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Paul, Weiss and ACLU Secure Immediate Release of Immigration Detainees and Obtain Key Discovery from ICE

Paul, Weiss, along with co-counsel ACLU Fund of Michigan and ACLU Foundation’s National Prison and Immigrants’ Rights projects, secured the immediate release of two medically vulnerable ICE detainees held at Calhoun County Correctional Center in Battle Creek, Michigan.

Judge Judith E. Levy of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan granted a preliminary injunction for both of our clients—whose underlying medical conditions put them at high risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19—finding their continued detention at Calhoun unconstitutional. Judge Levy also ordered further briefing with respect to two additional clients who are seeking release on the same grounds. The decision followed a nearly two-hour hearing via Zoom, during which Paul, Weiss associate Jonathan Silberstein-Loeb successfully argued the motion for release on plaintiffs’ behalf.

Judge Levy also recently granted our motion for expedited class discovery, and as a result the team has obtained key data identifying other medically vulnerable individuals detained at Calhoun. This critical information will enable the team to file further claims on behalf of additional detainees.

Both victories are part of an ongoing class action complaint brought by Paul, Weiss and the ACLU on behalf of 15 named plaintiffs seeking to represent a class of all detainees at Calhoun. The complaint seeks immediate release and/or declaratory relief for the class, asserting that Calhoun is not designed or equipped to handle the extraordinary public health crisis presented by COVID-19. The complaint further argues that, left unchecked, ICE’s failure to act will result in a needless and avoidable loss of life, and that certain members of the class are at an advanced age or suffer from medical conditions that put them at particularly high risk of post-infection complications.

The Paul, Weiss team includes litigation partners Mark Mendelsohn and Jeannie Rhee, counsel Rachel Fiorill and Peter Jaffe, associates Akila Bhargava, Jacob Braly, Matthew Driscoll, Jessica Finberg, Geanette Foster, Katharine Gadsden, Darren Gardner, Joseph Granzotto, Aaron Haier, Stanton Lawyer, Rebecca Lockert, Sarah Maneval, Bethlehem Mebratu, Parker Murray, Breanne Palmer, Samuel Prose, Oleg Shik and Jonathan Silberstein-Loeb. Pro bono counsel Emily Goldberg and associate Jeremy Benjamin provided invaluable support.

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