Here is the 17 page lawsuit.
Many of the aliens are residents of Michoacan, Mexico. Four live in Illinois, one resides in Georgia and another in Michigan. All of the plaintiffs currently living in the U.S. listed pseudonyms in the lawsuit due to "fear of adverse action based on immigration status."
Ten of the illegal alien plaintiffs didn't show up to the trial, but the remaining six said they were given permission to re-enter the United States and testify against Barnett.
"That was a shocker to me. All the ones who testified said that they were here legally and that their attorneys had done the paperwork," Hardy said. "There's nothing like your government backing you."
MALDEF claimed the family attacked, harassed, threatened and held the illegals against their will, because they were motivated by racial and class-based discrimination. The complaint said the Barnetts allegedly caused the group "severe emotional and mental distress," including fear, anxiety, humiliation, stress, frustration and sadness. Each illegal alien sued for $1 million in actual damages and $1 million for punitive or exemplary damages.
The rancher was held liable for limited damages involving assault and emotional distress. Two illegal aliens were given $1,000 plus $10,000 in punitive damages each. Two more received $7,500, plus $20,000 in punitive damages each.
"It's interesting since most of them don't speak English, but they claim that Roger, who has almost no command of Spanish, was able to use full sentences like, 'If you go, my dog is hungry, and he's hungry for your butt,'" Hardy said. "Roger couldn't put that sentence together."
He said the judge left out one part of instruction to the jury that should have been included, and it will be the basis of their appeal.
"The law is skeptical of infliction of emotional distress because everybody gets their feelings hurt at times," he said. "So one of the requirements was that whatever is done must be so severe that the average person would be physically disabled by the distress – suffer a complete mental breakdown. The judge wouldn't put that in the instruction. That's straight Arizona law."
Also, two of the plaintiffs received $1,400, and two were awarded $1 each for assault. The term "assault" is legally applied when a person has simply put someone in fear of a harmful contact. According to the attorney, Barnett did carry a gun, but the judge did not include their self-defense argument in the instructions to the jury – another basis for appeal.
All together, the illegals received only $77,804 of the $32 million they requested – and Hardy believes that award will be thrown out in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
"It was 95 percent victory for us," he said. "What they really wanted were the first two civil rights claims because if they got those, they got attorney's fees. With nine attorneys working on the case, I'm sure their fees were $500,000 to $1 million."
A little addition from another column.
“A federal jury on Tuesday afternoon ruled that an Arizona rancher did not violate the civil rights of 16 Mexican nationals he detained at gunpoint after they had snuck illegally into the United States in 2004, but the jury awarded $78,000 in actual and punitive damages to six of the illegal immigrants on claims of assault and infliction of emotional distress.” [Jerry Seper/Washington Times, earlier]
Here is Roger Barnett's attorneys, David Hardy, blog.