The opinion of the court was delivered by: MARILYN PATEL, Chief Judge District
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
Re: Plaintiffs' and Defendant's Cross-Motion
for Summary Judgment
This matter comes before the court on cross-motions for partial
summary judgment regarding the impact of the Ninth Circuit's decision in
Castro-Cortez v. INS on this litigation. Plaintiffs claim that
they are entitled to summary judgment on the issue of liability, since
the Ninth Circuit has already decided that question in their favor.
Defendant, meanwhile, argues that a different question was at issue in
Castro-Cortez, and thus that the Ninth Circuit's holding is
functionally inapplicable to this case. Having considered the arguments
presented and for the reasons stated below, the court enters the
following memorandum and order.
The facts that give rise to this case are already well-described in the
Ninth Circuit's decision in Castro-Cortez v. INS, 239 F.3d 1037
(9th Cir. 2001). For the sake of clarity and completeness, the court
summarizes them again here.
Plaintiff Jose Luis Araujo, a citizen of Mexico, initially came to the
United States in 1979. Id., at 1041. In 1983, Araujo was caught
and deported by the INS after that agency determined that he had entered
the United States illegally. Id. at 1042. Shortly after his
deportation Araujo again returned to the
United States illegally, and in 1996 he married Maria Araujo, a
United States citizen. Id. In 1997, the INS became aware that
Mr. Araujo was again unlawfully in the country when he filed of an
"Application to Adjust Status" to lawful permanent resident. Joint
Statement of Undisputed Facts, at 2. On the morning of March 2, 1999, INS
officers arrested plaintiff at his home and informed him that he would be
taken "straight to Mexico" per a reinstated order of deportation.
Castro-Cortez, 239 F.3d at 1041-42. Araujo was flown to
Phoenix, Arizona, and then placed on a bus and driven to Nogales, Mexico,
where he was deposited on March 3rd. Id., at 1042. The INS took
this action under the legal auspices Section 241(a)(5) of the Illegal
Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA), the
relevant portion of which is codified at 8 U.S.C. § 1231(a)(5), which
permits the INS to reinstate prior orders of removal against aliens who
have unlawfully reentered the United States. Id., at 1040.
Jose Luis Araujo subsequently filed a habeas petition with the Ninth
Circuit, arguing both that his summary expulsion from the United States
violated his right to procedural due process and that section 1231(a)(5)
did not apply to him because he had reentered the United States in
violation of a prior deportation order many years before the passage of
IIRIRA. In Castro-Cortez (a consolidated case involving several
similar habeas petitions by individuals deported pursuant to this
provision), the Ninth Circuit granted Araujo's habeas petition and
ordered him returned to the United States, holding that "Congress clearly
intended that the statute [sec. 1231(a)(5)] should not be applied
retroactively to aliens whose reentry occurred prior to its enactment."
Id., at 1051. In an unpublished decision, the Circuit
subsequently awarded attorney's fees to plaintiffs' counsel under the
Equal Access to Justice Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2412(d).
After the resolution of plaintiff's habeas case, Jose Luis Araujo and
his wife Maria Araujo filed suit against the United States, seeking civil
damages under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) for injuries sustained
in the course of Mr. Araujo's unlawful detention and deportation.
Castro-Cortez v. INS, CV-98-01371-TSZ, at 3. Plaintiffs allege
that by taking Mr. Araujo into custody and deporting him pursuant to an
inapplicable statute, the INS committed the tort of false arrest and
false imprisonment (which in California are amalgamated as one offense).
This case now comes before the court on cross-motions for
summary judgment which ask this court to determine what effect, if
any, the Ninth Circuit Castro-Cortez holding has upon the
pendent legal and factual issues in Plaintiff's suit for damages.
Summary judgment is proper when the pleadings, discovery and affidavits
show that there is "no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the
moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(c). Material facts are those which may affect the outcome of the case.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby. Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A
dispute as to a material fact is genuine if there is sufficient evidence
for a reasonable jury to return a verdict for the nonmoving party.
Id., The moving party for summary judgment bears the burden of
identifying those portions of the pleadings, discovery and affidavits
that demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.
Celotex Corp. v. Cattrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). On an
issue for which the opposing party will have the burden of proof at
trial, the moving party need only point out "that there is an absence of
evidence to support the nonmoving party's case." Id.
Once the moving party meets its initial burden, the nonmoving party
must go beyond the pleadings and, by its own affidavits or discovery,
"set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for
trial." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e). Mere allegations or denials do not defeat
a moving party's allegations. Id.; see also Gasaway v.
Northwestern Mut. Life Ins. Co., 26 F.3d 957, 960 (9th Cir. 1994).
The court may not make credibility determinations, Anderson,
477 U.S. at 249, and inferences to be drawn from the facts must be viewed
in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion. Masson
v. New Yorker Magazine, 501 U.S. 496, 520 (1991).
According to the doctrine of collateral estoppel, "once a court has
decided an issue of fact or law necessary to its judgment, that decision
may preclude relitigation of the issue in a suit on a different cause of
action involving a party to the first case." Dodd v. Hood River
County, 59 F.3d 852, 863 (9th Cir. 1995).
Collateral estoppel applies only where "(1) the issue necessarily
decided at the previous proceeding is identical to the one which is
sought to be relitigated; (2) the first proceeding ended with a final
judgment on the merits; and (3) the party against whom collateral
estoppel is asserted was a party or in privity with a party at the first
proceeding." Hydranautics v. Filmtec Corp., 204 F.3d 880, 885
(9th Cir. 2000) (citations omitted).