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Abriq v. Hall

United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division

February 26, 2018

ABDULLAH ABRIQ, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
DARON HALL, in his official capacity as Sheriff of Davidson County, and the METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT OF NASHVILLE/DAVIDSON COUNTY, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM

          WILLIAM L. CAMPBELL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Pending before the Court, among other things, is the Metropolitan Government's Motion to Dismiss Amended Complaint (Docket No. 61).[1] For the reasons stated herein, the Motion to Dismiss is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.

         INTRODUCTION

         This purported class action is one of several such cases filed across the country in recent years challenging the constitutionality of local law enforcement's detaining immigrants subject to detainers from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”). Plaintiff Abdullah Abriq is a foreign national who immigrated to the United States under an F-1 student visa. Plaintiff resided in Davidson County and attended Tennessee State University. Plaintiff alleges that he has never been arrested for or convicted of a crime.

         Plaintiff alleges that, on April 6, 2017, ICE officials took custody of him, pending civil removal proceedings. Plaintiffs contends that, also on April 6, 2017, ICE officials transferred custody of him to the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County (“Metro”) at the Davidson County Jail, where he was held until April 11, 2017. Plaintiff alleges that ICE had no warrant or probable cause to arrest him. Plaintiff also alleges that Metro had no warrant or probable cause to believe Plaintiff had committed a criminal offense[2] or to take custody of him, and that Metro had no lawful authority to hold him as an immigration detainee.

         Under the Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”), 8 U.S.C. § 1101, et seq., ICE may enter into written agreements with state, local or private entities (“§ 287 agreements”) that authorize non-federal officials to perform a function of an immigration officer in relation to the “investigation, apprehension, or detention of aliens in the United States.” 8 U.S.C. § 1357(g)(1). Plaintiff avers that Metro entered into a § 287 agreement with ICE, under which Metro assumed physical custody of immigration detainees while ICE had legal custody. Metro does not dispute that its § 287 agreement with ICE began in 2007 and expired in 2012. Plaintiff asserts that the Metro Council did not authorize Sheriff Hall to renew the § 287(g) agreement with ICE or to enter into any further agreement with ICE, and that Sheriff Hall publicly announced, in October 2012, that Metro would not renew the § 287(g) agreement with ICE.

         Plaintiff contends that, despite the agreement's expiration and having no new § 287 agreement, Metro, through an ongoing custom, policy and practice and at the direction of Sheriff Hall, has continued to “seize” and hold administrative detainees for ICE, including Plaintiff, with no lawful authority to do so. Plaintiff asserts causes of action against Metro for:

Count I - - - violation of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
Count II - - - violation of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
Count III - - - false imprisonment under Tennessee law
Count IV - - - unjust enrichment under Tennessee law Count V - - - declaratory judgment for ultra vires actions

(Docket No. 26).

         MOTIONS TO DISMISS

         For purposes of a motion to dismiss, the Court must take all of the factual allegations in the complaint as true. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009). To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face. Id. A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. Id. Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice. Id. When there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should assume their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief. Id. at 1950. A legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation need not be accepted as true on a motion to dismiss, nor are recitations of the elements of a cause of action sufficient. Fritz v. Charter Township of Comstock, 592 F.3d 718, 722 (6th Cir. 2010).

         PRIVATE RIGHT OF ACTION

         Metro first argues that, to the extent Plaintiff is claiming that Metro's detention of him is illegal because it was done without a valid contract, in violation of the Metro Charter and Tennessee law about immigration, there is no private right of action to enforce either the Charter or that Tennessee statute. Plaintiff, however, is not suing to enforce the Metro Charter or a Tennessee statute. Plaintiff alleges that Metro did not have a § 287 agreement with ICE when Plaintiff was detained. Plaintiff's claims are based on Metro's alleged lack of authority to detain him without probable cause, in violation of the U.S. Constitution and state tort law.

         Plaintiff's claims against Metro arise under 28 U.S.C. § 1983, which provides a right of action against state actors who violate the U.S. Constitution, and under Tennessee state law, not under the Metro Charter or a Tennessee statute. Plaintiff has a private right of action under 28 U.S.C. § 1983 and under Tennessee common law.

         Plaintiff asserts that he was detained in violation of his right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures because Metro had no authority to detain him. Plaintiff further asserts that both Metro and the federal government lacked authority to hold him, contractual or otherwise. Deciding whether Metro had authority to detain Plaintiff involves more than the Metro Charter and a state statute. Whether Metro had authority to detain him involves federal law and regulations concerning the interplay between ICE and local law ...


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