Attorney Organization ACLU Affiliates (any)
ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project
ACLU National Prison Project
Case Summary
COVID-19 Summary: In this case filed April 7, 2020, after the COVID-19 outbreak, 65 civil immigration detainees at the Plymouth County Correctional Facility requested habeas and injunctive relief in the form of immediate interim release from detention. A class was certified on June 8. No outcome ... read more >
COVID-19 Summary: In this case filed April 7, 2020, after the COVID-19 outbreak, 65 civil immigration detainees at the Plymouth County Correctional Facility requested habeas and injunctive relief in the form of immediate interim release from detention. A class was certified on June 8. No outcome yet.


On April 7, 2020, 65 individuals detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement at the Plymouth County Correctional Facility (ICE) filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts against the Superintendent of the Plymouth County Correctional Facility (PCCF). The plaintiffs claimed that the health and safety measures being taken by PCCF were insufficient to curb the spread of the virus and protect the health and safety of detainees within the facility. Initially the lawsuit was filed pro se, and plaintiffs sought emergency release under under 8 U.S.C. § 1226. The plaintiffs were later represented as a putative class by the ACLU National Prison Project, the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project, Boston University School of Law's Immigrants' Rights and Human Trafficking Program, and private counsel, plaintiffs sued under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 (federal question), 28 U.S.C. § 2241 (habeas jurisdiction), and Article I, Section 9, clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution (the Suspension Clause) for habeas, injunctive, and declaratory relief, including release from custody. Judge Allison D. Burroughs was assigned to the case.

An emergency amended petition was filed on April 13 by the ACLU on behalf of only one of the plaintiffs, Wilmer Ruben Espinal Alvarado, however ACLU counsel stated in a notice that the legal evidence and argument submitted could aid in the court's consideration of the other 64 claims. The defendant filed motions to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction and for failure to state a claim for both petitions on April 15 and 16.

In a separate action, on April 29, Espinal Alvarado was ordered to be released unless he received a bond hearing in seven days. Docket No. 1:20-cv-10309-PBS. Espinal Alvarado subsequently filed a stipulation of dismissal for his individual claims.

On May 5, Judge Burroughs dismissed 20 plaintiffs from the action and denied defendant's motion to dismiss, finding that habeas relief was available to plaintiffs because they were seeking release from confinement. On May 5, plaintiffs filed a motion to amend the petition and to certify the class. The following day, Judge Burroughs issued an order that required defendants to notify the court when a named plaintiffs was removed, transferred, or released from PCCF.

On May 26, the ACLU filed an amended class action complaint on behalf of a putative class requesting habeas and injunctive relief. The plaintiffs alleged that the conditions of civil detention during COVID-19 at PCCF exposed them to a substantial risk of serious harm in violation of their due process rights and requested immediate interim release pending resolution of the litigation.

On June 8, Judge Burroughs certified the class as "all civil immigration detainees who are Petitioners in this action (i.e., who signed the original petition) or are otherwise presently detained in Unit C-3 at the PCCF." 2020 WL 3051778. Since the filing of the original petition, several named plaintiffs were released or transferred from PCCF, new plaintiffs have joined the case, and some have individually obtained counsel. Altogether, there were forty petitioners actively seeking relief under two separate petitions: the original petition, which was filed pro se, and the second class action petition filed by the ACLU with two identified class representatives.

Hours after the court certified the class, ICE informed several detainees in Unit C-3 that they would be transferred to a different facility in Alabama. Plaintiffs filed a motion to halt the transfer of eight of the class members which was granted by the court that day. With the exception of three detainees who were already slated for removal, the court prohibited defendants from transferring detainees without advance notice and justification to plaintiffs' counsel. The following day, Judge Burroughs issued an order requiring defendants to give the court 48 hours notice before removing a plaintiff or class member. ICE later withdrew its plans to transfer class members out of PCCF.

On June 12, plaintiffs moved for expedited bail hearings for class members and defendants again moved to dismiss the amended class petition. Between July and December, Judge Burroughs added members to the class to include new detainees that were moved into Unit C-3 and the parties continued to file status reports and discovery motions.

Parties met for a status conference on February 23, 2021, and on March 9, filed a joint status report indicating their intention to file a joint motion to dismiss. The case remains ongoing.

Chandler Hart-McGonigle - 11/28/2020
Tessa McEvoy - 03/12/2021


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Due Process: Substantive Due Process
Suspension Clause
Content of Injunction
Reporting
COVID-19
Mitigation Requested
Release Requested
Defendant-type
Corrections
Law-enforcement
General
Bathing and hygiene
Conditions of confinement
Sanitation / living conditions
Immigration/Border
Constitutional rights
Detention - conditions
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Special Case Type
Habeas
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Habeas Corpus, 28 U.S.C. §§ 2241-2253; 2254; 2255
Defendant(s) Plymouth County Correctional Facility
Plaintiff Description Plaintiffs are 65 civil immigration detainees at Plymouth County Correctional Facility. The class is certified as "all civil immigration detainees who are Petitioners in this action... or are otherwise presently detained in Unit C-3 at the PCCF."
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Affiliates (any)
ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project
ACLU National Prison Project
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status outcome Granted
Filed Pro Se Yes
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
None
Source of Relief Litigation
None yet
None
Filed 04/07/2020
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Court Docket(s)
D. Mass.
03/10/2021
1:20-cv-10685-ADB
IM-MA-0024-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
D. Mass.
04/07/2020
Petition by Immigration and Customs Enforcement Detainees of Plymouth County Correctional Facility [ECF# 1]
IM-MA-0024-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Mass.
04/16/2020
Respondent's Memorandum of Law in Support of his Motion to Deny Petitioner's Habeas Petition [ECF# 28]
IM-MA-0024-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Mass.
05/26/2020
Second Amended Emergency Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 119]
IM-MA-0024-0003.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Mass.
06/08/2020
Memorandum and Order on Motion for Class Certification [ECF# 135] (2020 WL 3051778)
IM-MA-0024-0005.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Mass.
06/08/2020
Emergency Motion for Order Halting Transfers of Class Members Out of the District and to Address Proposed Transfers at June 11 Status Conference [ECF# 138]
IM-MA-0024-0004.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
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Judges Burroughs, Allison Dale (D. Mass.) show/hide docs
IM-MA-0024-0005 | IM-MA-0024-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Balakrishnan, Anand V. (New York) show/hide docs
IM-MA-0024-0004 | IM-MA-0024-9000
Cho, Eunice (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-MA-0024-0004 | IM-MA-0024-9000
Church, Susan (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
IM-MA-0024-0004 | IM-MA-0024-9000
Doyle, Kerry E. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
IM-MA-0024-0004
Fathi, David Cyrus (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-MA-0024-0004 | IM-MA-0024-9000
Glass, Andrew C. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
IM-MA-0024-0003 | IM-MA-0024-0004 | IM-MA-0024-9000
Holper, Mary P (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
IM-MA-0024-9000
Jadwat, Omar C. (New York) show/hide docs
IM-MA-0024-0004 | IM-MA-0024-9000
Keefe, William (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
IM-MA-0024-9000
Keefe, Joanna S. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
IM-MA-0024-9000
Lafaille, Adriana (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
IM-MA-0024-0003 | IM-MA-0024-0004 | IM-MA-0024-9000
Lagana, Stephen A. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
IM-MA-0024-9000
Maidman, Molly R. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
IM-MA-0024-0003 | IM-MA-0024-0004 | IM-MA-0024-9000
McCready, Laura K. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
IM-MA-0024-0004 | IM-MA-0024-9000
McDermott, William Shaw (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
IM-MA-0024-0003 | IM-MA-0024-0004 | IM-MA-0024-9000
McFadden, Daniel L. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
IM-MA-0024-0003 | IM-MA-0024-0004 | IM-MA-0024-9000
Ojserkis, Rebecca A (New York) show/hide docs
IM-MA-0024-0004 | IM-MA-0024-9000
Pomerleau, Todd C. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
IM-MA-0024-9000
Rubin, Jeffrey B. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
IM-MA-0024-9000
Santana, Oriosto Medrano (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
IM-MA-0024-9000
Segal, Matthew (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
IM-MA-0024-0003 | IM-MA-0024-0004 | IM-MA-0024-9000
Sherman-Stokes, Sarah (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
IM-MA-0024-0004
Tan, Michael K. T. (New York) show/hide docs
IM-MA-0024-0004 | IM-MA-0024-9000
Warner, Christopher F. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
IM-MA-0024-0003 | IM-MA-0024-0004 | IM-MA-0024-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Goldstein, Rachel (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
IM-MA-0024-9000
Lelling, Andrew E. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
IM-MA-0024-0002
Weida, Jason C. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
IM-MA-0024-0002 | IM-MA-0024-9000

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