Alli v. Decker, 10–2297.

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
Writing for the CourtOPINION OF THE COURT
Citation650 F.3d 1007
PartiesAlexander ALLI; Elliot Grenade, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, Appellantsv.Thomas DECKER, Field Office Director, Immigration & Customs Enforcement, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, in his official capacity and his successors and assigns; Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security, in her official capacity and her successors and assigns; Eric H. Holder, Jr., U.S. Attorney General, in his official capacity and his successors and assigns; Mary Sabol, Prison Warden, York County Prison Facility, in her official capacity and her successors and assigns; John P. Torres, in his official capacity as Acting Assistant Secretary of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; William Campbell, in his official capacity as Warden, Columbia County Prison, Bloomsberg, Pennsylvania; Janine Donate, in her official capacity as Warden, Lackawanna County Prison, Scranton, Pennsylvania; William F. Juracka, in his official capacity as Warden, Carbon County Correctional Facility, Nesquehoning, Pennsylvania; Craig A. Lowe, in his official capacity as Warden, Pike County Correctional Facility, Lords Valley, Pennsylvania; Ruth Rush, in her official capacity as Warden, Snyder County Prison, Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania; Michael Zenk, in his official capacity as Warden, CI Moshannon Valley Correctional Institution, Philipsburg, Pennsylvania; Jerry C. Martinez, in his official capacity as Warden, FCI Allenwood (Low), Allenwood, Pennsylvania; David Ebbert, in his official capacity as Warden, FCI Allenwood (Medium), Allenwood, Pennsylvania; R. Martinez, in his official capacity as Warden, FCI Allenwood (High), Allenwood, Pennsylvania; Thomas V. Duran, in his official capacity as Warden, Clinton County Correctional Facility, McElhattan, Pennsylvania.
Docket NumberNo. 10–2297.,10–2297.
Decision Date21 June 2011

650 F.3d 1007

Alexander ALLI; Elliot Grenade, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, Appellants
v.
Thomas DECKER, Field Office Director, Immigration & Customs Enforcement, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, in his official capacity and his successors and assigns; Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security, in her official capacity and her successors and assigns; Eric H. Holder, Jr., U.S. Attorney General, in his official capacity and his successors and assigns; Mary Sabol, Prison Warden, York County Prison Facility, in her official capacity and her successors and assigns; John P. Torres, in his official capacity as Acting Assistant Secretary of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; William Campbell, in his official capacity as Warden, Columbia County Prison, Bloomsberg, Pennsylvania; Janine Donate, in her official capacity as Warden, Lackawanna County Prison, Scranton, Pennsylvania; William F. Juracka, in his official capacity as Warden, Carbon County Correctional Facility, Nesquehoning, Pennsylvania; Craig A. Lowe, in his official capacity as Warden, Pike County Correctional Facility, Lords Valley, Pennsylvania; Ruth Rush, in her official capacity as Warden, Snyder County Prison, Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania; Michael Zenk, in his official capacity as Warden, CI Moshannon Valley Correctional Institution, Philipsburg, Pennsylvania; Jerry C. Martinez, in his official capacity as Warden, FCI Allenwood (Low), Allenwood, Pennsylvania; David Ebbert, in his official capacity as Warden, FCI Allenwood (Medium), Allenwood, Pennsylvania; R. Martinez, in his official capacity as Warden, FCI Allenwood (High), Allenwood, Pennsylvania; Thomas
v.
Duran, in his official capacity as Warden, Clinton County Correctional Facility, McElhattan, Pennsylvania.

No. 10–2297.

United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit.

Argued Jan. 24, 2011.Opinion filed: June 21, 2011.


[650 F.3d 1009]

Judy Rabinovitz, (argued), Michael Tan (argued), American Civil Liberties Union Foundation, New York, NY, Thomas B. Schmidt, III, Pepper Hamilton, Harrisburg, PA, for Appellants.Theodore W. Atkinson (argued), Nicole Prairie (argued), United States Department of Justice, Office of Immigration Litigation, Civil Division, Washington, DC, for Appellees.Craig Shagin, The Shagin Law Group, LLC, Harrisburg, PA, for Amicus Appellant Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center and Legal Aid Society.Before: FUENTES and CHAGARES, Circuit Judges, POLLAK, District Judge.*
OPINION OF THE COURT
POLLAK, District Judge.

Appellants in this case seek to represent a putative class of aliens who are detained, pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1226(c), pending their removal proceedings. The class complaint, filed in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, sought a declaratory judgment that the continued detention of the class members, without bond hearings, violates the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment. The District Court denied the class certification motion and dismissed the class complaint, finding that 8 U.S.C. § 1252(f)(1) deprived the court of subject matter jurisdiction to entertain an application for declaratory relief on behalf of the plaintiff class. Section 1252(f)(1) precludes class actions that seek to “enjoin or restrain the operation of” several immigration statutes, including 8 U.S.C. § 1226(c). The District Court concluded that “restrain” encompasses declaratory relief. We reverse.

I.

Appellants Alexander Alli and Elliot Grenade are lawful permanent residents whom the government deems removable from the United States as a result of past criminal convictions. See 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(2). Appellants were detained pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1226(c),1 which provides that the Attorney General “shall take into custody any alien who ... is deportable by reason of having committed” certain enumerated offenses.2

After Alli and Grenade had been detained for, respectively, 9 months and 20 months, they filed a combined habeas petition and civil complaint alleging that their

[650 F.3d 1010]

continued detention violated the INA and the Due Process Clause. They sought, inter alia, an order directing the government to provide them with a bond hearing. In addition to their individual claims, appellants sought to represent a class of lawful permanent residents residing in Pennsylvania or, in the alternative, in the Middle District of Pennsylvania, who had been or would be detained without hearing, pursuant to § 1226(c), for over six months. The putative class sought a declaration that the failure to afford such a hearing violates the INA and the Due Process Clause.

The District Court granted appellants' individual petitions but refused to consider their class claims, finding that 8 U.S.C. § 1252(f)(1) stripped it of jurisdiction to entertain a class action requesting declaratory relief. The government did not appeal the ruling on the individual petitions, but appellants sought review of the class decision.

II.
A.

The District Court had jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 and 28 U.S.C. § 2241. We exercise jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, and we exercise plenary review over legal conclusions associated with orders dismissing claims for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. White–Squire v. U.S. Postal Serv., 592 F.3d 453, 456 (3d Cir.2010).

Although not raised by either party, we briefly address a procedural wrinkle that implicates the mootness doctrine. The District Court denied appellants' motion for class certification on August 10, 2009. Dkt. 56. In the same order, the District Court dismissed the portions of appellants' complaint and habeas petition that sought class relief. But on January 26, 2010, the District Court ruled that both of appellants' detentions were unreasonably prolonged, and thus ordered individualized bond hearings for each appellant.3 Dkt. 88. Accordingly, appellants no longer have a personal stake in the merits of the class claim. Nevertheless, because the denial of class certification occurred when appellants' individual claims were still live, their appeal is not moot. See U.S. Parole Comm'n v. Geraghty, 445 U.S. 388, 404, 100 S.Ct. 1202, 63 L.Ed.2d 479 (1980) (“[A]n action brought on behalf of a class does not become moot upon expiration of the named plaintiff's substantive claim, even though class certification has been denied.”); Rosetti v. Shalala, 12 F.3d 1216, 1226 (3d Cir.1993) (“[A] federal appellate court retains jurisdiction over a named plaintiff's challenge to a denial of class certification, even if the plaintiff has not maintained a personal stake in the outcome of the litigation since that decision.”). We may therefore review the District Court's conclusion that § 1252(f)(1) deprived it of jurisdiction to certify appellants' class claim for declaratory relief.

B.

Section 1252(f)(1) provides:

Regardless of the nature of the action or claim or of the identity of the party or parties bringing the action, no court (other than the Supreme Court) shall have jurisdiction or authority to enjoin or restrain the operation of the provisions of part IV of this sub-chapter, as amended by the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act

[650 F.3d 1011]

of 1996, other than with respect to the application of such provisions to an individual alien against whom proceedings under such part have been initiated.4At issue in this case is whether the term “restrain,” in 1252(f)(1), encompasses, and thus bars, appellants' class claim for declaratory relief regarding § 1226(c) 5 detention practices.6

The parties agree that use of the disjunctive “or” demands that “restrain” have some meaning other than “enjoin.” See Chalmers v. Shalala, 23 F.3d 752, 755 (3d Cir.1994) (“We see no basis to construe the disjunctive ‘or’ in any way other than its plain meaning ....”); see also Rosenberg v. XM Ventures, 274 F.3d 137, 141 (3d Cir.2001) (“[W]hen interpreting a statute, courts should endeavor to give meaning to every word which Congress used and therefore should avoid an interpretation which renders an element of the language superfluous.”).

But the parties dispute what we may and may not consider in construing the statute. Appellants argue that the meaning of “restrain” may be derived by reference to the statute's context (including neighboring provisions), while the government contends that resort to statutory context is only appropriate where the term in question is ambiguous. The government claims (and the District Court found) that “restrain” is not ambiguous, but merely broad, and thus that it is improper to consult the provision's context. See Appellees' Br. at 31 (“Ambiguity ... may [not] be read into a statutory term or phrase simply because Congress used a different term or phrase in another part of the same statute.”); Alli v. Decker, 644 F.Supp.2d 535, 549 (M.D.Pa.2009) ( “That Congress employed different language in another portion of the statute does not change [the] plain meaning [of ‘restrain’].”).

It is true that “[w]here the statutory language is unambiguous, the court should not consider statutory purpose or legislative history,” Parker v. NutriSystem, Inc., 620 F.3d 274, 277 (3d Cir.2010), and that “ ‘the title of a statute ... cannot limit the plain meaning of the text,’ ”

[650 F.3d 1012]

Dep't of Corrections v. Yeskey, 524 U.S. 206, 212, 118 S.Ct. 1952, 141 L.Ed.2d 215 (1998) (quoting Trainmen v. Baltimore & Ohio R. Co., 331 U.S. 519, 528–29, 67 S.Ct. 1387, 91 L.Ed. 1646 (1947)). But neither the government nor the District Court has cited to any authority that requires a court to ignore other provisions within a statute when making the threshold ambiguity determination.7 Indeed, “[t]he Supreme Court has stated consistently that the text of a statute must be considered in the larger context or structure of the statute in which it is found.” United States v. Tupone, 442 F.3d 145, 151 (3d Cir.2006); see also FDA v. Brown &...

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