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Friday, March 29, 2013

Ind. Decisions - Indiana ACLU wins immigration suit against Indiana

WRTV 6 has the early story here.

The ILB has the rulings and will be posting them momentarily...

Here they are.

This 19-page opinion by federal Judge Sarah Evans Barker in Buquer v. City of Indianapolis, et al is headed "Order denying motion to intervene and denying as moot defendants' motion for reconsideration and motion to strike." It begins:

By their motion, three Indiana state senators seek to have this court resolve the internecine disagreement between themselves and the Indiana Attorney General over the strategy to be pursued in this litigation by Defendants. Having carefully reviewed the senators’ request, we cannot endorse the result they seek, and their motion to intervene must be denied. As would-be suitors these three legislators lack the power to substitute themselves for the Office of the Attorney General in order to pursue their own strategic litigation preferences.
The second opinion is a 43-page "Order on pending summary judgment motions." Some quotes:
Plaintiffs, Ingrid Buquer, Berlin Urtiz, and Louisa Adair, on their own behalf and on behalf of those similarly situated, challenge Section 18 (currently codified at Indiana Code § 34-28-8.2) and Section 20 (currently codified at Indiana Code § 35-33- 1(1)(a)(11)-(13)) of the 2011 Senate Enrolled Act (“SEA”) 5901 as unconstitutional and preempted by federal law. On June 24, 2011, the Court entered a preliminary injunction in favor of Plaintiffs, enjoining Defendants, the City of Indianapolis (“the City”); the City of Franklin; the Marion County Prosecutor, in his official capacity; the Johnson County Sheriff, in his official capacity; and the Johnson County Prosecutor, in his official capacity, from enforcing Sections 18 and 20 until further order of the Court.

On November 20, 2011, Plaintiffs filed a motion for summary judgment [Docket No. 122], requesting that the previously entered preliminary injunction be made permanent and that judgment be entered in their favor against all Defendants. On December 21, 2011, the City filed its response in opposition to Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment as well as a cross-motion for summary judgment [Docket No. 137], arguing that Plaintiffs have failed to identify an improper municipal custom, policy, or practice sufficient to support their claim against the City brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983, but otherwise taking no position on the merits of the substantive claims as applied to the other Defendants. On January 4, 2012, Plaintiffs filed their response in opposition to the City’s cross-motion for summary judgment. The City filed its reply on January 23, 2012, and Plaintiffs filed a surreply on January 30, 2012.

After discovery, on April 9, 2012, the Office of the Attorney General, representing the Marion and Johnson County Prosecutors (“the State Defendants”), filed its response opposing Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment. In its response, the Office of the Attorney General requested not only that Plaintiffs’ motion be denied but also that summary judgment be issued for the state officials. The Attorney General did not file a separate motion for summary judgment, however. On April 20, 2012, Plaintiffs filed their reply in support of their motion for summary judgment, at which point both summary judgment motions were fully briefed.

After careful review of the parties’ submissions, documentary evidence, and applicable legal authorities, we GRANT Plaintiffs’ Motion for Summary Judgment as to the State Defendants and hereby PERMANENTLY ENJOIN enforcement of Sections 18 and 20 of SEA 590. Plaintiffs’ claim against the City of Indianapolis is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE as unripe.

The conclusion:
It is clear that Plaintiffs’ claim is based, not on any direct action taken by the City, but on the assumption that if and when the challenged sections of SEA 590 became effective the City would enforce those provisions. At the time we originally addressed the question of ripeness, SEA 590 was about to go into effect and the City had not affirmatively stated that it intended to refrain from enforcing Sections 18 and 20 if they became effective. Accordingly, we found that there was a credible threat of enforcement sufficient to meet the second prong of the ripeness inquiry, to wit, that Plaintiffs would suffer hardship if the court withheld consideration of their claim. However, the posture of the case has changed and with the Court’s final determination on the merits, including a permanent injunction prohibiting enforcement of the challenged portions of SEA 590. Given our ruling, and the Supreme Court’s directive in Los Angeles County, Cal. v. Humphries, 131 S.Ct. 447 (2010), in which the High Court made clear that civil rights plaintiffs must meet the standard set forth in Monell in order to successfully sue a municipality under § 1983 irrespective of whether the remedy sought is money damages or prospective relief, we conclude that Plaintiffs’ claim against the City is contingent on the outcome of a variety of intervening acts and scenarios not fully settled at this time. These uncertainties render the claims against the City premature, and no longer ripe for adjudication.

In short, even assuming Plaintiffs were able to show that the challenged provisions of SEA 590 provide the City sufficient discretion such that any decision it might make to enforce those provisions could be said to be a Monell policy and not merely an action taken under the command of state law,13 the City’s opportunity to make such a decision will be entirely foreclosed unless and until these statutes are upheld as constitutional and not preempted. Accordingly, we find that Plaintiffs’ claim against the City is not ripe for adjudication at this time because they face no hardship, immediate injury, or prejudice from the Court’s withholding of a ruling on that claim.

[Updated at 1:06 PM] Here is the news release from the ACLU.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on March 29, 2013 11:02 AM
Posted to Ind Fed D.Ct. Decisions