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Mendia v. Garcia

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

September 29, 2014

BERNARDO MENDIA, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
JOHN M. GARCIA; U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY; CHING CHANG, Defendants-Appellees

Argued and Submitted, San Francisco, California: April 8, 2014.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. D.C. No. 3:10-cv-03910-MEJ. Maria-Elena James, Magistrate Judge, Presiding.

SUMMARY[*]

Civil Rights

The panel reversed the district court's dismissal, for lack of standing, and remanded in an action brought against two agents of the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement seeking damages for the time plaintiff spent in pre-trial detention on state criminal charges allegedly as a result of the agents wrongfully lodging an immigration detainer against him even though he was United States citizen.

The panel held that plaintiff adequately pled causation for Article III purposes because he sufficiently alleged that his inability to utilize the services of a bail bondsman caused him to remain in pre-trial detention unnecessarily, at least during the period in which the bail condition remained in effect. The panel determined that plaintiff plausibly alleged that the immigration detainer was at least a substantial factor motivating the bail bondsmen's refusal to do business with him.

Purvi G. Patel (argued), Benjamin J. Fox, and Michael T. Baldock, Morrison & Foerster LLP, Los Angeles, California, for Plaintiff-Appellant.

Lana L. Vahab (argued), Trial Attorney; Stuart F. Delery, Acting Assistant Attorney General; and Colin A. Kisor, Deputy Director, United States Department of Justice, Civil Division, Washington, D.C., for Defendants-Appellees.

Before: John T. Noonan, Jacqueline H. Nguyen, and Paul J. Watford, Circuit Judges. Opinion by Judge Watford.

OPINION

Page 1010

WATFORD, Circuit Judge:

Bernardo Mendia sued two agents of the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), seeking damages for the time he spent in pre-trial detention on state criminal charges allegedly as a result of the agents' wrongful acts. The district court granted the government's motion to dismiss Mendia's lawsuit on the ground that he lacks Article III standing to pursue his claims. We conclude that Mendia's standing allegations are adequate to survive a motion to dismiss.

Page 1011

According to Mendia's pro se complaint, the State of California arrested him in May 2007 and charged him with " various alleged financial crimes." A state court granted Mendia bail, but he lacked the means to post it without the assistance of a bail bondsman. In June 2007, before Mendia could post the required bail, the defendant ICE agents interviewed him at the county jail. Mendia told them he is a United States citizen. To back that assertion up, he gave the agents his Social Security number and informed them he had a valid United States passport. Mendia then invoked his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent, directing the agents to contact his lawyer at the county Public Defender's office if they had additional questions or wanted to verify the information he had ...


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