The New York Civil Liberties Union and Prisoners Legal Services of New York filed a motion to proceed with a federal class-action lawsuit against ICE officials at the Buffalo Federal Detention Facility in Batavia, NY, demanding that they treat medically at-risk people in the facility in compliance with Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and a federal district court’s recent decision in Jones v. Wolf, in order to prevent and mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

In Jones, the court determined that people being jailed in the Batavia Facility who were 65+ years old or otherwise considered medically at-risk to COVID-19-related complications by the CDC were entitled to protections designed to decrease their risk of contracting the virus, and that if the facility could not provide such protections the Constitution required that they be released.

However, there are many people remaining in the facility who fit the criteria for these same protections whom ICE refuses to identify and refuses to protect. Protective measures for this group have only been implemented on an ad hoc basis when PLSNY attorneys have been able to identify qualified people for ICE. Our lawsuit aims to amend the case into a class action.


Bobby Hodgson, Victoria Roeck, Megan Sallomi, and Christopher Dunn from the New York Civil Liberties Union; and Joseph Moravec, John Peng, Nicholas Phillips, and James Milstein from Prisoners Legal Services of New York

Date filed

May 18, 2020


Western District of New York