Davila v. United States, Civil Action Nos. 2:14–070

CourtUnited States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. Western District of Pennsylvania
Writing for the CourtMark R. Hornak, United States District Judge
Citation247 F.Supp.3d 650
Parties Angelica DAVILA, Plaintiff, v. UNITED STATES of America, Defendant.
Decision Date28 March 2017
Docket NumberCivil Action Nos. 2:14–070,consolidated with 2:13–cv–00070

247 F.Supp.3d 650

Angelica DAVILA, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED STATES of America, Defendant.

Civil Action Nos. 2:14–070
consolidated with 2:13–cv–00070

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania.

Signed March 28, 2017


247 F.Supp.3d 652

Sara Rose, ACLU, Emily McNally, Thomas J. Farrell, Farrell & Reisinger, LLC, Pittsburgh, PA, for Plaintiff.

247 F.Supp.3d 653

Regan Hildebrand, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Immigration Litigation, Washington, DC, Michael C. Colville, United States Attorney's Office, Pittsburgh, PA, for Defendant.

OPINION

Mark R. Hornak, United States District Judge

Before the Court is Plaintiff Angelica Davila's Motion for Reconsideration in No. 14–cv–70, ECF No. 16.1 Ms. Davila filed this suit against the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1346, 2671, et seq., following a traffic stop, which she asserts was predicated upon her Hispanic heritage and which led to her warrantless arrest. Davila raised claims of false arrest and false imprisonment2 based on the role of a Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officer, Special Agent Brianna Tetrault, in that arrest.3

The Court previously granted the United States' Motion to Dismiss4 Davila's false arrest and false imprisonment claims under the FTCA, concluding that Agent Tetrault had probable cause to request that local law enforcement detain Davila without a warrant under the authority of 8 U.S.C. § 1304(e) and Davila's actions therefore could not give rise to liability on the part of the United States. ECF No. 14 at 9–12. Davila subsequently filed the instant Motion for Reconsideration, arguing that the Court's dismissal of her claims against the United States was in error.

For the reasons set forth below, the Court will grant Davila's Motion for Reconsideration of the Court's dismissal of her claims against the United States, ECF No. 16. Upon such reconsideration, the Court concludes that questions of fact preclude the dismissal of Davila's false arrest and false imprisonment claims against the United States. The Court's dismissal Order, ECF No. 15, will therefore be vacated to the extent it granted the United States' Motion to Dismiss Davila's false arrest and false imprisonment claims. The United States will remain a defendant in No. 14–cv–70 as to those claims.

I. BACKGROUND

The Court has set forth previously the extensively pled facts of this case, including those relevant as to claims against other Defendants in No. 13–cv–70. The Court repeats here those facts relevant to the determination of the instant Motion, accepting as true those factual allegations in the Complaint and drawing all reasonable inferences therefrom in Davila's favor.

247 F.Supp.3d 654

Malleus v. George , 641 F.3d 560, 563 (3d Cir. 2011).

The parties agree that Davila is a United States citizen who was born in Mexico. Davila legally immigrated to the United States with her parents when she was two years old, and she became a lawful permanent resident of the United States when she was sixteen. She moved to the Pittsburgh (PA) area in 2007. Davila previously sought derivative citizenship status under the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, 8 U.S.C. § 1431, et seq., under which a child automatically becomes a citizen on the date she satisfies certain requirements.5 Davila became a citizen by operation of law in 2001, and the United States does not dispute that fact.6

On January 22, 2011, Davila drove to a grocery store in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Joel Garrete was her passenger. Around 5:45 p.m., Davila drove out of the grocery store parking lot onto Perry Highway. She drove approximately 250 feet on the highway before Officer Andrew Bienemann, a local patrolman, pulled her over. Bienemann informed Davila that he stopped her because her headlights were off.

Officer Bienermann asked Davila for her driver's license, proof of vehicle registration, and proof of vehicle insurance. Davila provided all three.7 Bienemann then questioned Mr. Garrete. Since Garrete did not speak English, Bienemann asked Davila to act as a translator, and she obliged. Bienemann asked for Garrete's identification. In response, Garrete provided Bienemann with a pay stub showing his address. Bienemann asked Garrete whether Garrete was legally present in the United States, and Garrete responded that he was not.

Officer Bienemann returned to his patrol car, contacted the police dispatcher, and asked the dispatcher to check the immigration status of both Davila and Garrete with ICE. As a result of Bienemann's request, ICE Law Enforcement Specialist Hayhurst conducted an immigration alien query (IAQ) on both Davila and Garrete. For Davila, this initial IAQ was based on her name, date of birth, place of birth (Mexico), and sex. ECF No. 1 at 8. Certain ICE records8 from the initial IAQ show

247 F.Supp.3d 655

that Davila was listed as "out of status." There was "no match found" for Garrete. ECF No. 1 at 6; see also No. 13–cv–70, ECF No. 112–5 at 7.

While Davila was stopped on the side of the road, Special Agent Brianna Tetrault, an ICE officer, contacted Officer Bienemann on his cell phone. Bienemann relayed Davila's name and date of birth to Tetrault. Bienemann also informed Tetrault that Davila had a Pennsylvania driver's license that listed her residence as West Mifflin, a suburb of Pittsburgh (PA). Tetrault then asked to speak to Davila, and Bienemann handed Davila his phone.

Agent Tetrault told Davila that the reason she was asking questions about Davila's immigration status was because Tetrault, like Bienemann, wanted to use Davila as an interpreter to speak with Garrete. Davila agreed to this arrangement. In response to Tetrault's questions, Davila provided Tetrault with her name, date of birth, address, and cell phone number. Davila also told Tetrault her country of origin. ECF No. 1 at 6; No. 13–cv–70, ECF No. 138 at 7. Tetrault asked Davila if she had a visa. Davila told Tetrault—mistakenly—that she was a lawful permanent resident of the United States rather than a citizen.9 Davila said that she had lived in the United States for many years. Tetrault asked Davila whether Davila had her lawful permanent resident card with her, and Davila responded that she did not.10 ECF No. 1 at 7. When Tetrault was done questioning Davila, Davila interpreted for Tetrault while Tetrault questioned Garrete.

At some point during all of this, the results of Specialist Hayhurst's IAQ—that Davila was "out of status" and that there was "no match found" for Garrete—were relayed to both Officer Bienemann and to Agent Tetrault. ECF No. 1 at 6. The police dispatcher relayed the results to Bienemann, and Special Agent Jason Kenwood, another ICE agent, relayed them to Tetrault. Id.

Agent Tetrault then requested that Officer Bienemann detain both Davila and Garrete and take them to the Allegheny County Jail for holding. This occurred approximately two (2) hours after Bienemann pulled Davila's car over. Tetrault advised Bienemann that she would execute immigration detainers for Davila and Garrete and fax them to Bienemann's local police station. Davila and Garrete were handcuffed, placed in Bienemann's vehicle, and taken to the local police station. ECF No. 1 at 9. Tetrault signed federal immigration detainers for Davila and Garrete and faxed them to Bienemann. Davila's detainer misspelled her last name as Devila–Garcoa. The detainer also described Davila as an "alien" and listed her nationality as "Mexican." ECF No. 1 at 10. Within about an hour of her arrival at the local police station, Davila was taken to the Allegheny County Jail.

ICE records located after Davila's imprisonment show that Davila had multiple Alien Registration Numbers, or "A–numbers"—numbers issued by the Department of Homeland Security to an individual when she becomes a lawful permanent resident of the United States or attains other lawful, non-citizen status. In all, the search turned up three A–numbers: one listing Davila as "family fairness granted," a status which provides for relief from removal

247 F.Supp.3d 656

and authorizes a legal permanent resident's spouse or unmarried child to be employed; a second listing Davila as "family fairness denied"; and a third listing Davila as status IR–7, a classification used for legal permanent residents who are children of a U.S. citizen. See No. 13–cv–70, ECF No. 112–5 at 7.

These later-discovered records led to Davila's release. Id. After completing a review of the immigration detainer, Agent Kenwood told Officer Bienemann that a mistake had been made regarding Davila's identity. Kenwood informed Bienemann that Davila may have been incorrectly detained and that she should be released. This was at or around 9:50 p.m.—about four hours after the stop, about two hours after Agent Tetrault issued the immigration detainer, and about one hour after Davila's arrival at local the police station. In addition to Kenwood telling Bienemann that Davila should be released at or around 9:50 p.m., ICE sent a fax at 11:05 p.m.to the Allegheny County Jail...

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8 practice notes
  • Creedle v. Miami-Dade Cnty., Case No. 17-CIV-22477-WILLIAMS
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Southern District of Florida
    • November 9, 2018
    ...‘reason to believe’ standard [in the INA] is equivalent to the constitutional probable cause standard." Davila v. United States , 247 F.Supp.3d 650, 663 (W.D. Pa. 2017) (citing and quoting Babula v. INS , 665 F.2d 293, 298 (3d Cir. 1981) ).Under 8 U.S.C. § 1226(a) of the INA, "an alien may ......
  • Davila v. N. Reg'l Joint Police Bd., 2:13-cv-00070
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. Western District of Pennsylvania
    • February 27, 2019
    ...WL 3735631 (W.D. Pa. July 28, 2014) (" Davila II "). Davila II was itself vacated in part on reconsideration. Davila v. United States , 247 F.Supp.3d 650 (W.D. Pa. 2017) (" Davila IV ").1 Officer Bienemann also moved to dismiss the claims in Ms. Davila's Third Amended Complaint against him,......
  • Conquest v. WMC Mortg. Corp., CIVIL ACTION NO. 16–03604
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Pennsylvania)
    • March 30, 2017
    ...no plausible allegations show that these Defendants disregarded any of their written obligations. Accordingly, Plaintiff's claim 247 F.Supp.3d 650that the Mortgage Defendants violated Pennsylvania's usury law will be dismissed.L. Count XI—Negligence Per Se32 Finally, Plaintiff alleges that ......
  • In re Jackson, CIVIL ACTION NO. 18-CV-3287
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Pennsylvania)
    • February 6, 2019
    ...791 (E.D. Pa. 1999) (citing Gagliardi v. Lynn, 446 Pa. 144, 147, 285 A.2d 109, 110 (Pa. 1971)). See also, Davila v. United States, 247 F. Supp. 3d 650, 658 (W.D.Page 14 Pa. 2017); Watson v. Witmer, 183 F. Supp. 3d 607, 617 (M.D. Pa. 2016)) (same). In applying these principles to this case, ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
8 cases
  • Creedle v. Miami-Dade Cnty., Case No. 17-CIV-22477-WILLIAMS
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Southern District of Florida
    • November 9, 2018
    ...‘reason to believe’ standard [in the INA] is equivalent to the constitutional probable cause standard." Davila v. United States , 247 F.Supp.3d 650, 663 (W.D. Pa. 2017) (citing and quoting Babula v. INS , 665 F.2d 293, 298 (3d Cir. 1981) ).Under 8 U.S.C. § 1226(a) of the INA, "an alien may ......
  • Davila v. N. Reg'l Joint Police Bd., 2:13-cv-00070
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. Western District of Pennsylvania
    • February 27, 2019
    ...WL 3735631 (W.D. Pa. July 28, 2014) (" Davila II "). Davila II was itself vacated in part on reconsideration. Davila v. United States , 247 F.Supp.3d 650 (W.D. Pa. 2017) (" Davila IV ").1 Officer Bienemann also moved to dismiss the claims in Ms. Davila's Third Amended Complaint against him,......
  • Conquest v. WMC Mortg. Corp., CIVIL ACTION NO. 16–03604
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Pennsylvania)
    • March 30, 2017
    ...no plausible allegations show that these Defendants disregarded any of their written obligations. Accordingly, Plaintiff's claim 247 F.Supp.3d 650that the Mortgage Defendants violated Pennsylvania's usury law will be dismissed.L. Count XI—Negligence Per Se32 Finally, Plaintiff alleges that ......
  • In re Jackson, CIVIL ACTION NO. 18-CV-3287
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Pennsylvania)
    • February 6, 2019
    ...791 (E.D. Pa. 1999) (citing Gagliardi v. Lynn, 446 Pa. 144, 147, 285 A.2d 109, 110 (Pa. 1971)). See also, Davila v. United States, 247 F. Supp. 3d 650, 658 (W.D.Page 14 Pa. 2017); Watson v. Witmer, 183 F. Supp. 3d 607, 617 (M.D. Pa. 2016)) (same). In applying these principles to this case, ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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