United States District Court, D. Arizona
HONORABLE DAVID C. BURY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
November 18, 2016, this Court issued a preliminary injunction
in this class action lawsuit brought by civil detainees,
being held pursuant to civil immigration laws, against
Defendants the Secretary of the United States Department of
Homeland Security, the Commissioner of the United States
Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Chief of CBP, and
the Arizona Joint Field Command and Chief Patrol Agent-Tucson
Sector. This Court found that the Plaintiffs established they
were likely to succeed on the merits of their claims, were
likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of
preliminary relief, that the balance of equities tipped in
their favor, and the injunction was in the public interest.
The Court ordered the Defendants to immediately comply with
CBP's 2008 Hold Rooms and Short Term Custody Policy (2008
Policy) and the National Standards on Transport, Escort,
Detention, and Search (TEDS) standards and that the standard
requiring clean bedding includes mats for detentions
exceeding 12 hours.
parties appealed. The Defendants argued that this Court
misapprehended Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520 (1979)
and the injunction was too rigid and unduly burdensome.
Plaintiffs argued that the Court should have required
Defendants to provide beds with mattresses, showers, and
medical care provided by medical professionals. On March 21,
2018, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the entry
of the preliminary injunction.
has been no assertion of non-compliance, therefore, this has
been the status quo since November 18, 2016. Discovery is
closed, and Plaintiffs seek partial summary judgment on the
issue of beds.
Motion for Partial Summary Judgment
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”)
detains tens of thousands of people each year in the Tucson
Sector and holds them in conditions that violate the
Constitution. Men, women, and children are jammed together in
crowded hold room cells and forced to lie on soiled, cold
concrete floors, next to toilets and trash. Surveillance
video shows people being repeatedly stepped over as others
make their way to and from the toilets. These degrading and
unsanitary conditions deprive Class Members of their
constitutional right to sleep.
(Ps MPSJ (Doc. 377) at 3.)
to the Plaintiffs, “the law is clear: civil pretrial
detainees must be given beds or mattresses raised off of the
floor if they are held for any period requiring sleep.
Anything less, including floor mats, is a violation of their
Fifth Amendment Due Process rights.” Id.
mats has not remedied the sanitation and overcrowding
concerns that existed before the preliminary injunction
because the mats are crammed together on the same unsanitary
floors, often encroaching into the toilet stall areas and
without sufficient walking space so that detainees are forced
to walk on and over the floor mats. Id. at 4. The
Plaintiffs tender evidence that cell occupancy rates have
been recalculated based on the use of floor mats and submit
pictures taken on December 24, 2016, showing a man stepping
over and on floor mats as he makes his way to the toilet area
in a holding cell. Id. at Ex. 15, see also
Ex. 21 (12/12/16 picture reflecting very crowded conditions
causing mats to be crammed together, walked on, and placed in
toilet stall areas). Other pictures taken on March 6, 2017,
reflect an extremely crowded holding cell with at least one
floor mat placed inside a toilet stall. Id. at Ex.
tender statistics which reflect that from January 2015
through February 2018, the average length of detention in CBP
stations was 26 hours broken down as follows: 85.5% lasting
longer than 12 hours, 43.6% lasting longer than 24 hours,
19.9% lasting longer than 36 hours, and 8.3% lasting longer
than 48 hours. (Ps' MPSJ (Doc. 377) at 5.)
submit, it cannot be disputed that the 48-hour average time
for processing detainees at the CBP stations as a matter of
necessity requires the vast majority of detainees to lie down
and sleep at these CBP stations. Likewise, Plaintiffs argue
it is undisputed that the use of floor mats in CBP stations
has led to cramming as many mats on the floor as possible
forcing detainees to step on and over mats and to lie near
toilets. Therefore, Plaintiffs argue there are no disputed
facts precluding partial summary judgment on their claim that
civil detainees are constitutionally entitled to beds for
these detentions, which span an amount of time in which sleep
is necessary. According to the Plaintiffs, the use of floor
mats in CBP stations leads to conditions condemned in
Union County Jail Inmates v. Di Buono, 713 F.2d 984,
993 n. 11 (3rd Cir. 1983), as “reprehensible
and dehumanizing.” Id. at 997-998.
addition to Union County Jail, Plaintiffs rely on
Thompson v. City of Los Angeles,885 F.2d 1439
(9th Cir. 1989), overruled on other grounds by
Bull v. San Francisco,595 F.3d 964, 977
(9th Cir. 2010); Anela v. City of
Wildwood,790 F.2d 1063 (3rd Cir. 1986), and
Lareau v. Manson, 651 F.2d 96, 105 (2nd
Cir. 1981). This Court, likewise, relied on these cases when
it issued the preliminary injunction. See also (MPSJ
(Doc. 377) at 8 (citing Vazquez v. Gray, 523 F.Supp.