Sidley’s California lawyers obtained another major victory in groundbreaking litigation brought on behalf of a class of Cambodian nationals subject to deportation — many of whom have been living in the United States for decades after fleeing the brutal Khmer Rouge regime. On March 4, 2020, U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney of the Central District of California granted summary judgment in favor of Petitioners and the class. In the order, the Court held that to protect Petitioners’ due process rights, the government must give notice before re-detaining them for the purposes of removing them from the United States, effectively making permanent the hard-won Temporary Restraining Order in the case and minimizing the substantial risk that the Government would erroneously deport class members with valid challenges to their removal orders. The Court recognized the class’s compelling liberty interest in the “indisputably strong ties” and “meaningful investments” they have made living in the United States, and flatly rejected the Government’s position as “not only unpersuasive, but deeply troubling.” In a particularly heartfelt opinion, the Court noted the exceptional circumstances facing Petitioners and the class, including the changes in their lives and the law since they were first ordered deported, and the barriers they faced in accessing counsel and key documentation while in detention.
The summary judgment team was led by Rara Kang, Lauren De Lilly, Sheri Porath Rockwell and Sean Commons in Los Angeles. Other team members included Mohindra Rupram, Gerry Hirschfeld and Farrah Vazquez in Los Angeles, Alison Dame-Boyle, Naomi Igra and Stephen Chang in San Francisco, and Sidley alumnae Katelyn Rowe and Darlene Cho. Sidley worked alongside co-counsel from Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus.