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AYUDA, INC. v. MEESE

September 27, 1988

Ayuda, Inc., et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
Edwin Meese, III, et al., Defendants


Stanley Sporkin, United States District Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: SPORKIN

STANLEY SPORKIN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

 On March 30, 1988, this Court issued a Memorandum Opinion and Order which held that the Immigration and Naturalization Service's ["INS"] interpretation of "known to the government" was contrary to law. See 8 U.S.C. Sec. 1255a(a)(2)(B). That Opinion fully addressed the issues of INS's interpretation of "known to the government," class representation and class certification and concluded that the four organizational plaintiffs had standing to fully litigate the issues now before the Court. Following that Opinion, the Court has had opportunity to review various issues that have arisen from its initial determination. Over the past seven months this Court has issued a total of ten Supplemental Orders, not including this one, to assure the original ruling of the Court would be made fully effective.

 The original decision and a number of those Supplemental Orders have not been appealed and concededly stand as the law of the case and are binding on all parties to this action. Further, even as to those Supplemental Orders that have been appealed, they are now in effect because none of them, as of this time, has been stayed by any court order.

 I am now in the process of determining what, if any, individuals have been misled to their detriment by INS's erroneous interpretation and related government actions and to what extent relief can be given based on my prior rulings taking into account INS v. Pangilinan, 486 U.S. 875, 108 S. Ct. 2210, 100 L. Ed. 2d 882 (1988). Although, the government alleges, based on Pangilinan, that I do not have the power to extend a statutory deadline, this Court does have the clear authority and responsibility and duty to determine to what extent, if any, persons may have been prejudiced or otherwise harmed by the government's application of its erroneous regulation, and after making such determinations to decide what relief, if any, may be appropriate. Indeed, the Order accompanying the March 30, 1988, decision specifically stated, "this court shall retain jurisdiction to assure this decree is carried out fully and completely and to provide such other and further relief as may be necessary to implement this decision." Therefore, even assuming that the Supreme Court's recent ruling in Pangilinan precludes certain remedial avenues, an issue I do not have to determine at this time, it is clear I possess the authority to order other remedies with respect to those who have been injured by the government's actions.

 Having concluded that the government has materially misinterpreted the law and that the Court is not precluded from granting a remedy, the next step is to determine who the injured parties are and the extent to which their injuries were caused by the government's conduct and need to be remedied.

 I have concluded that exceptional circumstances exist making it imperative to appoint one or more Special Master(s), pursuant to Rule 53 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. This conclusion is based on the particular facts and circumstances of this case and upon the government's outright refusal to conduct an inquiry on its own in order to identify those persons who might have been injured by its impermissive interpretation of the statute and because of the diverse nature and extent of the prejudice and injuries that might have been sustained by these persons. Moreover, in view of the government's failure to appeal the Court's decision, thus allowing that decision to become final, while continuously insisting that no individual is entitled to any relief as a matter of law, it is clear that the government is not willing nor disposed to conduct the fair and impartial inquiry that is required by the findings I have made in this case. Therefore, it will be the responsibility of such Special Master(s) to conduct the inquiry I have found is required in this case.

 In view of the foregoing, it is hereby

 ORDERED that, in light of the exceptional circumstances discussed above, one or more Special Master(s) shall be appointed, pursuant to Rule 53 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Such Special Master(s) shall have the authority to conduct hearings, if necessary, and to make findings of fact and recommendations as to whether the plaintiffs or any person who derived benefits from this Court's decision of March 30, 1988, and Supplemental Orders, was in fact injured, prejudiced or misled by the government's impermissive definition of "known to the government," which this Court held to be invalid on March 30, 1988, and to further determine and recommend to this Court what, if any, relief the Court is authorized to and should order to remedy the harm sustained by any person(s) covered by this Court's Orders issued on March 30, 1988, and subsequently.

 IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the procedures before the Special Master or Masters will be as follows:

 
1. The Court shall appoint one or more Special Master(s) who shall conduct such investigations as the Court shall authorize along with hearings and such other proceedings pursuant to the provisions of Rule 53 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
 
2. The Special Master(s) shall review all the facts surrounding all individuals who may be covered by this Court's March 30, 1988, Order and all subsequent Orders, who shall file with this Court, the parties or the Special Master(s), prior to October 31, 1988, "A Statement Of Reasons for not Applying for Legalization Prior to May 5, 1988" ["Statements"]. The Special Master(s) is authorized, with approval of the Court and upon notice to the parties, to take whatever steps the Special Master(s) believes necessary to identify those persons who may be the beneficiaries of the Court's Opinions and Orders.
 
3. Counsel for Plaintiffs shall periodically submit under seal or otherwise, completed aliens' Statements and such other relevant information to ...

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