Serrano v. U.S. Customs and Border Protection, et al., No. 2:17-cv-00048 (W.D. Texas, filed Sept. 6, 2017)
On September 6, 2017, the Institute for Justice brought a class action suit against Customs and Border Protection over the agency’s practice of engaging in civil forfeiture of vehicles at ports of entry on the U.S.-Mexico border. The plaintiff, Gerardo Serrano, was detained in 2015 when crossing into Mexico at the Eagle Pass, Texas port of entry. After CBP officers found a small amount of pistol ammunition in his truck, they seized the vehicle. CBP held his truck for over two years without ever filing a civil forfeiture action in court against him, despite requiring him to post thousands of dollars for a bond purportedly to allow him to challenge the seizure. Because the agency never filed a forfeiture action, Mr. Serrano was given no opportunity to have his day in court and challenge CBP’s seizure.
His complaint alleges that CBP seizes hundreds of vehicles owned by American citizens each year and refuses to hold prompt post-seizure hearings at which the owners can challenge the seizure. The class action suit seeks declaratory and injunctive relief requiring CBP to hold prompt post-seizure hearings, as well as compensation for Mr. Serrano. In October 2017, CBP returned Mr. Serrano’s truck without subjecting it to a forfeiture action. On December 13, 2017, Defendants moved to dismiss the suit. The parties completed briefing on January 19, 2018.
On July 23, 2018, a Magistrate Judge issued a Report and Recommendation in which he advised granting Defendants’ motions to dismiss. As of August 2018, the motions remain pending.
As of February 2018, a decision on the Motion to Dismiss remains pending.
- Defendants’ (USA, CBP, Kevin McAleenan) Motion to Dismiss
- Defendant Juan Espinoza’s Motion to Dismiss
- Plaintiff’s Opposition to Defendants’ (USA, CBP, and Kevin McAleenan) Motion to Dismiss
- Plaintiff’s Opposition to Defendant Juan Espinoza’s Motion to Dismiss
- Defendant Juan Espinoza’s Reply in Support of Motion to Dismiss
- Defendants’ (USA, CBP, Kevin McAleenan) Reply in Support of Motion to Dismiss
- Magistrate Judge’s Report and Recommendation