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Lawsuit of Father and Son Ripped Apart at Border Survives Legal Hurdle

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 
February 8, 2021
Contact: Jennifer Coberly, Senior Litigation Attorney, jcoberly@aijustice.org

MIAMI, FL – A federal court ruling allows a father and son torn apart at the border due to Trump-era family separation practices to continue their lawsuit for justice. After verbal abuse and threats of violence, law enforcement officers tore Juan,* three years old at the time, from his father Andres’* arms by force as the child cried out for him.

The father and son filed a lawsuit against the government in August 2020 for assault, battery, negligence, and intentional infliction of emotional distress for the extraordinary trauma of being bullied, cursed at, threatened with tasers, and the child forced to wear soiled clothes for days after being denied the use of a restroom. The intentionally inflicted acts of the government, a misguided effort to deter others from lawfully seeking asylum in the United States, will have lifelong effects upon both father and son.

On February 5th, the Court denied the government’s motion to dismiss the father and son‘s claims in the early stages of their lawsuit. Jennifer Coberly, from Americans for Immigrant Justice, and Erica Perdomo, from Stumphauzer, Foslid, Sloman, Ross & Kolaya, argued on behalf of the family. “Erica and I are thrilled with the result and honored to be working alongside Americans for Immigrant Justice on this important case,” said Ian Ross, a partner at that firm, who also serves on the Board of Americans for Immigrant Justice. “This is an important ruling that provides clear guidance for other courts considering subject matter jurisdiction challenges to actions brought under the Federal Tort Claims Act. We look forward to moving ahead in the case and proving our client’s claims.”

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Americans for Immigrant Justice (AI Justice) is an award-winning non-profit law firm that protects and promotes the basic human rights of immigrants. In Florida and on a national level, it champions the rights of unaccompanied immigrant children; advocates for survivors of trafficking and domestic violence; serves as a watchdog on immigration detention practices and policies; fights to keep families informed, empowered and together; and pursues redress on behalf of immigrant groups with particular and compelling claims to justice.