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Case Name Prieto Refunjol v. Adducci IM-OH-0006
Docket / Court 2:20-cv-02099 ( S.D. Ohio )
State/Territory Ohio
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Special Collection COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)
Attorney Organization ACLU Affiliates (any)
Case Summary
COVID-19 Summary: This habeas corpus action was filed on April 24, 2020 by a group of civil detainees with serious health conditions in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The Court granted a temporary restraining order on April 27 and ordered the release of the plaintiffs. Later, 20 ... read more >
COVID-19 Summary: This habeas corpus action was filed on April 24, 2020 by a group of civil detainees with serious health conditions in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The Court granted a temporary restraining order on April 27 and ordered the release of the plaintiffs. Later, 20 additional plaintiffs were added to an amended petition for a writ of habeas corpus. Later, the Court granted in part and denied in part a preliminary injunction. On August 6, the parties entered into a consent order. The case is now closed.

This case is about whether Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE") must release three civil detainees with serious health conditions housed at either Butler County Jail or Morrow County Jail due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The plaintiffs filed this action against ICE and the Detroit Director of ICE in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio on April 24, 2020, requesting that the Court issue a writ of habeas corpus ordering their immediate release or, alternatively for the Court to issue an injunction ordering the defendants to release the plaintiffs immediately. The plaintiffs claimed that their continued detention violated their substantive due process rights under the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution by subjecting them to imminent risk of contracting COVID-19 and thereby subjecting civil detainees to cruel treatment and conditions of confinement amounting to punishment. The case was assigned to Judge Sarah D. Morrison.

On the same day that they filed the case, the plaintiffs also moved for a temporary restraining order ("TRO"). On April 27, the Court granted the motion. The Court found that plaintiffs were likely to succeed on the merits of their Fifth Amendment claim due to the possibility of detention jeopardizing the plaintiffs' health. The court also noted that plaintiffs were not flight risks due to their connections within the United States. The Court weighed the risk of flight with the risk of infection and negative health consequences and found that the jails had not taken any precautions against virus transmission. The Court concluded that the severity of COVID-19, along with the plaintiffs' underlying medical conditions, showed a great risk of irreparable harm. In addition, the Court found that the public interest is best served by preventing further transmission of COVID-19, which weighed in favor of the plaintiffs' release from detention. In granting the TRO, the Court ordered the plaintiffs to be immediately released and quarantined and to remain in home detention. The Court also announced that it would hold a preliminary injunction hearing on May 11.

On May 5, 2020, the plaintiffs filed an amended petition for writ of habeas corpus and a first amended complaint, adding twenty plaintiffs to the action. On the same day, the plaintiffs moved for another TRO. The additional plaintiffs alleged that they were infected with COVID-19 and that their infection could not be adequately treated while detained. On May 6, the Court held a preliminary conference and found that the plaintiffs had not met their burden to prove the necessity of a TRO and the Court therefore denied the motion the next day.

On May 14, 2020, the Court granted a preliminary injunction in part and denied it in part. 461 F.Supp.3d 675. The Court divided the plaintiffs into two groups: the infected (additional plaintiffs) and the uninfected (original plaintiffs). The Court found that two of the plaintiffs' claims were moot due to their release. The Court found that two out of the three uninfected plaintiffs again showed a likelihood of succeeding on the merits of their Fifth Amendment claim due to their high risk medical conditions and the fact that their health interest outweighed the defendants' interest in detaining them. The Court found that the remaining uninfected plaintiff did not show a likelihood of success by failing to offer supporting evidence of a serious medical condition. With regard to the already-infected plaintiffs, the Court found that the Morrow County Jail's inability to control the spread of infection, its failures to monitor detainees' symptoms, and its poor conditions created an unconstitutionally acceptable environment which amounted to an intent to punish the additional plaintiffs. The Court therefore found that the infected plaintiffs were likely to succeed on the merits. Out of the eighteen remaining plaintiffs, the Court found that thirteen were at high risk for irreparable harm due their severe medical conditions and that the remaining five were at a low risk of irreparable harm. In analyzing the public interest, the Court found that the public would be served by reducing the number of detainees at Morrow County Jail and therefore preventing further transmission of the virus.

After balancing the factors to be considered in deciding a preliminary injunction, the Court ordered that two out of the three uninfected plaintiffs remain released for the duration of the litigation. In addition, the Court ordered that eleven of the remaining eighteen infected plaintiffs--those with serious medical conditions--be released for the duration of the litigation. The Court denied a preliminary injunction for the remaining eight plaintiffs. On May 27, 2021, the uninfected plaintiff that was denied preliminary relief moved for reconsideration. On June 5, the Court denied the motion. 2020 WL 3026236. The Court found that the plaintiff had failed to submit evidence to establish a serious medical condition that would deem him likely to succeed on the merits of his Fifth Amendment claim and likely to be irreparably harmed by further detention.

On July 13, 2020, the defendants appealed the Court's preliminary injunction order (USCA Case No. 20-3757). On August 6, the parties entered into a consent order to compromise the disputed claims. Seven of the plaintiffs agreed to voluntary dismissal with prejudice, one plaintiff agreed to dismissal without prejudice on the condition that ICE would maintain the status quo of his current conditions of release, and thirteen of the plaintiffs agreed to dismissal without prejudice and to self-surrender once a final removal order has been issued for them. On September 9, the defendants' appeal was voluntarily dismissed. On January 1, 2021, the Court dismissed the claims of the two remaining plaintiffs with prejudice for failure to prosecute.

The case is now closed.

Nicholas Gillan - 09/26/2021


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process: Substantive Due Process
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
COVID-19
Release Granted
Release granted-individual
Release Requested
Crowding
Crowding / caseload
Defendant-type
Corrections
Law-enforcement
General
Habeas Corpus
Sanitation / living conditions
Immigration/Border
Detention - conditions
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Special Case Type
Habeas
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Ex parte Young (federal or state officials)
Habeas Corpus, 28 U.S.C. §§ 2241-2253; 2254; 2255
Defendant(s) Detroit District Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Plaintiff Description Three civil ICE detainees with serious medical conditions that have not contracted COVID-19 and twenty civil ICE detainees that have tested positive for COVID-19
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Affiliates (any)
Class action status sought No
Class action status outcome Not sought
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Filed 04/24/2020
Case Closing Year 2021
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Court Docket(s)
S.D. Ohio
09/01/2021
2:20-cv-02099-SDM-CMV
IM-OH-0006-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
S.D. Ohio
04/24/2020
Petitioner-Plaintiffs' Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Request for Immediate Hearing [ECF# 2]
IM-OH-0006-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. Ohio
04/27/2020
Opinion and Order [ECF# 8] (2020 WL 1983077)
IM-OH-0006-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. Ohio
05/07/2020
Order [ECF# 31]
IM-OH-0006-0004.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. Ohio
05/14/2020
Opinion and Order [ECF# 44] (461 F.Supp.3d 675)
IM-OH-0006-0005.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. Ohio
06/05/2020
Opinion and Order [ECF# 50] (2020 WL 3026236)
IM-OH-0006-0006.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. Ohio
07/13/2020
Notice of Appeal [ECF# 61]
IM-OH-0006-0007.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. Ohio
08/06/2020
Consent Order [ECF# 64]
IM-OH-0006-0008.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. Ohio
01/28/2021
Opinion and Order [ECF# 96] (2021 WL 292300)
IM-OH-0006-0009.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. Ohio
09/01/2021
Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 and Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief [ECF# 1]
IM-OH-0006-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Morrison, Sarah Daggett (S.D. Ohio) show/hide docs
IM-OH-0006-0003 | IM-OH-0006-0004 | IM-OH-0006-0005 | IM-OH-0006-0006 | IM-OH-0006-0008 | IM-OH-0006-0009 | IM-OH-0006-9000
Vascura, Chelsey M. Court not on record [Magistrate] show/hide docs
IM-OH-0006-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bonham, Elizabeth (Ohio) show/hide docs
IM-OH-0006-0001 | IM-OH-0006-0002 | IM-OH-0006-0008 | IM-OH-0006-9000
Cai, Sophia (New York) show/hide docs
IM-OH-0006-0008 | IM-OH-0006-9000
Chevrier, Claire D (Ohio) show/hide docs
IM-OH-0006-0001 | IM-OH-0006-0002 | IM-OH-0006-0008 | IM-OH-0006-9000
Fram, Robert D. (California) show/hide docs
IM-OH-0006-0008 | IM-OH-0006-9000
Jaganathan, Neha (California) show/hide docs
IM-OH-0006-0008 | IM-OH-0006-9000
Levenson, Freda J. (Ohio) show/hide docs
IM-OH-0006-0001 | IM-OH-0006-0002 | IM-OH-0006-0008 | IM-OH-0006-9000
Partelow, Ryan Andrew (New York) show/hide docs
IM-OH-0006-0008 | IM-OH-0006-9000
Picker, Joshua Benjamin (New York) show/hide docs
IM-OH-0006-0008 | IM-OH-0006-9000
Shi, Annie (California) show/hide docs
IM-OH-0006-0008
Silva, Dylan (California) show/hide docs
IM-OH-0006-0008 | IM-OH-0006-9000
Sokol, Maura Anne (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-OH-0006-0008 | IM-OH-0006-9000
Defendant's Lawyers D'Alessandro, Mark Thomas (Ohio) show/hide docs
IM-OH-0006-9000
Devillers, David (Ohio) show/hide docs
IM-OH-0006-0007 | IM-OH-0006-0008
Wolfe, Leah M (Ohio) show/hide docs
IM-OH-0006-0007 | IM-OH-0006-0008 | IM-OH-0006-9000
Yates, Christopher (Ohio) show/hide docs
IM-OH-0006-0007 | IM-OH-0006-0008 | IM-OH-0006-9000

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