2022 Grantees Submit First Quarter Case Reports

In accordance with the Foundation’s requirements for grant reporting, the five 2022 grantees submitted their first quarter case updates and timesheets of the grant year. Their case updates appear below.

All grantees have been deemed to be meeting the requirements of their grant. The average amount of hours of attorney time spent by each grantee on their respective case was 162.09 hours with an average dollar value of $59,338.50. 

Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project (“ASAP”) 

ASAP continued to litigate the CASA v. Mayorkas case in federal court to seek relief for asylum seekers who are continued to be impacted by Trump-era regulations restricting their access to work permits. ASAP continues to advise its hundreds of thousands of members impacted by the new rules and to litigate the case to final judgment. Oral argument on pending motions for summary judgment and to modify the preliminary injunction was recently rescheduled from December 20, 2021, to January 18, 2022. 

Children’s Legal Center

During the 1st Quarter of this grant, Children’s Legal Center collected initial data from potential class members in preparation for initiation of litigation. Children’s Legal Center interviewed 70 clients and gathered data as to: 

• whether Immigration and Customs Enforcement or Customs and Border Protection or both agencies were confiscating client’s biographical documents.

• whether documents were being confiscated from unaccompanied minors as well as family units seeking asylum.

• whether all biographical documents were being confiscated, such as birth certificates and consular IDs, or just passports.

• whether client’s have economic harm of having to pay to replace biographical documents.

• whether client’s have other harm in the form of lack of obtaining work authorization as a result of the confiscation of documents.

In preparation for litigation, we have submitted multiple requests to Department of Homeland Security for return of documents for a few clients to identify the lack of appropriate agency procedure for remedying the harm. In partnership with attorneys at Seyfarth Shaw LLP, we have identified the Northern District of Illinois as the proper filing location for the class action. Two clients were identified as potential class representatives and they have consented to the class representation.

The case has been filed in the Northern District of Illinois – Case No. 1:22-cv-00774. This litigation will affect asylum-seeking clients across the country. First, CLC has gathered evidence to show that confiscation of documents is happening on a national scale. Some clients report that CBP has taken their documents, others report that ICE confiscated documents at the detention center while other clients report that ICE confiscated documents at check-ins. 

National Center for Lesbian Rights (“NCLR”)

On August 30, 2021, United States District Court for the Western District of Washington dismissed the complaint filed by Brian Tingley, a licensed therapist who brought a constitutional challenge to Washington’s 2019 law protecting minors from efforts by state-licensed therapists to change their sexual orientation or gender identity. NCLR is legal counsel to Equal Rights Washington, the state’s largest LGBTQ civil rights group, and filed a successful motion permitting ERW to intervene in the case to defend the law alongside the Washington Attorney General’s office.

The district court ruled that Tingley’s claims for violation of his free speech, due process, and religious liberty rights must be dismissed based on earlier decisions of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upholding California’s law protecting minors from conversion therapy. Tingley then appealed to the Ninth Circuit, asking the court to overrule its earlier decisions upholding conversion therapy laws.

October to December 2021 primarily involved the early stages of the appeal process. Tingley’s initial brief and the briefs of three amicus curiae parties supporting Tingley were filed in December. The State of Washington and Equal Rights Washington filed their briefs on January 14, 2022. The parties’ briefs argue that two earlier Ninth Circuit cases require dismissal of Tingley’s case, and that the subsequent decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in NIFLA v. Becerra also establishes that states have the power to regulate medical treatment performed by licensed professionals in order to protect youth from harm. 

On January 21, five amicus briefs asking the Ninth Circuit to uphold the Washington law were filed. Organizations filing briefs included the American Psychological Association; the Trevor Project; the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington; a group of constitutional scholars including Alan E. Brownstein, Erwin Chemerinsky, and Brian Soucek; and the Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality.

Oral argument is expected in the summer of 2022. It is likely that if the State of Washington and Equal Rights Washington prevail in the Ninth Circuit, Tingley will seek review in the United States Supreme Court. 

National Center for Youth Law (“NCYL”)

The National Center for Youth Law and co-counsel filed D.S. v. DCYF in January 2021 to ensure that the most vulnerable children in Washington’s foster care system are placed in safe, stable placements, with the services and supports they need for family reunification or another permanent placement. Washington’s Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) has sent many foster children, especially ones with behavioral health and developmental disabilities, to restrictive and isolating facilities out of state. Many foster children in the state system do not have long-term placements at all, spending nights in so-called “placement exceptions,” such as hotels or state offices, instead of in foster homes or family placements.

The D.S. v. DCYF team has made significant progress on the case. Our team filed for a preliminary injunction in April 2021. At the preliminary injunction hearing in June 2021, District Judge Barbara J. Rothstein made clear she would rule in Plaintiffs' favor and ordered the parties to meet to try to reach a jointly proposed remedy. Working with a mediator, the parties reached an agreed proposed resolution, which the Court adopted in June 2021. This preliminary injunction required the defendants to submit a plan detailing how they would cease using hotels and offices for child housing, limited the circumstances in which children can be housed in offices overnight, and required the defendants to increase their efforts to find appropriate placements for children needing exceptional placements. These changes are critical to increasing stability for children while the case is ongoing. The case was certified as a class action in September of 2021.  

During the fourth quarter of 2021, the parties have engaged in substantial settlement negotiations aimed at a resolution of the case, with the help of a mediator; these negotiations are ongoing. Plaintiffs have continued with active discovery efforts, including receiving and reviewing thousands of pages of documents and taking several depositions of DCYF employees in December of 2021. Plaintiffs are continuing to propound additional discovery requests and plan to take more depositions in the near future. A bench trial in the case is currently set for October 4, 2022.

New Economy Project

The bulk of our work during the first quarter on the state court appeal of the decision in Esgro Capital Management LLC v. Sharae Banks consisted of preparing our appellate brief, arguing why the Civil Court was wrong to deny Ms. Banks’s motion to vacate Esgro’s default judgment against her. We conducted extensive legal research and case analysis to prepare the initial draft of the appellate brief, and we have been editing and finalizing a subsequent draft. We are on track to serve and file the brief in the first part of the second quarter.

During the first quarter, with co-counsel, we also filed Ms. Banks’s motion for a stay of enforcement of the default judgment, pending the appeal, and prepared for and appeared at the November hearing on that motion. The court took Ms. Banks’s motion on submission, and we are awaiting a decision.

(February 2022)