Mendia v. Garcia

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Constitutional Law
  • Date Filed: 09-29-2014
  • Case #: 12-16220
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Watford for the Court; Circuit Judges Noonan and Nguyen
  • Full Text Opinion

In order to have Article III standing, the direct injury does not necessarily need to come from the government and can be from a third party's conduct.

Plaintiff Bernardo Mendia was arrested by the state of California and was charged for various financial crimes. He was granted bail by the state, but was unable to post it without a bail bondsman. However, before he was able to post the bail, the defendants, who were ICE agents, filed an immigration detainer against him after interviewing him at the jail. Because he had an immigration detainer placed on him, he was unable to solicit the assistance of any bail bondsman. Mendia argued at district court that “but for the immigration detainer, he would have posted bail with the assistance of a bail bondsman.” The detainer was eventually cancelled six months after the arrest but Mendia was still fearful of his release because he was unaware that the detainer was no longer in place and he was afraid that if he was arrested again he would be deported despite being an American citizen. Only after he learned the detainer was officially canceled did he accept his release. Mendia sued the ICE agents for the time he spent in pre-trial detention. The government moved to dismiss under the contention that Mendia did not establish any Article III standing. The three elements that are required for an Article III claim to carry weight are injury, causation and redressability. The government argued that there was no standing because ICE never took Mendia into custody. The panel determined that although this fact was true, the fact that “the harm to [the plaintiff] may have resulted indirectly does not in itself preclude standing.” The panel determined that Mendia plausibly alleged that the immigration detainer was at least a substantial factor motivating the bail bondsmen’s refusal assist him. Therefore, Mendia sufficiently pled causation for Article III purposes. REVERSED and REMANDED.

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