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Case Name Oldaker v. Giles IM-GA-0017
Docket / Court 7:20-cv-00224-WLS-MSH ( M.D. Ga. )
Additional Docket(s) 7:20-cv-00231  [ 20-231 ]  Middle District of GA (U.S.)
7:20-cv-00237  [ 20-237 ]  Middle District of GA (U.S.)
State/Territory Georgia
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Attorney Organization National Immigration Project of the NLG
Case Summary
This federal class action lawsuit sought injunctive, declaratory, and monetary relief for over 60 immigrant women who were detained in ICE custody at the Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia. The plaintiffs claimed that they were subjected to medical abuse while in ICE custody including ... read more >
This federal class action lawsuit sought injunctive, declaratory, and monetary relief for over 60 immigrant women who were detained in ICE custody at the Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia. The plaintiffs claimed that they were subjected to medical abuse while in ICE custody including nonconsensual hysterectomies, overly aggressive gynecological care, and medically unnecessary procedures. In addition to the medical abuse itself, the plaintiffs sought relief against federal officials and the local employees of the ICE jail who, the plaintiffs claimed, engaged in a widespread conspiracy to silence the detainees from sharing their abuse with the public and retaliated against women who spoke out about the conditions at the detention center.

Procedural Background:
This federal class action lawsuit commenced on November 9, 2020, with a petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus and Declaratory and Injunctive Relief and an emergency motion for a temporary restraining order filed by Yanira Oldaker in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia (in Valdosta). At the time of the initial filing, Yanira Oldaker was a detainee of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at Irwin County Detention Center (ICDC also referred to below as “the ICE jail”) in Ocilla, Georgia. The November 9 motion named ICE, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Department of Justice (DOJ) as defendants.

On November 16 and 17, 2020, two other women detained at ICDC filed separate habeas petitions in the same district court. (Trial dockets 7:20-cv-00231 and 7:20-cv-00237). On November 18, 2020, District Judge W. Louis Sands ordered the two new habeas petitions to be consolidated into the Oldaker case which had been referred to Magistrate Judge Stephen Hyles. A fourth ICDC detainee joined the consolidated action on November 23, 2020, also seeking a writ of habeas corpus.

On November 25, 2020, the district court granted a consent motion to revise a scheduling order agreed to by the four plaintiffs and the defendants who now included ICE, DHS, DOJ, and ICDC. In the revised scheduling order, the government agreed to not deport any of the four plaintiffs or any other ICDC detainees who wished to file similar habeas petitions or motions for temporary restraining orders at least until a hearing on the motions for temporary restraining orders was held. The plaintiffs agreed to file a consolidated habeas petition and consolidated motion for temporary restraining order for all individuals at ICDC with substantially similar factual allegations as themselves by December 21, 2020.

The Amended Habeas Petition/Class Action Complaint, and the Amended Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order:
The plaintiffs met the deadline they agreed to and submitted an amended habeas petition together with a class action complaint (the complaint) and an updated emergency motion for a temporary restraining order on December 21, 2020.

Represented by the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, Morningside Heights Legal Services, Project South, a small Atlanta based law firm, and law school clinics from Boston University, Harvard, Texas A&M, and the University of Georgia as counsel, the plaintiffs sought injunctive, declaratory, and monetary relief. In the complaint, the plaintiffs described themselves as current or former ICDC detainees who were each subjected to “non-consensual, medically unindicated, and/or invasive gynecological procedures” by the physician assigned to the ICE jail.

The complaint set out three main categories of plaintiffs: 1) a group of nine women who were detained at ICDC at the time the complaint was filed, 2) four women previously detained at ICDC who had been either deported from the U.S. or released from the ICE jail at the time the complaint was filed, 3) a putative class of at least 60 women who were subjected to similar medical abuse at ICDC as the named plaintiffs. The list of defendants was extensive and includes federal agencies, federal officials, employees at ICDC, the corporate defendant LaSalle Southeast, LLC which owned and operated ICDC at the time of the complaint, and the Hospital Authority of Irwin County which employed the defendant physician Mahendra Amin.

The complaint included 21 claims for relief. The first was a habeas claim for the release of the nine detained plaintiffs from unlawful detention under 28 U.S.C. §§2241, 2243 and the common law to remedy the “egregious and systematic retaliatory behavior” of the defendants.

In claims two through four, the plaintiffs sought a remedy for violations of their First Amendment Rights. The second claim alleged retaliatory conduct by federal respondents against ICDC detainees in violation of the First Amendment rights of speech and petition. The plaintiffs claimed that their testimony to federal investigators and communications to the press regarding medical abuse was met by adverse actions by federal respondents including deportations and attempted deportations of individual plaintiffs and putative class members, use of force, solitary confinement, and denial of privileges at the ICDC. The plaintiffs claimed that their exercise of free speech was “chilled” and that they suffered physical and/or psychological harm. The second claim sought damages against federal respondents pursuant to Bivens, declaratory relief finding their actions in violation of the First Amendment, and injunctive relief prohibiting further retaliation by federal officials against the exercise by plaintiffs of First Amendment protected conduct. The third claim is similar to the second but described the retaliation committed by ICDC, LaSalle, and their employees/officials including the defendant physician and is based on the incorporation of the First Amendment in the Fourteenth Amendment as a cause of action under 42 U.S.C. §1983. The retaliatory conduct committed by these non-federal actors included the placement of plaintiffs in solitary confinement, cell restriction, physical assault, assault of handcuffed detainees, threats of deprivation of property and commissary to hunger strikers, denial of access to the law library, monitoring of phone calls, destruction of outgoing correspondence, and the making of false claims to congressional investigators. Plaintiffs sought the same injunctive and declaratory relief against state officials as they did against the federal respondents and ask for both compensatory and punitive damages. As an alternative to the third claim, claim four restates the allegations of retaliation committed by the non-federal respondents but argued that if claim three failed, the court should find that the ICDC and LaSalle employees/officials were acting under color of federal authority and can be sued for damages pursuant to Bivens.

In the fifth, sixth, and seventh claims of the complaint, the plaintiffs sought relief for violations of their Fifth Amendment rights. The fifth claim sought declaratory, injunctive, and monetary relief against federal officials with the damages claim based on Bivens. The plaintiffs alleged that the federal officials who facilitated their confinement at ICDC were either motivated by evil intent or callously/recklessly indifferent to the medical abuse they endured in violation of the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of reasonable safety and freedom from punitive confinement for people in civil immigration detention. The sixth claim sought the same type of relief as the fifth but is against the ICDC respondents and was based on the Fourteenth Amendment right to substantive due process and 42 U.S.C §1983. Like the fourth claim’s alternative theory for damages under Bivens, the seventh claim similarly argued that if the court finds that the ICDC respondents were operating solely under color of federal law, they should still be liable for damages for violating the plaintiffs’ rights to substantive due process.

The eighth claim sought declaratory and injunctive relief against all defendants in their official capacities for violating Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act with regards to the detained plaintiffs. The plaintiffs alleged that the detained plaintiffs (all of whom have underlying medical conditions which qualify as disabilities under the Rehab Act) were excluded and/or denied benefits of the “services, programs, and activities” within ICDC. The plaintiffs argued that the only “reasonable accommodation” that would have mitigated their disabilities would have been released from detention and that because they were still detained at ICDC at the time the complaint was filed, their ongoing detention violated the Rehab Act.

The ninth claim was against the federal defendants for violations of the Administrative Procedure Act and the Immigration and Nationality Act. The plaintiffs claimed that the deportation of two of the detainees who provided information about medical abuse to a whistleblower ICDC employee was a violation of ICE’s own policy (ICE Policy Number 10076.1) to not remove individuals from the U.S. “in the midst of a legitimate effort to protect their civil rights or civil liberties.” This disregard of its own policy by ICE amounted to a violation of the APA’s guarantee of judicial review for persons who suffer a legal wrong because of an agency action and also violated regulations promulgated under the INA which prohibit the deportation of individuals needed in the US for any investigation “being, or soon to be, conducted by any official executive, legislative, or judicial agency…”. 8 C.F.R. §215.3(h). The tenth claim was also based in APA violations by federal officials. Plaintiffs alleged that federal defendants failed to follow the Performance Based National Detention Standards (PBNDS) requirements with regards to the medical care at ICDC amounting to an unlawful agency action under the APA. The plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief to remedy the violations alleged in their ninth and tenth claims.

In the eleventh claim, the plaintiffs alleged that the defendants violated 42 U.S.C. §1985 by 1) conspiring to deter detainees from attending/testifying in a pending federal court proceeding and 2) conspiring to retaliate against witnesses/participants in federal court proceedings. The plaintiffs supported these conspiracy claims with extensive allegations including examples of expedited deportations, forced transfers of detainees out of the main ICDC facility during a September 2020 visit by a Congressional delegation, and phone call monitoring all of which commenced after ICDC received notice in mid-September 2020 that federal agencies were investigating it for medical abuse. The plaintiffs sought damages, injunctive, and declaratory relief to remedy these claims.

In the twelfth claim, the plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief against federal defendants for violating the Fifth Amendment prohibition on deportation of essential witnesses in civil proceedings.

The thirteenth claim requested a grant of bail to the plaintiffs who were petitioning for habeas. The fourteenth claim is for breach of contract. Here, the plaintiffs argued that both the federal and ICDC defendants breached the terms of the Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) established for the administration of the ICE jail by failing to abide by the terms of the PBNDS, not providing appropriate medical care, providing medical treatment without informed consent, and by not providing language accessibility during medical care to detainees who did not speak English. The plaintiffs claimed that they were the intended third-party beneficiaries of the IGA and that they were owed damages to remedy the breach as well as injunctive relief to enforce the contract.

Counts fifteen through twenty were tort claims, listed as follows; 15) negligent hiring or retention against ICDC, LaSalle, and Irwin County Hospital; 16) gross negligence against ICDC and its officials; 17) medical battery against the defendant physician and Irwin County Hospital; 18) medical malpractice against the defendant physician and Irwin County Hospital; 19) intentional infliction of emotional distress against ICDC and its officials; 20) negligent infliction of emotional distress against ICDC and its officials. The twenty-first claim was for attorneys’ fees and costs. It was brought under Georgia law against all ICDC defendants who committed intentional torts.

In addition to the complaint, the plaintiffs filed an emergency motion for a temporary restraining order and petition for writs of habeas corpus ad testificandum. The temporary restraining order sought by the plaintiffs would have enjoined retaliation against them by federal and ICDC officials including use of force, solitary confinement, denial of privileges, and deportation. If granted by the court, the habeas writs sought in the emergency motion would have ordered the defendants to make the plaintiffs available for any hearings deemed necessary by the court. In the emergency motion, the plaintiffs also asked for the release from ICDC of all detained plaintiffs and members of the putative class as an alternative to not granting the temporary restraining order and habeas petition.

Proceedings and Factual Changes Since the December 2020 Filings:
No district court rulings had been made on the merits of any of the plaintiffs’ claims as of June 8, 2021. Only the corporate defendant, LaSalle, has filed an answer to the complaint (submitted April 15, 2021). On June 8, the government submitted a notice of new facts in opposition to the December 21, 2020, emergency motion for temporary restraining order. Though this document is not available for purchase on PACER, it likely has to do with DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’ announcement of the end of ICE’s contract with ICDC on May 20, 2021. Interestingly, according to a June 3, 2021, report by the Intercept, at least 34 ICE detainees were transferred to ICDC the week after DHS claimed to have terminated the contract. As for the status of the plaintiffs in this case, the National Immigration Project of the NLG reported that all of the women who claimed medical abuse by the defendant physician had been released from ICDC as early as January 22, 2021. This claim is further corroborated by a press release from Detention Watch Network that announced that no women were being detained at ICDC as of April 29, 2021.

The case is ongoing.

Esteban Woo Kee - 07/04/2021


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Due Process: Procedural Due Process
Due Process: Substantive Due Process
Freedom of speech/association
Petitions clause
Defendant-type
Corrections
Law-enforcement
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Assault/abuse by staff
Bathing and hygiene
Conditions of confinement
Confidentiality
Confinement/isolation
Failure to supervise
Failure to train
Food service / nutrition / hydration
Grievance Procedures
Habeas Corpus
Informed consent/involuntary medication
Language access/needs
Law library access
Loss or damage to property
Mail
Pattern or Practice
Personal injury
Records Disclosure
Sex w/ staff; sexual harassment by staff
Solitary confinement/Supermax (conditions or process)
Immigration/Border
Constitutional rights
Deportation - criteria
Deportation - judicial review
Deportation - procedure
Detention - conditions
Undocumented immigrants - rights and duties
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
Medication, administration of
Reproductive health care (including birth control, abortion, and others)
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Special Case Type
Habeas
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
42 U.S.C. § 1985
Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Ex parte Young (federal or state officials)
Ex Parte Young (Federal) or Bivens
Habeas Corpus, 28 U.S.C. §§ 2241-2253; 2254; 2255
Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. §§ 1101 et seq.
Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701
State law
Defendant(s) Atlanta Field Office
ICE Health Services Corps.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Irwin County Detention Center
Irwin County Hospital
LaSalle Southeast, LLC
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Department of Justice
Plaintiff Description Named plaintiffs are women who were detained in ICE custody at Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla Georgia who were allegedly subjected to, or ordered to be subjected to, non-consensual, medically unnecessary, and/or invasive gynecological procedures. The putative class consists of over 60 women who were allegedly subjected to similar medical abuse.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations National Immigration Project of the NLG
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status outcome Pending
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None yet
Filed 11/09/2020
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  Oldaker v. Giles
National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild
Date: 2021
By: National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Court Docket(s)
M.D. Ga.
06/08/2021
7:20-cv-00224-WLS-MSH
IM-GA-0017-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
not recorded
09/14/2020
Re: Lack of Medical Care, Unsafe Work Practices, and Absence of Adequate Protection Against COVID-19 for Detained Immigrants and Employees Alike at the Irwin County Detention Center
IM-GA-0017-0003.pdf | External Link | Detail
Source: Public.Resource.Org
M.D. Ga.
12/21/2020
Consolidated Amended Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus and Class Action Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief and for Damages [ECF# 54]
IM-GA-0017-0001.pdf | External Link | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
M.D. Ga.
12/21/2020
Memorandum of Law in Support of Emergency Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Petition for Writs of Habeas Corpus Ad Testificandum [ECF# 56-1]
IM-GA-0017-0002.pdf | External Link | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
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Judges Hyles, M. Stephen Court not on record [Magistrate] show/hide docs
IM-GA-0017-9000
Sands, Willie Louis (M.D. Ga.) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0017-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Ahmed, Sameer (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
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Ardalan, Sabrineh (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
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Bhatt, Priyanka (Georgia) show/hide docs
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Cade, Jason Alexis (Georgia) show/hide docs
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Dreyer, David N (Georgia) show/hide docs
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Klinke, Tracie L (Georgia) show/hide docs
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Marouf, Fatma E. (Texas) show/hide docs
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Meyers, Joseph C (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Mukherjee, Elora (New York) show/hide docs
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Norins, Clare Rivka (Georgia) show/hide docs
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Qureshi, Amber (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Shahshahani, Azadeh N. (Georgia) show/hide docs
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Shebaya, Sirine (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Shepherd, Kristen E (Georgia) show/hide docs
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Sherman-Stokes, Sarah (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
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Sterling, Michael Todd (Georgia) show/hide docs
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Vogel, Matthew Scott (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Defendant's Lawyers Blanchard, Jason W (Georgia) show/hide docs
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Drey, Kathryn (Florida) show/hide docs
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Gevertz, David E. (Georgia) show/hide docs
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Grubman, Scott R (Georgia) show/hide docs
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Hall, John E Jr (Georgia) show/hide docs
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Howell, Alphonso Avery IV (Georgia) show/hide docs
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Mazziotti, Thomas J. (Georgia) show/hide docs
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Moyle, Marie (Florida) show/hide docs
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Neely, Edgar A IV (Georgia) show/hide docs
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Statkus, Shannon Heath (Georgia) show/hide docs
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Stuart, Jonathan J (Georgia) show/hide docs
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Talley, Gregory T (Georgia) show/hide docs
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Walker, James Joseph (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Other Lawyers Banker, Michelle (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Funt, Eric B (Georgia) show/hide docs
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Greenamyre, Zack (Georgia) show/hide docs
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Li, Hillary (Georgia) show/hide docs
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Nguyen, Phi U. (Georgia) show/hide docs
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Selden, Shannon Rose (New York) show/hide docs
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